Chronic Sinusitis is a condition when the spaces (sinuses) inside your head and nose have swelling and inflammation for more than three months. The condition interferes with the normal draining of mucus and leading to a stuffy nose. This results in difficulty in breathing with swelling or tenderness in the area around your nose. An infection, a swelling in the lining of the sinus or growths (nasal polyps) in the sinus may cause Chronic Sinusitis. The condition may affect both adults and children equally. It is also called Rhinosinusitis.
Causes of Chronic Sinusitis
There are many factors that can lead to Chronic Sinusitis.
- The growths (nasal polyps) might lead to the blockage in the nasal passage or the sinus.
- Due to a nasal infection.
- Due to swelling of the lining of your sinus.
- Respiratory tract infections inflame and thicken the sinus membrane. These infections can be fungal, viral or bacterial and block mucus drainage.
- The deviated nasal septum (a wall between the nostrils) may block or restrict the sinus passages. This worsens the symptoms of sinusitis.
- Allergies like hay fever are usually accompanied by inflammation that blocks your sinuses.
- There are some medical conditions that have some complications too. These conditions may be HIV, cystic fibrosis and immune system-related diseases. Such conditions may cause nasal blockage.
Symptoms of Chronic Sinusitis
In order to identify if you are suffering from Chronic sinusitis, here are some of the signs and symptoms. The main symptoms of Chronic sinusitis include:
- Inflammation in the nasal area.
- The discharge from the nose becomes thick and discolored.
- Difficulty in breathing due to the nasal obstruction or barrier in the nose.
- One might experience swelling, and pain around the cheeks, eyes, forehead and nose.
- The person might experience loss of smell and taste senses.
Despite these main symptoms, the person suffering from Chronic Sinusitis can also experience other symptoms including:
- Pain in the upper jaw and teeth if the person.
- A sore throat might also be experienced.
- Bad breath.
- It may cause pain in the ear as well.
- Lack of energy
The symptoms of chronic sinusitis also include fever at times, but it is not a common one. Chronic sinusitis might last for a minimum of 12 weeks.
Diagnosis of Chronic Sinusitis
One of the crucial steps is the diagnosis of the condition. The doctor might look for pain or the effects of the infection on your face or nose. The doctor might also look inside your nose to identify the problem.
The diagnosis can be done through various methods, which include-
- Imaging test: It is not always possible to identify the inflammation by using the endoscope. In order to see the details of the nasal area and sinuses, you must undergo an Imaging test. The images taken through the CT or MRI helps in observing the minute details.
- Allergy Test: Skin allergy test, which is the fastest and the simplest way to detect the problem, can also be recommended by the doctor. In case the doctor feels that an allergy is causing Chronic sinusitis, then the doctor might suggest you go for an allergy test.
- Looking inside the sinuses: In order to understand the problem, your doctor might look into the sinus by using a thin, flexible tube with a fiber-optic light which helps him or her to look into the sinus.
- Samples from your sinus and nasal discharge (cultures): The doctor might collect the sample from your nose. In case he or she is unable to detect the reason, there is fungi growth in your nose. However, this type of test is not a compulsory one.
Treatment Options for Chronic Sinusitis
Various treatment options for chronic sinusitis include:
- Saline nasal irrigation- Done with the help of solutions or nasal sprays, it rinses away the nutrients, allergies and reduces drainage.
- Nasal corticosteroids- These are the nasal sprays that help in treating and preventing inflammation. Your doctor might recommend you to rinse with a solution of saline containing drops of budesonide. He or she might also ask you to rinse using a nasal mist of the solution. The examples are triamcinolone, mometasone, fluticasone, beclomethasone and budesonide.
- Aspirin desensitization treatment- Your doctor will recommend this treatment if you experience reactions to aspirin that result in sinusitis. To increase your tolerance, you will be given larger doses of aspirin under medical supervision.
- Injected or oral corticosteroids- They relieve the inflammation caused due to severe sinusitis. They are very effective in cases of nasal polyps. However, they may cause serious side effects upon long term use. Hence, your doctor will recommend you only if you having severe symptoms.