Chronic sinusitis is a common condition wherein the area around nasal passages, or sinuses, becomes swollen. This can last for eight weeks or more, despite over-the-counter and other usual treatment attempts. Chronic sinusitis and acute sinusitis have similar signs and symptoms; however, acute sinusitis is a temporary infection and is often associated with a cold.
You must have at least two of the following signs and symptoms for a diagnosis of chronic sinusitis to be made:
- Drainage of a thick, yellow or greenish discharge from the nose or down the back of the throat
- Nasal obstruction or congestion, causing difficulty breathing through your nose
- Pain, tenderness and swelling around your eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead
- Reduced sense of smell and taste
Other symptoms might include ear pain, sore throat, cough, aching in the jaw and teeth, fatigue, and nausea. Chronic sinusitis, specifically, lasts longer and causes more fatigue. The goal of treating chronic sinusitis is to reduce sinus inflammation, keep nasal passages draining, eliminate the underlying cause, and reduce the number of future flare-ups. In chronic cases, underlying causes might include:
- Nasal polyps
- Allergies & allergic reactions
- Deviated nasal septum
- Facial trauma resulting in fracture or broken bone
- Other medical conditions such as cystic fibrosis, gastroesophageal reflux, or HIV.
Your physician will do a thorough inspection of your sinuses for diagnosis, and may also check your eyes, ears, and throat. To help determine the underlying cause, you may also undergo the following tests:
- Nasal endoscopy, in which a thin, flexible tube with a fiber-optic light is inserted through your nose.
- Imaging studies, in which a CT Scan or MRI can show details images of your sinuses.
- Nasal/sinus cultures, though generally unnecessary, which might help pinpoint a bacterial or fungal cause.
- Allergy tests, recommended if your doctor suspects the condition may be brought on by allergies.
For less severe sinusitis, your doctor may recommend remedies such as saline irrigation, nasal sprays to prevent inflammation, decongestant, or corticosteroids used to relieve inflammation. In the case of a bacterial infection, antibiotics may be prescribed.
However, in some cases, chronic problems persist despite treatment efforts. If you have had several instances of acute sinusitis, have symptoms that last for more than a week, or have symptoms that persist after seeing a doctor, the Connecticut Sinus Center can help you find permanent relief. We specialize in Balloon Sinus Dilation, a non-invasive procedure that helps reshape your nasal passages for permanent relief. Come by for a visit and learn about the state-of-the-art options we have in store for you — some of which you won’t find anywhere else, from CT to DC.