Chronic Sinusitis – What you need to know

What Is Chronic Sinusitis?

Sinusitis is a condition that happens when the lining of the nasal passages is inflamed. Sinusitis usually improves in two or three weeks. Chronic sinusitis is sinusitis that can last for twelve or more weeks that does not respond to medical treatment.

What Causes Chronic Sinusitis?

The usual causes of chronic sinusitis are infection from bacteria, viruses or allergies that are not controlled. The sinuses are lined with tiny hair called cilia that work to remove mucous. When infection or allergies occur, it causes swelling in the membranes, so the cilia aren’t effective. Bacteria or viruses in the mucus can start to congregate and multiply. Growths called polyps can also block sinus passages and prevent your sinuses from properly draining.

What Are Symptoms of Chronic Sinusitis?

The most common symptoms are pain, pressure and a feeling of fullness in the head, nose, cheeks, eyes and ears. Sometimes the swelling is visible in the face.

Other symptoms of chronic sinusitis include:

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Pain in the jaw or teeth
  • Trouble smelling
  • Trouble tasting
  • Thick discharge, usually yellow or green, from the nose or down the back of the throat
  • Bad breath

Who can Treat Chronic Sinusitis?

Your primary care physician treats chronic sinusitis, but they are not experts in treating this condition. An otolaryngologist or ENT will offer the best treatment. ENTs are specially trained to treat chronic sinusitis with medical and surgical procedures.

How Is Chronic Sinusitis Treated?

First the cause of the condition must be determined. This involves a full medical history and physical examination. Nasal endoscopy may be used to examine your sinuses. The Dr. may take nasal or sinus cultures. The ENT may also take CT or MRI imaging studies. Allergy tests may need to be performed. Once the cause is determined, the Dr. will perform the appropriate treatment.

Chronic Sinusitis Treatments:

  • Nasal Corticosteroids
  • Oral or injected corticosteroids
  • Decongestants
  • Allergy medications
  • Antibiotics
  • Immunotherapy
  • Humidifiers
  • Warm compresses
  • Saline nose drops
  • Nasal irrigation
  • Sinus Surgery

Home Remedies for Sinusitis Symptoms:

  • Rest
  • Stay hydrated
  • Warm Compresses
  • Rinse Nasal Passages
  • Sleep with head elevated
  • Steam – moisturize sinus cavities by draping a towel over your head as you breathe in steam from a bowl of hot water or taking a hot shower.

There are many minimal surgical procedures that can treat chronic sinusitis. If you have chronic sinusitis, call Colorado ENT at (719) 867-7800 to schedule an appointment for an evaluation today.