Even if you’ve never heard the term, you’ve most likely experienced sinusitis. That’s because it’s common during a cold, but it can be long-term and occur on its own for some people. It can be difficult to determine, but your Tuscaloosa ENT specialist can help you pin down what might be causing your sinusitis (whether viral or bacterial) and what you can do about it. These things can be closely tied to what type of sinusitis you’re experiencing, so here’s a guide to help you become familiar with the terms your ENT specialist might use.
This is the most common type of sinusitis and occurs with your average head cold or allergy outbreak. It’s indicated by a runny or stuffy nose with a sense of pressure in the upper nose, as well as cloudy or discolored mucus when you blow your nose. This type is relatively mild and can last up to four weeks, but you should pay attention to whether it worsens or not, because this can be an indicator of whether it’s caused by bacteria or a virus. Over-the-counter decongestants, nasal sprays, or antibiotics can generally clear up your acute sinusitis, as well as plenty of rest.
This type of sinusitis is usually easily diagnosed because it occurs for longer than twelve weeks and can be more severe in its symptoms. This can include headaches due to pressure and a loss of smell. It can also take a toll on your immune system, leading to fatigue and an overall sense of illness. Sinusitis can become chronic because of swelling in the nasal passage, leading to a lack of drainage of the infected mucus in the sinus. This serves to re-infect the area and makes the symptoms worse. Your treatment plan might include a scan to gather information about whether there are any other factors causing your sinusitis (like nasal polyps or other obstructions), as well as determining what treatment options are available to you. A long-term antibiotic plan can be prescribed, as well as steroids, saline rinses, or a balloon sinuplasty procedure. Endoscopic sinus surgery should be considered with your ENT specialist only after you’ve tried other options.
Recurrent sinusitis is exactly that— it usually reoccurs three or more times per year, with each episode lasting a couple weeks or more. This is most commonly seen in patients that experience yearly allergy fluctuations and can be managed with the above methods, as well as treatment for allergies. Patients that experience recurrent sinusitis may also be candidates for sinus surgery if the symptoms are severe enough and last for long periods of time.
A consultation with our ENT specialists is the best way to determine your type of sinusitis and what to do about it. Contact us to schedule your appointment and find relief for your symptoms and a long-term solution.