We all have sinuses — small cavities in our skulls that produce mucus to prevent pollutants from entering our nasal passages. Sometimes, the tissue that lines those tiny cavities gets inflamed and blocks the sinuses, trapping mucus and air and causing pain and pressure. When mucus is trapped for extended periods, it can even lead to a sinus infection, or sinusitis.
There are two types of sinusitis: Acute and Chronic. They have similar symptoms but need to be treated differently in order to provide the most effective relief. A doctor who specializes in sinus treatment can determine which one you have in order to develop the best treatment plan.
A sinus infection is considered acute when it lasts up to 4 weeks. It often follows a cold or seasonal allergies when a lot of extra mucous was being produced.
•Facial pressure and pain
•Thick, dark mucus
Some cases of acute sinusitis can be treated with natural remedies such as drinking lots of fluids to thin mucous, standing in a steamy shower to ease swelling, and flushing the sinuses with a neti pot.
Your doctor may recommend using a decongestant to slow the production of mucus, or prescribe an inhaled steroid to bring down the swelling of the nasal passage. If your doctor suspects your sinus infection is bacterial, he may subscribe a brief regimen of antibiotics.
If a sinus infection lasts more than a month or even years, it’s often considered chronic. Chronic sinusitis sufferers experience the same symptoms as acute sufferers, but their symptoms are often not alleviated as easily. Chronic sinusitis is sometimes caused by structural problems in the nasal passage or a growth that prevents the sinuses from draining well, so relief is not possible simply by using medications.
After discussing your medical history, an ENT doctor can examine your nasal passages using imaging tests like X-rays or a CT scan to determine if there is a structural problems causing your discomfort.
Prevention and Treatment
One of the first things an ENT doctor will evaluate is whether there is an underlying cause for the inflammation and excess mucous in the sinuses. If you suffer from allergies, the best way to reduce episodes of recurring sinusitis is to avoid allergens or start allergy treatments.
If after treating sinusitis with home remedies, decongestants, steroids and antibiotics, your doctor may suggest surgery. By removing blockages and enlarging the sinus passages, mucous will drain more easily and alleviate symptoms. Sound Health offers minimally invasive methods of enlarging the sinus passage that has offered relief to many chronic sinusitis patients.
Ready to Get Relief from Your Sinusitis?
If you’ve been dealing with sinus pain and pressure for more than a month, call our offices at (314) 332-1377. Sound Health ENT doctors are knowledgeable in allergy treatment, sinusitis treatment and sinus surgery, and can help you start feeling better so you can enjoy life again. We look forward to speaking with you soon!