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HomeENT conditions › Chronic Sinusitis Causes & Symptoms

Chronic Sinusitis Causes & Symptoms

What is chronic sinusitis?

A condition where the paranasal sinus cavities become very swollen and are not responding to conservative treatment within 3 months, is described as chronic rhinosinusitis or chronic sinus infection. Chronic sinusitis is a common condition that stems from acute sinusitis. The swelling of sinus cavity soft tissue inhibits the nasal passageways from draining and causes a buildup of mucus in the maxillary, ethmoidal, frontal and sphenoid sinus cavities.

What causes chronic sinusitis?

Chronic sinusitis is often caused by a nasal passageway congestion, either caused by a deviated septum, enlarged nasal turbinates or nasal polyps. Other conditions that can lead to chronic sinusitis include environmental allergies, recurrent respiratory tract infections (common cold) and controlled substance abuse in the nasal cavity.

What are some chronic sinusitis symptoms?

The symptoms of chronic sinusitis are the same as those for acute sinusitis, but last for about 3 months or more, without significant improvement. Symptoms that may indicate a chronic sinus infection include any of the following that last for a long period of time: nasal passageway obstruction, postnasal drainage, yellowish-greenish discharge, difficulty breathing, pain or tenderness around eyes, cheeks and nose, pressure in forehead when bending over, ear pain or pressure, loss of smell and taste and feeling fatigue.

When should I see a doctor?

If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms and have not yet seen a doctor, it is important to consult with your primary care physician or an ENTspecialist with ENT in Cayman Ltd. as soon as possible. Conditions can worsen and become more serious over time.

What are the risk factors for chronic sinusitis?

You may have an increased risk of recurring or chronic sinusitis if any of the following conditions are present: environmental or food allergy, deviated nasal septum, nasal polyps, other immune system disorder and smoking or secondhand smoke.

How is chronic sinusitis diagnosed?

Doctors with ENT in Cayman Ltd. diagnose chronic sinusitis using the following methods: nasal endoscopy, imaging (A-scan ultrasound, X-ray, CAT scan), nasal culture testing (to determine cause of infection, such as bacteria)  and allergy tests (to eliminate or pinpoint allergies as the root of chronic sinusitis).

How is chronic sinusitis treated?

The treatment of chronic sinusitis targets the underlying reasons and a combination of the below treatments is often used such as:

  • decongestants (helps to open up the nasal cavity),
  • nasal saline rinses (helps to clean out the nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cavities),
  • oral or topical corticosteroids (helps to reduce nasal inflammation and control size of nasal polyps) and
  • pain relievers (relieves tension and pressure pain associated with chronic sinusitis).

Allergy treatment is recommended whenever the chronic sinusitis is being caused by an environmental or food allergy. Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) is the last resort for patients who are not responding to conservative treatment.

If you are suffering from chronic sinusitis, the first step towards feeling better is to schedule an evaluation with an experienced ear, nose and throat doctor.

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