Recurrent Sinusitis Can Make Your Life Miserable
But Treatment from a Sinus Doctor Can Help
Sinusitis Is More than a Stuffy Nose
A stuffed-up nose is annoying. Sinusitis is debilitating—enough to affect your quality of life, and maybe the rest of your health as well. Sometimes referred to as rhinosinusitis or simply a sinus infection, sinusitis occurs when your sinuses become inflamed and swollen, and have difficulty draining mucus. The resulting build-up reduces your sinus drainage pathways even further and leads to pressure buildup and secondary infections. Sinusitis is a common disease that affects more than 31 million Americans, and can be serious.
According to recent studies, people who have sinusitis report a lower quality of life, partly due to the sleep deprivation that often occurs. Research also suggest that sinusitis sufferers are also more likely to have sleep apnea (another serious condition), and that chronic sinusitis is linked with alteration in brain activity, which may explain the depression and poor cognitive function many people experience.
Acute vs. Chronic Sinusitis
All types of sinusitis result in inflamed sinuses, but may be caused by a virus, a bacterial infection, allergies, or even fungus. There are two basic types of non-allergic sinusitis:
Acute sinusitis: Most often caused by a virus, acute sinusitis typically goes away on its own within seven days. It’s uncomfortable, and you may want medication to manage symptoms, but bacterial sinusitis (a smaller percentage of cases) requires antibiotic treatment. In some cases, what starts out as viral sinusitis can progress to bacterial sinusitis.
Chronic and recurrent sinusitis: If your sinus infection last more than 12 weeks, or occurs more than 4 times a year, it’s considered chronic or recurring. This type of sinusitis does not typically clear without medical intervention, partly because repeated inflammation thickens your sinus tissues, which need to be addressed with medication or other treatment.
What Type of Sinusitis Do You Have?
A sinus doctor (ENT) will certainly provide the best answer to that question, but you may be able to make an educated guess based on your symptoms.
If you have some of the following symptoms:
- a runny nose
- nasal congestion
- a sore throat
- clear or colored nasal discharge
- facial pain or headache
You most likely have acute sinusitis and will probably be over it within seven days.
Note: Colds can cause similar symptoms, but usually do not trigger facial pain. Cold symptoms usually peak at 3-5 days and then get better, whereas sinusitis symptoms last longer.
If you have:
- Clear runny nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- post-nasal drip
You most likely have allergic rhinitis and can treat it with allergy medication.
If you have:
- Mucus that is thick and green or yellow
- Facial pain and sinus pressure
You may have bacterial sinusitis and should see a sinus doctor.
If you have:
- symptoms* similar to bacterial sinusitis that last for months
- constant or regular post-nasal drainage
- difficulty breathing through your nose<
- a cough that get worse at night
- headaches that worsen if you bend down or strain
- nasal discharge that is thick, green, yellow, or tinged with blood
You may have chronic or recurrent sinusitis and should see a sinus doctor.
*Chronic or recurrent sinusitis symptoms may be more subtle than those accompanying acute sinusitis.
Treatment for Sinusitis by a Top ENT
You should see a sinus doctor (ENT) if you suspect you need treatment for bacterial or chronic sinusitis. Dr. Marc Kayem has provided relief to sinusitis sufferers for over 20 years, and he can help you.
For diagnosis, he will review your medical history, perform a physical exam, possibly using a nasal endoscope, and may request a CT scan to examine your sinuses. Once he determines the cause and severity of your sinusitis, he’ll recommend a course of treatment, beginning with the least invasive first.
If medication doesn’t work for your chronic sinusitis, he may recommend an alternative treatment: balloon sinuplasty. This non-invasive treatment can be performed in one office visit, offers nearly painless recovery, and has a success rate of over 90%.
Dr. Kayem can also perform Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) in the small number of cases where balloon sinuplasty is not effective or not covered by insurance. Dr. Kayem is dedicated to giving you the treatment with the least discomfort and the best results.