Chronic sinus infections and other sinus problems can have a major impact on a person’s quality of life. When medications fail to provide the relief you need, the doctors of CornerStone Ear, Nose & Throat can help provide lasting relief for patients suffering from chronic or frequent sinus problems. We offer the most up-to-date minimally invasive techniques, including in-office procedures under local anesthesia, and more traditional outpatient endoscopic sinus surgery without packing.
Post-nasal drip, congestion, and sinus headaches can all be symptoms of inflammation or infection of the sinuses, a condition also known as sinusitis. The body reacts to sinusitis by causing the lining of the sinuses to swell and secrete large amounts of thick mucus. This swelling does not allow mucus to drain properly, causing it to fill the nasal and sinus cavities.
Symptoms Of Sinusitis
- Nasal obstruction
- Yellow or green mucus
- Facial pain
- Bad breath
- Teeth pain
- Post-nasal drip
- Sore throat
The swelling of the mucus membranes lining the sinuses can lead to a condition commonly referred to as a “sinus headache.” Patients typically experience pain under, between, or above the eyes, and in the upper teeth. This discomfort is a result of inflamed mucus membranes blocking normal sinus drainage passages and causing mucus to become trapped in the obstructed sinuses. Sinus headaches and facial pain are often a symptom of sinusitis.
Acute sinusitis is typically diagnosed when there has been four weeks or less of green or yellow nasal drainage, plus one or both of the following:
- Stuffy, congested nose
- Pain or pressure in the face or around the eyes
Symptoms of sinus infection lasting less than 10 days, with no history of recurring or chronic sinus problems, are most likely an indication of viral rhinosinusitis. Over-the-counter pain relievers, saltwater irrigation, and steroid nasal sprays are recommended treatments for this condition. Antibiotics are not usually needed. If the symptoms of a sinus infection last for more than 10 days without improvement, or the symptoms worsen after an initial phase of improvement, you most likely have acute bacterial sinusitis. While pain relievers, saltwater irrigation, and steroid nasal sprays can also help with this condition, antibiotic treatment may be needed. If productive cough, increasing fever, or chest pain develop and last more than one week, bronchitis and even pneumonia may be developing from the viral infection. Evaluation by a physician is definitely recommended in these instances, especially in children, the elderly, and those with immune system problems.
Chronic sinusitis is diagnosed when the symptoms of sinusitis last for 12 weeks or longer. Chronic sinusitis is more typically the result of prolonged inflammation due to environmental causes, rather than infection. While infection can also be a secondary factor in chronic sinusitis, it is not usually the original cause – three factors that lead to chronic nasal and sinus problems.
Medical treatments for chronic sinusitis include saltwater nasal irrigation and/or nasal steroid sprays. Antibiotics may be useful in selected cases. Other factors that can impact chronic sinusitis, which may require additional treatment, include environmental allergies, nasal polyps, prior trauma or surgery in the area, recent dental implant surgery, and asthma.
Sinus Problems – When to see an ENT
Sinus problems can be frustrating because they are so common and can have multiple causes. If you have prolonged sinus symptoms, it is important to be examined by an ear, nose, and throat specialist to determine the best course of treatment – request an appointment today.