Sinus problems are a frequent complaint, but typically simple to resolve. This inflammation and swelling of the nasal cavities is often related to allergies, the common cold, or infections, and is usually alleviated with over the counter medication, antibiotics, or time. However, if congestion is persistent, lasts for over 12 weeks, and isn’t resolved with typical measures, it may be chronic sinusitis.
Chronic sinusitis interferes with normal sinus drainage, which causes mucus buildup. In addition to making it difficult to breathe through your nose, chronic sinusitis can also cause:
Facial pain or tenderness
Reduced sense of smell and taste
Aching in upper teeth and jaws
Fatigue or irritability
There are a variety of risk factors that can predispose a person to chronic sinusitis, including:
Breathing airborne particles, like mold spores
Anatomic deformities, like a deviated septum
Allergies or hayfever
Thyroid diseases or diabetes
Overuse of medication
Irritation of the nasal lining
Complications from cystic fibrosis, gastrointestinal reflux, or HIV
Chronic dental infections
In addition to being uncomfortable and cumbersome, chronic sinusitis can precede asthma, and cause chronic fatigue and daytime fogginess. Headaches, bad breath, and toothache are also common complaints of chronic sinusitis.
Any sinus issues should be properly addressed, but chronic sinusitis can be especially problematic and should be evaluated by your doctor. He or she will first examine your nose for anatomic abnormalities, like a deviated septum or the presence of nasal polyps. Typically, with a few questions about your symptoms, he or she will be able to identify and address your chronic sinusitis.
Your doctor may refer you to an ENT (ear, nose, and throat doctor), who will perform additional tests like a scan of your sinuses or a detailed look into your nasal cavity. If all else fails, your ENT may suggest a minimally invasive, endoscopic surgical procedure, but this is rarely necessary as most chronic sinusitis issues are usually resolved with steroids or prolonged courses of antibiotics.
For more information on chronic sinusitis or to schedule a consultation, give us a call at 1-931-455-2005.