Chronic Sinusitis & Chronic Sinus Infection Symptoms
What is chronic sinusitis?
When the cavities around the nasal passages become swollen and are not treatable within around 12 weeks, it is known as chronic sinusitis or a chronic sinus infection. Chronic sinusitis is a common condition that stems from acute sinusitis. The condition inhibits the nasal passages from draining and causes a buildup of mucus in the nasal cavities.
What causes chronic sinusitis?
Chronic sinusitis is often caused by a deviated septum, or nasal polyps. Other conditions that can lead to chronic sinusitis include:
- Immune system diseases
- Respiratory tract infections (common cold)
- Other infections
What are some chronic sinusitis symptoms?
The symptoms of chronic sinusitis are the same as those for acute sinusitis, but last for about 12 weeks or more, without improvement. Symptoms that may indicate a chronic sinus infection include any of the following that last for a long period of time:
- Nasal obstruction
- Chronic sinus congestion
- Postnasal drainage
- Discharge that is thick, yellow or green
- Difficulty breathing
- Pain or tenderness around eyes, cheeks, nose, or head
- Pressure when bending over
- Ear pain or pressure
- Coughing, especially at night
- Difficulty smelling
- Aching jaw
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 a specialist with New York ENT as soon as possible. Conditions can worsen and become more serious over time. If you are suffering from any of the following conditions, see a doctor immediately:
- High fever
- Intense headache
- Dizziness or confusion
- Stiffness in back or neck
- Swelling or redness around eyes or above cheeks
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:
- Deviated septum
- Nasal polyps
- Immune system disorder
- Smoking / second hand smoke
- Regular inhalation of pollutants
How is chronic sinusitis diagnosed?
Doctors with New York ENT diagnose chronic sinusitis using the following methods:
- Physical exam using otoscope (tool used to view nasal passage) and feeling for tenderness in sinus area
- Nasal culture testing to determine cause of infection, such as bacteria
- Allergy test to eliminate or pinpoint allergies as the root of chronic sinusitis
How is chronic sinusitis treated?
To treat the underlying condition causing chronic sinusitis, a combination of the below treatments is used.
Treatment for Symptoms
- Decongestants help dry out the nasal cavity, but should only be used for a few days
- Saline spray may be used several times a day to rinse out the nasal cavity
- Corticosteroid spray helps prevent and treat nasal inflammation
- Pain relievers relieve tension and pressure pain associated with acute sinusitis
Treatments for Underlying Conditions
- Allergy treatment is sometimes needed when the sinusitis is being caused by an underlying allergy condition
- Antibiotics may be necessary when a bacterial infection is the underlying cause of the sinusitis
- Surgery might be needed if a patient does not respond to medications or other treatments
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. Board certified physicians with New York ENT have extensive experience diagnosing and treating a wide variety of nasal conditions. Fill out the form on this page or call our office at 212-873-6036 to schedule an appointment today.