If you’ve suffered through the symptoms of sinusitis for months, you may have chronic sinusitis.
In this blog, the otolaryngologists (ear, nose, and throat specialists) at DFW Sinus Select will explain more about chronic sinusitis, as well as the best possible treatment options.
What is chronic sinusitis?
Sinusitis is a common condition is which the sinuses become inflamed and swollen. These small cavities around the nasal passage are normally filled with air, but when they swell, they can become blocked with mucus. Mucus performs a valuable function by helping to keep your nasal passages clear of pollutants, viruses, and bacteria. But when these passages become blocked, it can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms.
Chronic sinusitis is sinusitis that lasts for at least 12 weeks, despite many attempts to treat it. In some cases, it can last for years.
What are the symptoms of chronic sinusitis?
Chronic sinusitis can cause a long list of uncomfortable symptoms, which can include the following:
- Facial pain, pressure, and a feeling of fullness around your eyes, cheeks, nose, or forehead
- Nasal congestion and stuffiness, as well as difficulty breathing through your nose
- Post nasal drip (the feeling of mucus dripping down the back of your throat) that’s thick and discolored
- Nasal blockage or obstruction
- Runny nose
- Bad breath
- Tooth pain
- Feeling fatigued or irritable
- Reduced sense of smell or taste
What are the possible treatment options for chronic sinusitis?
The best treatment option for chronic sinusitis depends on the cause of your condition.
The following are some common options:
- Antibiotics – These will only help if your chronic sinusitis is caused by bacteria. The majority of cases are not.
- Over-the-counter pain medication – Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help reduce pain but shouldn’t be taken for more than 10 days.
- Decongestants – These medicines can be taken as pills or as nasal sprays. They help decrease the amount of mucus in your sinuses, but decongestant nasal sprays shouldn’t be used for longer than three days.
- Allergy medicines or immunotherapy – If your chronic sinusitis is caused by allergies, immunotherapy (the use of an allergen in tiny amounts, administered under your tongue or by injection, to build up your body’s tolerance) may help.
- Steroids – These can help reduce inflammation and can be administered orally or in the form of a nasal spray.
- Antifungal medication – This can help the small percentage of chronic sinusitis cases that are caused by fungus.
- Humidifying your home – Using a humidifier can help moisten dry air.
- Breathing in steam – Take a hot shower, or put your head over a warm (not hot) bowl of water while keeping a towel draped over your head.
- Nasal saline solutions and irrigation – These can help flush out your nasal passages and keep them moist.
- Applying moist heat – A warm, wet towel can help ease facial pain and pressure.
- Drinking plenty of fluids – This helps thin the mucus, making it easier to drain freely.
In cases where self-care and medication aren’t effective enough, surgery may be needed to address the root of your chronic sinusitis. Common types of surgical treatment options for chronic sinusitis include the following:
- Polypectomy – removes nasal polyps using special suction and instruments.
- Balloon sinuplasty – utilizes a tiny balloon to open up sinus passages and restructure and widen the walls of the sinus passageway.
- Turbinate reduction – can help shrink overly large nasal turbinates (bony structures inside your nose that help humidify air).
- Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) – surgeons use a small telescope-like device called an endoscope to see inside your nose and sinuses. No external scarring occurs, because the surgery is performed entirely inside your nose, and it helps enlarge and clear blocked sinus passages.
Looking for the best chronic sinusitis treatment?
If you’re suffering from the symptoms of chronic sinusitis, schedule an appointment with DFW Sinus Select today! Our doctors will accurately diagnose the underlying cause of your condition and recommend the best possible, least-invasive treatment options for chronic sinusitis to help you breathe easier.