Diagnosing and Treating Sinusitis
Sinusitis can be a bit tricky to diagnose. Its symptoms could be brought on by a variety of causes — it may take the form of a sinus headache (which could be a symptom of dehydration or stress) — or it could give you nasal congestion or a cough (which might seem like an allergy or a cold).
Though sinusitis may be caused by a number of factors, it could be a sign of a deeper problem that allergy tablets or cold medicine will solve. If you think you might have sinusitis, review your symptoms and try a new treatment option.
Sinusitis is an inflammation or swelling of the tissue lining the inside of the sinuses. If you are unfamiliar with the sinuses, they are hollow cavities located near your cheekbones, forehead, between your eyes, and behind your nose. These cavities receive air from the nose, and drain mucus into the nose.
Normally these cavities should be empty, except for a thin lining of mucus. However, certain conditions can block the sinuses, including a cold (swelling inside the nose may block the sinuses), rhinitis (swelling in the lining of the nose), nasal polyps (growths in the lining of the nose), or a deviated septum.
These conditions allow the sinuses to fill with fluid, which in turn allows germs (including bacteria, viruses, and fungi) to grow and eventually cause an infection, called sinusitis.
Since sinusitis is a kind of infection, anything which will increase the likelihood of infection will also increase your chances of developing sinusitis. These include immune system deficiencies, and medications which suppress the immune system.
There are a number of symptoms of sinusitis, depending on what type you have. Sinusitis is acute if you have cold-like symptoms (including runny, stuffy nose and facial pain) that start suddenly and do not go away after 10 to 14 days.
Acute sinusitis lasts about 4 weeks or less. You may have acute sinusitis if you have:
- Facial pain or pressure
- Nasal congestion
- Nasal discharge (otherwise known as a runny nose)
- Loss of smell
- Bad breath
- Dental pain
Sinusitis is subacute if these symptoms last 4 to 8 weeks. Chronic sinusitis occurs when inflammation lasts for 8 weeks or longer, and it is called recurrent if you have several cases of sinusitis within a year.
Symptoms of chronic sinusitis may be somewhat more severe, and include the following:
- Feeling of congestion or fullness in the face
- Nasal obstruction or blockage
- Pus in the nasal cavity
- Nasal discharge or discolored postnasal discharge
- Bad breath.
- Dental pain.
Treatment will depend on whether you have a viral or a bacterial infection. You have a viral infection if you have been experiencing symptoms of sinusitis for 10 days, and the symptoms are not getting worse. You have bacterial sinusitis if your symptoms do not improve after 10 days of becoming sick, or if the symptoms become worse after 10 days.
If you have acute viral sinusitis, antibiotics will not help with symptoms. Instead, pain relievers, steroid nasal sprays, and salt water irrigation may be recommended by your doctor.
While these treatment options will help with the symptoms of bacterial sinusitis as well, antibiotics will help cure the symptoms much faster.
Chronic sinusitis is typically caused by inflammation rather than infection. Consequently, treatments for chronic sinusitis will involve controlling inflammation using nasal irrigation, and nasal steroid sprays.
Ultimately, your doctor will know the best way to treat your symptoms, as these treatments may make your symptoms worse if you have conditions like allergies, nasal polyps, asthma, or an immune system deficiency.
In rare cases, surgery may be needed to widen nasal passages, or to fix a deviated septum.
Expert Diagnosis and Treatment of Sinusitis
If you suspect that you have sinusitis, there’s no doubt that your symptoms can be an impediment to your life. That’s why you need an expert in pulmonology like Dr. Mayank Shukla. Dr. Shukla has been in business for 15 years and counting, and he sees over 5,000 patients every year. Get advice from Dr. Shukla today.