Sinusitis is the inflammation of the sinus cavity, which is the underlying cause of sinusitis, is a problem that affects nearly one in eight Americans. Suffering from sinusitis occurs when your sinuses, instead of being filled with air, become filled with fluid, such as trapped fungi, viruses, and bacteria, which multiply causing inflammation and discomfort. Congestion and not feeling well are often the result, which is why you should get the professional expertise of our providers for the effective treatment of their sinusitis at Michigan ENT & Allergy Specialists, a practice dedicated to the treatment of sinus infections.
Sinusitis can be caused by a variety of different underlying conditions that may include allergic rhinitis or the swelling of your nasal lining, a common cold, a deviated septum, or other factors. Different types of sinusitis can range from acute sinusitis, which occurs very quickly and can be similar to a common cold with symptoms that can include a runny nose, stuffiness or facial pain, with symptoms typically lasting for four weeks or more. An inflammation lasting four to eight weeks is generally labeled as sub-acute sinusitis, while chronic sinusitis is a condition characterized by sinus inflammation symptoms that last for eight weeks or longer. Recurrent sinusitis is indicative of a more serious condition where multiple attacks occur throughout the course of the year.
Who gets Sinusitis?
A variety of factors will contribute to sinusitis, and anyone can get it. In adults, however, the major preconditions for sinusitis are the presence of another infection and smoking. Adult patients who are more prone to sinusitis include those individuals who have:
Inflamed or swollen nasal mucous membranes caused by a cold
- Nasal polyps
- Narrow drainage ducts
- Blocked drainage ducts
- A compromised immune systems
Some children are also at increased risk of developing sinusitis if they have any of the following risk factors:
- Use of a pacifier
- Drinking from a bottle when in a lying down position
- Exposure to second-hand smoke
What are the signs and symptoms of Acute Sinusitis?
Among the primary symptoms or signs of acute sinusitis are:
A cough and/or congestion
- Facial pain and/or facial pressure
- A diminished sense of smell
- Nasal discharge and/or stuffiness
- Bad breath
- Dental pain
Any two or more such symptoms can indicate acute sinusitis, in particular, if a thick nasal discharge presents itself that is yellow or greenish in color.
What are the signs and Symptoms of Chronic Sinusitis?
Chronic sinusitis is typically diagnosed after symptoms have been present longer than two months. While it varies from patient to patient, you may have chronic sinusitis if two or more of the following conditions are present:
Facial congestion and/or fullness
- Nasal discharge or discoloration of post-nasal drainage
- Nasal blockage or obstruction
- Presence of pus in the nasal cavity
- Bad breath or halitosis
- Dental pain
How is Sinusitis Diagnosed?
Dr. Palmer, Dr. Strabbing, Dr.Manion and Dr. Stubbs will review all of your symptoms with you to make a proper diagnosis of sinusitis before examining your sinuses to see if they are swollen or sensitive. Michigan ENT and Allergy Specialists may also look at your teeth, which can provide indications as to whether or not you have an inflamed paranasal sinus. In the course of his diagnostic process, we may also recommend certain procedures to help in determining the cause of your sinusitis, including:
- Blood work
- CT scan of your sinuses
- Mucus culture
- Nasal endoscopy
What is Nasal Endoscopy?
To examine the interior of your sinus drainage tubes and the nasal passages,we may utilize an endoscope, which is a tube-like instrument with a tiny camera and light used to examine the interior of a body part. Endoscopy enables Michigan ENT and Allergy Specialists to view the bone structure of your nasal cavity, which can reveal possible blockages or obstructions, in addition to uncovering polyps that may not be visible during a routine exam. Endoscopy can also reveal any structural abnormalities that may be contributing factors to your recurrent sinusitis.
How is Sinusitis treated?
Depending on the type and severity of your infection, the treatment options for sinusitis vary based on the degree and severity of your condition.
If you suffer from acute sinusitis, we may advise using a decongestant, such as Sudafed, sometimes in combination with steam inhalation therapy. Over-the-counter decongestant sprays or nasal drops can lessen your symptoms, but they shouldn’t be used for longer than the recommended duration because they can wind up increasing your congestion. Antibiotic treatment may be prescribed for 10 to 14 days, and this very often clears up your symptoms.
Warm and moist air can alleviate your symptoms of sinus congestion, so a vaporizer may also be recommended by Michigan ENT and Allergy Specialists. Warm compresses are often recommended as well to help alleviate any pain in your sinuses or nasal cavities. Saline nose drops may also be helpful, but should never be used for longer than the time indicated in your dosing instructions. Michigan ENT and Allergy Specialists sometimes recommend oral steroids and/or oral antibiotics as well.
Additional treatment options for Sinusitis
Key to success in treating your sinusitis is determining exactly what triggers an onset of sinusitis so that the proper steps can be taken to reduce both the frequency and the intensity of your attacks. To address your unique symptoms, such as congestion, we may prescribe one or more of the following medications, which can be by prescription or over-the-counter:
- Oral decongestants
- Oral steroids
- Nasal spray
Will I have to make lifestyle changes?
Michigan ENT and Allergy Specialists is a strong proponent of improving your overall health, and he recommends that his patients not smoke. If you do smoke, however, you will need to refrain from smoking during the time you are being treated for your sinus issues. While a special diet isn’t necessary, it is very beneficial if you can increase your fluid intake during the course of your treatment. Increasing your fluid intake helps to thin out your mucus secretions, in turn helping your body eliminate unwanted metabolic wastes lingering in your system.
Is sinus surgery necessary?
To keep your sinus walls moist, your body makes mucus to lubricate the area, and millions of cilia, or small hair-like structures, work together to move mucus toward the opening of each sinus cavity. When the opening of your sinus cavity is made narrower due to allergies or from other causes, the result is that this constriction inhibits the proper flow of mucus, causing a blockage and sometimes resulting in sinusitis. Antihistamines can be particularly effective in alleviating these allergic reaction symptoms, and often they can help to reopen your sinus passages, but for those situations where medications are not adequate to the task of providing long-term relief, surgery may be necessary, particularly if there is a structural blockage such as nasal polyps.
With ENT and Allergy Specialists, this endoscopic surgery can be conducted under either a local or general anesthesia, and you should be completely recovered within four to six weeks. You should, however, be able to return to your normal routine activities within a week.
In certain cases, a turbinectomy may be required so that swelling in your nasal passages can be reduced. This is an outpatient procedure, which can be done using an anesthesia very much like those used by dentists.
Alternatively, a balloon sinuplasty, which is also done as an outpatient procedure, can open inflamed sinuses, enabling you to breathe easy once again. The procedure is much like a balloon angioplasty.
What happens if Sinusitis is not treated?
It’s important to treat sinusitis, not only so that you can improve your quality of life, but also because, while rare, it is possible for sinusitis to be the cause of more serious illnesses, including meningitis, bone infection, or brain abscesses linked to untreated sinusitis.