If you've been diagnosed with chronic sinusitis, you may be wondering what that means for you. What is chronic sinusitis? What causes it? How can you treat or prevent it? Here is a complete guide on chronic sinusitis:
Chronic Sinusitis Overview
Chronic sinusitis occurs when the cavities, called sinuses, around your nasal passages in your face become inflamed for a period of at least two months. With this condition, mucus builds up in your face, causing the symptoms you experience. Here are causes of chronic sinusitis:
- Growths or polyps in the nose
- Genetic factors
- Viral infection
- Dental infection
Chronic sinusitis can cause a variety of symptoms, especially ones associated with pain. The buildup of mucus in the sinuses is responsible for these symptoms:
- Feeling of pressure around the eyes or cheeks
- Pain around the eyes or cheeks, especially when bending over
- Thick yellow or green mucus
- Drainage of mucus down throat
- Reduced smell. If sinusitis is severe, sense of smell may be completely lost
- Bad breath
There are many treatment options for chronic sinusitis that you can discuss with your ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist. Here are some treatments you may consider:
- Saline nasal sprays or neti pots to rinse your nasal passages and reduce inflammation by thinning mucus.
- Steroid nasal sprays that reduce inflammation.
- Antibiotics taken for longer than the standard course for an acute sinus infection.
- Allergy treatments, including allergy shots if the cause of your sinusitis is allergies.
- As a last resort, surgery. Your ent doctor will open the sinuses for maximum mucus drainage.
Prevention and Lifestyle Tips
The key to successfully treating your chronic sinusitis is a combination of treatments prescribed by your ent doctor and self-treatment. Your self-treatment consists of lifestyle changes that treat your symptoms as well as prevention. Here are some tips:
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day to keep your mucus flowing and thin.
- If you're in pain, hold a warm compress or water bottle over your face to reduce swelling.
- Use a humidifier in your bedroom at night to keep your nasal passages moist.
- Take over-the-counter NSAIDS (non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs) like naproxen or ibuprofen to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
- If you're a smoker, quit smoking until your infection goes away. Quit smoking permanently to prevent sinusitis.
- To help drain your sinuses and keep them draining, sleep with your head up using a husband pillow.
You can treat and prevent your chronic sinusitis with the right information. Contact your ENT specialist for more information and to discuss treatment options. A physician like those at Mid America Ear, Nose, & Throat Clinic PC may be able to help.