Your Complete Guide To Chronic Sinusitis

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:

  • Allergies
  • Growths or polyps in the nose
  • Smoking
  • 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
  • Toothache
  • Headache


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.