What Are Sinuses?
Every year more than 30 million Americans suffer from headaches, facial pressure and congestion due to our sinuses. And when this occurs, it can put a damper on our daily tasks. Our sinuses are a connected system of hollow cavities in the skull and include the:
- Maxillary sinuses
- Frontal sinuses
- Ethmoid sinuses
- Sphenoid sinuses
Inside the sinuses are ridges called turbinates, which work to humidify and filter the air we breathe. While our sinuses function as one of our main senses, they can also cause severe complications for us. From allergies to sinusitis, our sinuses can help us breathe and smell, but they can also cause us more problems than we would like.
Some sinus conditions that you might experience include acute sinusitis, chronic sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, deviated septum and nasal polyps. When any of these conditions occur, it is important to visit your ENT doctor for further diagnosis and treatment planning.
Finding Sinus Relief
If chronic sinus complications are troubling you, you are not alone. A sinus problem typically beings with a viral head cold, in which congestion in your nose blocks the drainage of your sinuses that can lead to acute sinusitis. Both your nose and your sinuses are lined by moisturizing mucus membranes, so when mucus can’t get out of the sinuses, bacteria begin to grow and that causes sinus infections. And when you can’t breathe, visiting our office for sinus relief is vital—whether you receive medication or sinus surgery.
We will work with each patient for sinus relief so that he or she can continue with their daily activities without complications. After all, if you can’t breathe properly it can take a toll on your day.
Let’s take a look at sinus infections:
Acute bacterial sinusitis is an infection of the sinus cavities that is caused by bacteria and is usually preceded by a cold, allergy attack, or irritation by environmental pollutants. Unlike a cold, however, bacterial sinusitis requires a proper diagnosis from our office, and treatment with an antibiotic to cure the infection and prevent future complications.
Mucus normally collects in the sinuses and drains into the nasal passages, but when you have a cold or an allergy attack; your sinuses become inflamed and are unable to drain. Without drainage, this can lead to congestion and infection. Your ENT will diagnose acute sinusitis if you have up to 4 weeks of purulent nasal drainage accompanied by nasal obstruction, facial pain-pressure-fullness, or both. The sinus infection is likely bacterial if it persists for 10 days or longer, or if the symptoms worsen after an initial improvement.
Acute sinusitis becomes chronic when you have frequent sinusitis, or the infection lasts more than three months. Symptoms of chronic sinusitis may be less severe than those of acute, but untreated chronic sinusitis can cause damage to the sinuses and cheekbones that sometimes can require surgery to repair. Antibiotic therapy for bacterial sinusitis may be an appropriate treatment for your sinusitis.
If your ENT thinks that you have chronic sinusitis, intensive antibiotic therapy may be prescribed. However, if medical therapy fails, in-office sinus surgery under local anesthesia may be needed to eliminate physical obstructions that may contribute to sinusitis.
From acute sinusitis to chronic sinusitis, facial pain and allergies, it is important to visit your ENT doctor for further diagnosis and treatment. Take the next step toward sinus relief visiting your ENT doctor immediately.
Want to learn more about sinues from Richard Nass, MD?
Call our Manhattan, NY office at (212) 734-4515 for more information