What is Sinusitis?
Have you ever had a cold that lasted for weeks? It’s possible that you were suffering from a condition known as sinusitis. Sinusitis is an infection of the paranasal sinus cavities. There are four paired sinuses in adults: frontal (forehead), maxillary (cheek), ethmoid (between the eyes), and sphenoid (in the middle of the head). Children also have sinuses, but they are not fully developed until adulthood. When inflammation occurs from a cold or allergies, the sinus drainage pathways can become blocked. This leads to a build-up of secretions, such as mucus, and bacterial overgrowth. This inflammation and bacterial overgrowth can lead to numerous symptoms.
Symptoms of Sinusitis
The most common symptoms of sinusitis include:
- Facial pain or pressure
- Colored nasal discharge
- Nasal congestion
- Pain in the upper teeth can also occur due to their proximity to the maxillary sinuses
- Coughing and large amounts of post-nasal drainage
In most cases, symptoms are present for at least 10-14 days and can last longer without appropriate treatment.
Sinusitis is typically treated with antibiotics. Other treatments are aimed at decreasing inflammation. Your physician may prescribe a steroid nasal spray to help decrease nasal congestion and swelling around the sinus openings. Oral steroids may also be prescribed to more quickly resolve inflammation.
An otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat doctor) may utilize a nasal endoscope to look further in the nasal cavity and identify any areas of anatomic obstruction, such as large nasal turbinates, nasal polyps, or deviation of the nasal septum. It also allows for direct visualization of infection.
A CT scan of the sinuses may be performed if medical treatment does not lead to significant improvement of symptoms. This can sometimes be done in your physician’s office, where the patient and physician can then review the results together during the same appointment. When medical therapy fails, there are sinus procedures like Balloon Sinuplasty that can be done in the office, as well as traditional sinus surgery that can be performed to open the sinuses and nasal airway.
Sinusitis can have a significant impact on people’s lives, and it can sometimes mimic allergy symptoms or the common cold. A thorough evaluation can help delineate the problem and provide appropriate treatment. An otolaryngologist can help evaluate and treat these conditions promptly and get you feeling well again.
Call NAENTA at (770) 292-3045, or fill out an appointment request.