Sinusitis is a common condition that afflicts over 35 million Americans every year. It is one of the leading causes of lost time at the workplace and at school. The condition can affect both the young and the elderly. The sinuses are air-filled spaces located behind the forehead, in the cheeks, and between the eyes. In healthy sinuses, mucus drains out and air is able to circulate. The mucus helps to wash away dust, dirt and pollen. In some cases, the lining of the nasal passages becomes irritated and swollen. This inflammation traps fluid within the sinus cavities. Ultimately, bacteria can grow in this trapped fluid.
Sinusitis describes a swelling of the sinuses associated with blockage. The obstruction prevents mucus from draining properly and leads to infection. Antibiotics and oral steroids may be required to treat these infections. The problem arises with recurrent courses of antibiotics. This can lead to the development of resistant strains of bacteria or other side effects. If a person develops three or four infections each year, then alternative options must be explored.
What Causes Sinusitis?
A number of factors can cause irritation and contribute to sinusitis, including:
- inhaled irritants (eg, dust)
In addition, some studies have shown that structural issues such as narrowed drainage may lead to sinusitis outbreaks. Certain types of X-rays (CT scans) can be helpful to identify narrow areas of the sinuses where fluid becomes trapped.
Common symptoms of sinusitis include:
- Loss of smell or bad breath
- Headaches and facial pain or tenderness
- Lack of energy
- Nasal congestion and snoring
- Sore throat
- Runny nose or postnasal drip
- Ear fullness, pressure or pain
Acute, Chronic, and Recurrent Acute Sinusitis
Sinusitis can be acute, chronic or recurrent acute. Every patient is unique, and requires a custom approach to therapy. We have provided our typical treatment options below:
- Acute — symptoms last 10-12 days – typically addressed via self-care or medical therapy
- Chronic — symptoms last 3 months or longer—can be addressed via medical therapy, an office procedure such as balloon sinus dilation, or functional endoscopic sinus surgery
- Recurrent Acute – multiple acute sinusitis breakouts in calendar year—can be addressed via medical therapy, an office procedure such as balloon sinus dilation, or functional endoscopic sinus surgery
Want to find out which treatment option is the best for you?
Learn more about the newest sinus treatment option offered by Dr. Stephen Wall