What Are Chronic Sinus Infections?
Do you frequently experience congestion, sinus headaches and pain around your nose, eyes and cheeks? You may have a chronic sinus infection. Manhattan and East Hampton, NY, ear, nose and throat specialist Dr. Richard Nass discusses the symptoms of chronic infections and explains how they're treated.
How can I tell if I have a chronic sinus infection?
A chronic sinus infection, also known as chronic sinusitis, occurs if your symptoms last for three months or longer. You may also develop chronic sinusitis after you've had acute sinusitis, a condition that only lasts about two to four weeks. If you have the condition, you may experience several of these symptoms:
- Frequent headaches
- Nasal congestion
- Thick green or yellow discharge
- Post-nasal drip
- Pain, pressure and swelling in your sinuses, eyes, forehead, and cheeks. (Pain and pressure may increase when you bend over.)
- Ear pain
- Reduced sense of smell or taste
- Sore throat
- Bacterial, viral, or fungal infections
Your risk of developing chronic sinusitis may increase if you have:
- Allergies or asthma
- Enlarged turbinates in your nose
- Nasal polyps
- Deviated septum
- Gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD)
- Cystic fibrosis
- Frequent exposure to pollutants or cigarette smoke
How are chronic sinus infections treated?
Although over-the-counter decongestants and sinus medications may be somewhat helpful, they might not provide nearly enough relief if you have chronic sinusitis. When you visit our Manhattan or East Hampton offices, we may recommend one or more prescription medications, such as antibiotics, decongestants or corticosteroids. These medications address the infection, inflammation, and swelling that cause your symptoms.
If medications don't help, or your symptoms are severe, you may benefit from balloon sinuplasty. During this minimally invasive procedure, a deflated balloon is placed into your sinuses via a catheter. Inflating the balloon widens the passages, reducing congestion. The procedure also involves spraying saline solution into the sinuses to remove mucus.
Endoscopic sinus surgery may be needed if you have a deviated septum, nasal polyps or enlarged turbinates. The surgery is performed by inserting a miniature camera and a flexible scope containing tiny surgical instruments into your sinus passages. Because cutting is involved in endoscopic surgery, the recovery period is longer than that for balloon sinuplasty.
If you suffer from chronic sinus infections, a visit to the ear, nose and throat doctor can help. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Nass by calling (212) 734-4515 for the Manhattan, NY, office or (631) 324-4900 for the East Hampton, NY, office.