What Is Sinusitis?
Chronic sinusitis affects more than 14.6 percent of people in the United States. Often treated by antibiotics, sinusitis is the inflammation of the mucous membranes lining the sinus cavities, the hollow pathways around the nose and eyes.
Typically, sinus cavities are filled with air, letting the mucus created there drain into the nasal passages. However, if the mucous membranes become inflamed and drainage pathways are blocked, mucus can become trapped in the sinuses and infection can occur. Sinusitis can be viral, bacterial or fungal, each requiring a different type of treatment.
Sinusitis can be prevented by staying hydrated and properly managing allergies with the use of over-the-counter as well as prescription oral antihistamines or steroid nasal spray. Patients suffering from nasal issues might also use daily saline irrigations. When traveling by air, use a nasal spray decongestant before take-off, preventing blockage of the sinuses to allow mucus to drain.
Symptoms of Sinusitis
You may be suffering from sinusitis (a sinus infection) if you’re noticing one or more of these symptoms:
- Reduced or absent sense of smell
- Nasal blockage
- Cloudy or discolored nasal drainage
- Facial or dental pain and/or pressure
- Ear fullness
Chronic Sinusitis Treatments and Diagnosis
Our ENT team can help you find chronic sinusitis relief. Our team will base your sinusitis diagnosis on your symptoms, a physical examination and an endoscope examination. While treatments will vary according to your situation, below are a few ways we treat patients suffering from sinusitis:
- Steroid Nasal Sprays: As viral sinusitis is not affected by antibiotics, nasal steroids are often deployed to shorten the length of your infection. It may also be combined with antibiotics to encourage swift recovery.
- Antibiotics: Used to address bacterial infections, common examples of an antibiotic include Amoxicillin, Augmentin® and Levaquin®.
- Intravenous Anti-Fungal medications: Very rarely used for fungal infections that affect those with weakened immune systems related to chemotherapy for cancer or severe, poorly controlled diabetes.
Sinus Surgery Treatments
When medical treatment fails or if a patient is suffering from a nasal obstruction that is inhibiting nasal drainage such as a deviated septum, chronic sinusitis treatments may include sinus surgery.
- Balloon Sinuplasty: A common in-office procedure that can be performed with local anesthesia. A physician will inflate a balloon in the narrow channels between the sinuses and the nasal cavities, widening the nasal drainage path.