Sinusitis is an uncomfortable medical condition in which the sinuses become inflamed or infected due to interference in the natural drainage of mucus. Your sinuses are located behind your nose, around your eyes, and in your cheekbones. When you develop sinusitis, you may experience severe pain, nasal discharge, ear fullness and a cough. Sinusitis can come on suddenly and subside quickly, or it can develop more gradually and linger for many weeks. No matter what type of sinusitis you might have, a visit to a ENT for a proper diagnosis and treatment is the first step to finding relief from this often painful condition.
There are a variety of reasons why the sinuses might become blocked:
By diagnosing the cause of the blocked sinuses, we can treat sinusitis at the source. This approach offers the greatest odds of full symptom relief and lowers the risk of a recurrence of the condition.
Some people are at higher risk for sinusitis than others. Risk factors for the condition include:
Sinusitis can be either acute, meaning it is short-lived, or chronic, which refers to sinus pain and pressure that lasts for many weeks or tends to recur frequently. There are basic differences between the two:
Acute Sinusitis - This condition is often associated with a viral or bacterial upper respiratory infection that spreads to the sinuses. Acute sinusitis is usually treated with antihistamines and decongestants to reduce inflammation and decrease fluid production. The bacterial infection can be treated with antibiotic medication.
Chronic Sinusitis - This condition is characterized by a sinus problem that keeps coming back or won't go away. This is often caused by long-standing allergies, obstructions or irritants. Chronic sinusitis can be treated with medications to relieve congestion and reduce fluid secretion, irrigation to clean out old mucus and antibiotics to treat any bacterial infections.
The symptoms of sinusitis may vary somewhat, depending on whether the condition is acute or chronic. Common symptoms of acute sinusitis include:
Chronic sinusitis might be characterized by the following symptoms:
Other symptoms of either type of sinusitis might involve:
If you experience any of the symptoms of sinusitis, an appointment with our office will ensure your condition is accurately diagnosed and the best treatment is recommended. There are different ways to address sinusitis, depending on its severity, longevity and specific symptoms the patient is currently experiencing.
Different methods can be used to diagnose sinusitis:
This is a standard way to determine whether there is a problem with the sinuses. During this test, a flexible tube with a light at the end, known as an endoscope, provides the physician with a view inside the nasal cavity. The procedure is not painful and can be performed right in our office.
In some instances, your doctor may want to see sinuses that cannot be examined through a nasal endoscopy. In this case, a CT scan performed in our office may be ordered to collect images of those areas. These tests may reveal inflammation deep inside the sinuses, or a physical obstruction like a polyp that may not be detected through other means.
People with chronic sinusitis may be advised to undergo allergy testing if an allergic reaction is suspected as a culprit in the inflammation. A blood or skin test can be performed in our office and takes a couple of hours to complete. You will be tested for a broad range of indoor and outdoor substances, which may provide insight into how to manage or treat your allergies to reduce your symptoms of chronic sinusitis.
Sinus tissue cultures are not frequently used as a way of diagnosing sinusitis, but they can be helpful if you are not responding well to treatment. This type of test can help to pinpoint the bacteria or fungi in the tissue that may be contributing to the symptoms.
There are a variety of ways that sinusitis can be treated, but the primary goal of any treatment is to encourage healthy drainage, reduce inflammation and eliminate the underlying cause of the condition when possible. Some of the treatments used for sinusitis include:
At Acadian Ear, Nose, Throat & Facial Plastic Surgery Center our team of specialists is experienced in diagnosing and treating all types of sinusitis. To learn more or schedule your appointment with us today, give our office a call at 337-237-0650.