Sinus Relief

Chronic Sinusitis

What is chronic sinusitis?

Chronic sinusitis is a long-term swelling or infection of the sinuses, which lasts more than 12 weeks.

Sinuses are air-filled spaces in the skull behind the face. They are kept moist and clean by a lining of mucosa and allergens or irritants such as pollen, smoke, and chemical fumes can irritate the mucosa. Constant exposure to allergy or irritants can lead to chronic inflammation or infection of the sinuses.

Causes of chronic sinusitis

When the sinuses are unable to drain properly or the mucosa is inflamed it can lead to chronic sinusitis.
Some causes are:

  • Infections
  • Chronic allergies
  • Nasal polyps, deviated septum, or other obstructions
  • Constant exposure to irritants, such as cigarette smoke or fumes

Common symptoms of chronic sinusitis

Symptoms may include:

  • Facial pain and pressure
  • Headache and sinus pain
  • Nasal congestion
  • Thick, colored drainage from the nose
  • Postnasal drainage (thick mucus draining down the back of the throat)
  • Loss of smell
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat

Diagnosis of chronic sinusitis

Diagnosis relies on the physician taking a detailed medical history and physical examination. If deemed necessary a CT of the sinuses can aid in the diagnosis.

Treating chronic sinusitis

Treatment is aimed at reducing irritation and inflammation. Your plan may include:

  • Taking medications. Medications such as intranasal medications help to reduce inflammation and swelling. They also help to unblock the sinuses and allow them to drain. Antibiotics are prescribed for bacterial infections.
  • Sinus irrigation (flushing with saltwater or saline solution) may be suggested. This helps to clear out mucus.
  • An individualized plan to control allergies is helpful. This plan may include medications or allergy shots.
  • Surgery, in some cases. Surgery on the nose, sinuses, or both can improve sinus drainage or remove nasal obstructions.