Anyone with sinusitis knows how uncomfortable it gets, with symptoms such as stuffy nose, frequent headaches, facial pressure, congestion, and cough. This happens when there is an inflammation or swelling in the lining of the sinuses. Paranasal sinuses are hollow passages that are located in your head, near the nose and eyes. There are 4 types of sinuses, namely – frontal sinuses (located above the eyes), ethmoidal sinuses (located between the eyes), maxillary sinuses (located below the eyes), and sphenoidal sinuses (located behind the eyes). These sinuses produce mucus that keep our nostrils moist, and drains out through the nasal passages
During sinusitis, the sinuses are filled with fluid that blocks the nasal passages, making drainage difficult. Due to this, germs continue to grow and cause infection.
What is Chronic Sinusitis?
Chronic sinusitis, also known as chronic rhinosinusitis, is a type of sinus infection that occurs when the sinuses are swollen or inflamed for 3 months or more, despite being treated. During chronic sinusitis, mucus drainage is not possible due to inflamed sinuses, making your nose stuffy. This makes breathing through your nose difficult. Chronic sinusitis can prove to be detrimental to your quality of life, if not treated immediately.
Chronic sinusitis is usually caused by an infection, by conditions such as nasal polyps and deviated septum, or even common cold. This condition can affect both children and adults. While acute sinusitis can get cured with minimal to no treatment, chronic sinusitis may require different types of treatment. In case the patient does not respond to other treatments, he/she has to undergo a surgery.
Symptoms of Chronic Sinusitis:
The common signs and symptoms of this condition include:
- Inflammation or swelling in the sinuses
- Thick yellow/green discharge from the nose
- Blocked or stuffy nose (congestion)
- Difficulty breathing through the nose
- Facial pressure or pain
- Reduced sense of taste or smell
Other uncommon/rare symptoms include:
- Ear pain
- Pain in the jaws and teeth
- Sore throat
- Bad breath
Consult your doctor if these symptoms persist beyond 10 days despite treatment, or if they continue to worsen. In order to diagnose chronic sinusitis, your doctor may review your symptoms, conduct a physical exam, and prescribe tests such as imaging tests and allergy tests.
Treating Chronic Sinusitis:
Nasal Sprays: These nasal sprays/decongestants help reduce inflammation. Some of the nasal spray for blocked nose include steroids such as fluticasone, triamcinolone, budesonide, mometasone, and more. These nasal sprays work by thinning the mucus for easy drainage and relieving inflammation. You can use decongestants such as the Naselin nasal spray for sinuses to relieve a stuffy nose. However, one must ensure that they do not use for more than 2 to 3 days at a stretch, as it may lead to rebound congestion.
Saline Nasal Sprays: These sprays are milder and do not contain steroids. These can be used with nasal decongestants to enable easy drainage and rinse away irritants and allergens.
Oral or Injected Corticosteroids: These may be used when there is no relief from nasal sprays, and used to relieve severe cases of chronic sinusitis, especially when you have nasal polyps.
Allergy Medications: If your sinusitis is caused due to allergies, your doctor will prescribe allergy medications to treat the cause.
Antibiotics: If the infection is caused by bacteria, antibiotics are prescribed along with other treatment methods.
Immunotherapy: If allergies are the reason behind your sinus infections, allergy shots are given to reduce the body’s reaction to the allergens.
Surgery: If none of the other treatment options work out, the doctor might suggest an endoscopic sinus surgery, in which the doctor will use an endoscope to explore the nasal passages. The doctor will then use various instruments to open the sinus passages by removing the elements that have caused the blockage such as nasal polyps or swollen mucus membranes.