Have you ever had allergy or cold symptoms that wouldn’t go away? If your symptoms are persistent for more than 10 days, you are likely to be suffering from sinusitis. Sinusitis is a common health condition where the sinuses are infected or inflamed, causing painful symptoms and difficulty breathing. Sinusitis affects over 35 million Americans every year, which could be more, but many individuals’ sinusitis goes undiagnosed because of the similar symptoms of colds and allergies.
At Alabama Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialists, we see many patients suffering from chronic, acute, and recurrent sinusitis every week.
What are Sinuses?
Sinuses are openings in the bones around the nose that connect to the nose through small channels. When the sinuses are healthy, it allows air to enter the nose properly and mucus made in the sinuses are drained into the nose.
What is Sinusitis?
Also called rhinosinusitis, sinusitis is a very common condition that occurs when viruses, bacteria, or fungus infect the sinuses. When sinusitis occurs, the body reacts by causing the sinus lining to become swollen, which blocks the channels that drain the sinuses. This causes mucus to build up the nose and sinus cavities, which can cause many common symptoms:
- Nasal congestion and cloudy drainage
- Lack of energy
- Headache and facial tenderness or pain
- Loss of smell
- Sore throat and postnasal drip
There are a few types of sinusitis, including acute sinusitis, recurrent sinusitis, or chronic sinusitis.
- Acute Sinusitis – Diagnosed when common symptoms last up to four weeks.
- Recurrent Sinusitis – Symptoms are relieved, but recur every few weeks.
- Chronic Sinusitis – Lasts for 12 weeks or longer and is generally caused by prolonged inflammation, rather than a persistent infection.
Sinusitis: Bacterial or Viral?
Viral sinusitis is likely if you’ve been sick less than 10 days and your symptoms improve. Bacterial sinusitis is likely if you do not improve after 10 days of getting sick. It is important to tell what your sinusitis is caused by because it is treated differently in each case. Viral sinusitis does not benefit from antibiotics, but can be treated with pain relievers or nasal sprays. However, more extensive procedures may be needed if these treatments aren’t effective.
Do I Need Sinus Surgery?
An appointment with Alabama ENT Specialists can help determine the best treatment option for your sinusitis. Fortunately, there is a non-surgical option for chronic sinusitis, called Balloon Sinuplasty, which effectively opens and clears your sinus pathways. Find out more on our Balloon Sinuplasty page. Surgery is recommended when symptoms cannot be controlled with any other treatments.
Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
The most common sinus surgery is endoscopic sinus surgery, or ESS, which expands the sinus drainage pathways, utilizing an endoscopic method. During surgery, one of our certified doctors inserts an endoscope through your nostrils to view the sinus openings. Then a series of micro-cutting instruments are utilized to remove abnormal tissue that obstructs proper nasal performance. Removing this tissue expands the openings to the sinuses, helping clear sinuses and promote healing. Many patients take approximately two weeks of recovery before returning to their daily activities.
If you have chronic or persistent cold symptoms that don’t seem to go away, you may have a form of sinusitis. Contact us as soon as possible to alleviate these unbearable symptoms of sinusitis.