Sinusitis can be either acute or chronic, and at West Medical we treat both types. The symptoms of sinusitis can include breathing difficulties, headaches and pain centralized at the eyes and cheeks, frequent nasal discharge, fatigue and fever. Although rare, untreated sinusitis can have serious consequences such as brain abscess, meningitis, bone infection, or death. If left untreated, sinusitis can cause several medical problems, including death.
Acute vs Chronic Sinusitis
Sinusitis has varying degrees, depending on how severe the infection is and how long it lasts. Acute sinusitis refers to a short-term bout of sinus problems, usually lasting no longer than a month. Although symptoms may be similar, acute sinusitis is not the same as a cold or allergy and requires antibiotics to cure a bacterial infection and prevent any future complications from developing. Many people have experienced short-term sinus infections that can clear up after less than a month, while others might develop chronic sinusitis which keeps returning in spite of treatment. Chronic sinusitis lasts up to eight weeks. Also known as chronic rhinosinusitis, chronic sinusitis may also lead to the development of nasal polyps. Although it is difficult to treat, there are ways to manage the disease and treat nasal polyps in order to get you relief. Caused by improper sinus drainage, chronic sinusitis may be tied to a variety of conditions which can impact quality of life. Symptoms include trouble breathing through the nose, frequent nasal discharge, persistent cough, headache, and sinus pain. When symptoms are difficult to control with medication alone, your physician may recommend surgery to correct the problem.
During your consultation, your doctor will discuss your symptoms with you and take a complete medical history. Your doctor will examine your sinuses for tenderness and may tap your teeth to check for inflamed paranasal sinuses. Other diagnostic tests to confirm sinusitis may include blood work, mucus culture, nasal endoscopy, allergy testing, and imaging tests such as X-rays and CT scans. A nasal endoscope is a telescope that is equipped with a light and inserted into your nostrils for the doctor to examine the accessible areas of the sinus drainage pathways. This test does not require anesthesia and you will only feel slight discomfort, if any. A nasal endoscope can also detect nasal polyps or any structural abnormalities that aggravate sinusitis or cause you to have recurrent bouts of sinusitis.
Sinusitis treatment can range from medication to surgery. While each sinusitis patient is different, you may be a candidate for sinus surgery if you have not responded well to antibiotics. There are less invasive procedures that have been clinically proven to be safe, effective and improve your quality of life. At West Medical we are experienced with a wide range of sinusitis treatments, and can educate you about your options.
- Antibiotics are a first-line treatment for bacterial sinusitis. You should take your antibiotics as directed, even if you think the infection is gone. If you have chronic sinusitis, you may not respond to even intensive antibiotic regimens, which may indicate you would be a good candidate for sinus surgery.
- Nasal spray, both prescription and over-the-counter, can relieve nasal congestion when used short-term, by constricting the blood vessels in the nasal lining. However, if you use nasal spray consistently or for longer than three days at a time, its effect will begin to wear off and you will be even more congested than before, known as a rebound effect.
- Decongestants can help effectively treat the symptoms of acute sinusitis. Medications such as Sudafed can be helpful for short-term use, such as four to five days. If used longer, they may also increase congestion symptoms.
- Steam inhalation, and breathing warm, moist air from a humidifier, vaporizer, or from boiling water can help moisturize the sinuses and be soothing.
- Warm compresses can relieve sinus pain.
Some patients do not respond to conservative treatments for sinusitis, and the mucus built up in the sinuses may need to be surgically drained. Surgery can also address any anatomical abnormalities of the sinuses or nasal cavity, such as nasal polyps. Some patients may have a “turbinectomy,” to shrink the swollen turbinates of the nose, which aggravate nasal congestion.
If you believe you are suffering from sinusitis, call us today at (855) 690-0565 to get more information. Our expert team will be happy to answer your questions and talk about treatment options.
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