Chronic Sinusitis: What it is, What the Symptoms Are, Common Treatments, Potential Cures
One of the most common chronic illnesses in the United States,
chronic sinusitis affects an estimated 33 million people every
year, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Sinusitis occurs when the lining of the sinus cavities (which
are in the facial bones around your nose) become inflamed.
This can prevent mucus from draining out of your sinuses,
allowing viruses, bacteria and fungi to multiply and cause
infection and swelling.
While most sinusitis cases last four weeks or less, chronic
sinusitis can last 12 weeks or more. It can also be identified
by frequent, recurring cases of acute sinusitis.
Chronic sinusitis can usually be identified by a recurring
headache in the front of your head or around your eyes.
The Causes and Symptoms
While acute sinusitis is usually caused by infection with
a virus or single type of bacteria, chronic sinusitis is usually
caused by infection with a mixture of bacteria or allergies.
It can occur at any time but may also follow a respiratory
infection, such as a cold.
Chronic sinusitis can occur more often in people who have:
Abnormalities in the structure of their sinuses or nasal
A deviated septum (which means the wall between the right
and left sides of the nose is dramatically off-center)
Unusually narrow openings where the sinuses drain into
the inner nose
Immune system problems
Over time, chronic sinusitis can actually damage the tissues
of the sinuses. It also causes a number of uncomfortable symptoms:
Facial pain, pressure or tenderness around the eyes,
forehead or cheeks
Difficulty breathing through your nose
Headache in the front of the head or around the eyes
Pain in the teeth or roof of mouth
Runny nose with yellow or yellow-green, thick discharge
If you suspect you may have chronic sinusitis, you should
visit your doctor. He or she may also refer you to an allergist
or an ear, nose and throat specialist. Your doctor may be
able to diagnose chronic sinusitis upon examination, or the
following tools may be used:
Nasal endoscopy: A thin tube is inserted through your
nose to visually inspect the inside of your sinuses.
Imaging: Computerized tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance
imaging (MRI) may be used to view details in your sinuses
that may be difficult to detect with an endoscope.
Conventional treatments for chronic sinusitis include nasal
corticosteroid sprays, antibiotics and even surgery to enlarge
nasal passages or remove polyps. However, there are a number
of steps you can take to prevent chronic sinusitis from flaring
up and help reduce the symptoms naturally.
Natural Methods for Treating and Preventing Chronic Sinusitis
Using a saline nasal wash several times a day can help
to clear your sinuses and make breathing easier.
If you know you are prone to sinusitis, the following precautions
can help prevent a recurrence:
Don't smoke and avoid being exposed to secondhand smoke.
Avoid spending long periods of time outdoors when pollution
and allergens are high.
If you have allergies, use
these 26 simple steps to prevent allergy flare-ups,
which will also reduce your chances of a sinusitis flare-up.
Drink plenty of fluids.
If you have a cold, blow
your nose gently and correctly, using one nostril
at a time.
Avoid traveling by airplane if you have a cold, bout
of sinusitis or allergy flare-up.
Avoid alcohol, which can cause your sinus membranes to
Eat a variety
of foods, like fruits and vegetables, to boost your
immune system, which may help fight off an underlying
infection, and reduce
inflammation in your body.
Meanwhile, if you feel the pain of chronic sinusitis setting
in, these methods can help reduce symptoms:
Rinse your nose with a saline solution several times
Inhale steam from a kettle or pot of boiling water (being
careful not to get burned) or use a humidifier.
Don't bend over with your head down, as this can increase
Apply warm packs to your face.
Get plenty of rest and drink plenty of fluids.
Some People Never Get Tired, and How You Can Join Their Ranks
What it is, and Why it May be the Most Powerful "Tool"
in the Battle Against Diabetes
Clinic: Chronic Sinusitis
Sinusitis in Adults
Plus: Chronic Sinusitis