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Top Signs of Sinusitis

Sinuses are hollow air-filled cavities that are located in your face and around your nose. Each sinus cavity has small tubes or channels that allow mucus to easily drain from the sinus into the nose.

In some cases, however, the lining of one or more sinus cavities becomes inflamed, causing a condition referred to as sinusitis. It can cause annoying symptoms that last for weeks on end, and if they last for 12 weeks, it’s classified as chronic. In other cases, symptoms may seem to get better only to quickly return.

In this blog, Dr. David O. Volpi will address the top signs and symptoms that can indicate that you have sinusitis.

What is sinusitis?

Sinusitis is a sinus infection that’s caused by a buildup of mucus in the sinuses. It can be caused by a variety of issues, including a cold, nasal polyps (growths on the inside lining of the nose) or a deviated septum (a crooked or off-center wall that divides the nose into two nostrils).

When mucus builds up because it’s unable to drain normally, it provides a warm, moist breeding ground that allows viruses or bacteria to multiply and causes the sinus lining to become inflamed and swollen.

This blockage and inflammation of the sinus membranes can be infectious (contagious) or non-infectious (non-contagious).

The inflammation of the sinus lining causes issues that affect your nose, but it can also cause uncomfortable symptoms that affect your entire body.

What are the symptoms of sinusitis?

  • Facial pain, swelling, or tenderness around the eyes, cheeks, nose, and forehead
  • Nasal congestion
  • Difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Reduced sense of smell and/or taste
  • Post-nasal drip (the sensation of mucus running down the back of your throat)
  • Sinus headaches
  • Nasal polyps
  • Yellow or green mucus discharge
  • Cough
  • Pain in the teeth
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Hoarseness
  • Wheezing
  • Bad breath
  • Snoring and sleep issues

Are there different types of sinusitis?

There are two different types of this condition – acute and chronic.

Acute sinus infections occur suddenly, typically because of inflammation caused by a common cold, allergies, or irritation from environment pollutants.

This type of sinus infection is characterized by a runny, stuffy nose and facial pain or headache. It usually lasts for four weeks or less and sometimes clears up on its own.

There are two types of acute sinus infections – those that are caused by viruses and those that are caused by bacteria. The vast majority of cases – 90% or more – are viral, and they usually affect the upper respiratory tract. Bacterial sinus infections will probably need to be treated by antibiotics.

In some cases, acute sinus infections will improve and then reoccur. If you experience four or more episodes of acute sinus infections within a year, you may have recurrent acute sinusitis.

Chronic sinus infections, on the other hand, involve symptoms that persist for 12 weeks and resist attempts at treatment. It’s one of the most common chronic diseases, affecting 14% to 16% of adults in the United States. It can be caused by an infection, nasal polyps, or a deviated septum.

What are the treatment options for sinusitis?

After a thorough examination, an ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT) will be able to determine the underlying cause of your sinusitis and recommend the best course of treatment to alleviate your symptom while addressing their cause.

Treatments may include:

  • Nasal decongestant sprays
  • Topical nasal corticosteroids – sprays that can help reduce swelling
  • Nasal saline sprays – to help reduce inflammation and loosen up mucus so it can drain more freely
  • Antihistamines
  • Antibiotics (if the cause of the infection is bacterial)
  • Balloon Sinuplasty – this minimally invasive procedure opens inflamed sinuses.
  • Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) – this surgery uses a thin lighted tube called an endoscope to remove excess tissue and correct structural abnormalities such as nasal polyps.

Looking for the best sinusitis treatment in Houston?

Dr. David Volpi is a board-certified otolaryngologist who is on staff at New York City’s finest hospitals, including Lenox Hill Hospital and Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital. He also has private ear, nose, and throat practices on the Upper East Side and Upper West Side of Manhattan.

If you’re experiencing sinus infection symptoms, schedule an appointment today!


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Posted in: Ear nose and throat doctor, Sinusitis