Chronic sinusitis is a very common condition that can affect all age groups. It’s defined as having inflamed and swollen sinuses (the hollow, air-filled cavities around the nasal passages) for at least eight weeks, despite attempts to treat the problem. This condition can even linger for years, showing signs of clearing up and then returning.
Chronic sinusitis interferes with the normal drainage of mucus, causing it to build up and provide an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. This triggers your body’s immune system to kick off an inflammatory response, causing swelling that results in troublesome symptoms. These include difficulty breathing through your nose, pain around your eyes and in your face, and headaches.
What are the symptoms of chronic sinusitis?
In some cases, chronic sinusitis can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection, but it can also be caused by structural issues such as growths in the sinuses (nasal polyps) or by a deviated nasal septum (a condition in which the cartilage that divides the nasal cavity in half is off center or crooked).
Chronic sinusitis and acute sinusitis can have many signs and symptoms in common, but acute sinusitis is a temporary infection that usually lasts a week to 10 days, unless a bacterial infection develops. It’s often caused by the common cold.
At least two of the following signs and symptoms must be present for a diagnosis of chronic sinusitis:
- Drainage of a thick yellow or greenish discharge from the nose or back of the throat
- Nasal obstruction or congestion that causes breathing through your nose to be difficult
- Pain, tenderness, and swelling around your eyes, cheeks, nose, and forehead
- Reduced ability to smell or taste
Additional symptoms that may be present include:
- Ear pain
- Aching in your upper jaw and teeth
- Coughing, which may be worse at night
- Sore throat
- Bad breath
- Fatigue or irritability
What are the treatment options to get rid of chronic sinusitis?
If you suffer from the painful symptoms of chronic sinusitis, it can be difficult to breathe and function during everyday activities. These symptoms can often be ongoing and will seem to clear up, only to return again.
Chronic sinusitis treatments are designed to:
- Reduce inflammation
- Keep your nasal passages draining normally
- Correct the underlying cause so your symptoms don’t keep returning
- Reduce the number of flare-ups you have
An ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT) may recommend any of the following treatments to get rid of chronic sinusitis:
- Saline nasal irrigation – Using a saline spray can help clear your nasal passages.
- Antibiotics – These can be effective if your sinusitis is caused by – or has developed into – a bacterial infection.
- Nasal corticosteroids – These sprays help reduce swelling and mucus.
- Nasal decongestant sprays – Decongestants can shrink the swollen membranes in your nose, but they should only be used for a few days. If you use them on an ongoing basis, they can cause rebound congestion and swelling that’s even worse.
- Antihistamines – These medications can help dry the mucus but can also worsen your symptoms because they can make mucus thick and hard to drain.
If antibiotics and other medicines aren’t effective in treating your chronic sinusitis, then sinus surgery may be necessary to correct an underlying issue.
What are the sinus surgery options to get rid of chronic sinusitis?
Several different surgery options are available, depending on the exact issue that’s causing your chronic sinusitis. They include the following:
- Polypectomy – removal of nasal polyps
- Turbinate Reduction – reduction in the size or shape of the two spongy bones that protrude into the nasal passages
- Balloon Sinuplasty – opening your sinuses using a tiny, removable balloon
- Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) – enlarging the drainage pathways of the sinuses
Where can I find treatment to get rid of chronic sinusitis?
At DFW Sinus Select, we provide state-of-the-art specialty medical care in a personalized and compassionate manner.
Our board-certified ENTS are experienced in treating chronic sinusitis, and we offer the complete spectrum of diagnostics, as well as the latest minimally invasive treatments for the nose, sinuses, and allergies.
We are a regional leader in providing the cutting-edge Balloon Sinuplasty procedure.
If you’re suffering from symptoms of chronic sinusitis, schedule an appointment today and get the relief you deserve.