Chronic sinusitis, also known as chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), is a long-term inflammation of the sinuses, which are the air-filled cavities around the nasal passages. In chronic sinusitis, the sinus lining becomes swollen and inflamed for an extended period, typically lasting for at least 12 weeks, despite medical treatment.
Studies show chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) affects approximately 12% of the US population. Let's learn more about the condition and chronic sinusitis treatment.
What Are the 4 Main Symptoms of Sinusitis?
Sinusitis, whether acute or chronic, can present with various symptoms. The four main symptoms associated with sinusitis are:
1. Nasal Congestion
Inflammation of the sinus lining can lead to nasal congestion, resulting in a blocked or stuffy nose.
2. Facial Pain or Pressure
Inflamed sinuses can cause pressure to build up in the facial area, leading to pain or discomfort.
3. Nasal Discharge
This discharge can be anterior (draining from the front of the nose) or posterior (draining down the back of the throat). It is caused by inflammation and increased mucus production in the sinuses.
4. Decreased or Loss of Smell (Anosmia)
The swelling and inflammation of the nasal passages cause it. Sinuses can affect the olfactory nerves, reducing the sense of smell.
What Is the Cause of Chronic Sinusitis?
Chronic sinusitis can have various underlying causes. Some of them are:
- Tooth infection
- Polyps in the nose
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
- Aspirin Exacerbated Respiratory Disease (AERD)
- A weak immune system which makes a person more susceptible to the condition
- Conditions that block the airways, like asthma, allergies, or cystic fibrosis
How Do Doctors Diagnose Chronic Sinusitis?
A medical professional may perform an examination and inquire about symptoms. Exam techniques may involve checking inside the nose and feeling for any soreness in the face or nose.
Additional methods to identify persistent sinusitis include:
- Imaging Tests: Common imaging modalities include a CT scan that provides detailed images of the sinuses and helps identify structural abnormalities, polyps, or signs of infection.
- Nasal Endoscopy: A nasal endoscopy involves using a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera (endoscope) to examine the nasal passages and sinuses. It can help visualize any abnormalities, such as polyps or inflammation.
- Nasal and Sinus Samples: Chronic sinusitis is rarely diagnosed with lab testing. However, tissue samples taken from the sinuses or nose may help determine the cause if the illness worsens or does not improve with treatment.
- Allergy Testing: If allergies are suspected as a contributing factor, allergy testing may be recommended. It can include skin tests or blood tests to identify specific allergens.
Most Effective Treatment for Chronic Sinusitis
Treatments may vary depending on the patient's situation. Here are the most common treatment options for chronic sinusitis:
- Saline Nasal Rinses: Use a neti pot or specialized squeeze bottle (NeilMed Sinus Rinse, among others). Nasal lavage is a home treatment that helps unclog sinuses. There are also saline nasal sprays available.
- Nasal Corticosteroids: These sprays for the nose reduce and manage edema. Examples include mometasone, beclomethasone, budesonide, and fluticasone.
- Nasal Decongestants: Short-term use of decongestant nasal sprays or oral decongestants may help relieve nasal congestion. Prolonged use of nasal decongestant sprays is generally not recommended due to the risk of rebound congestion.
- Aspirin Desensitization Treatment: This is for patients with an aspirin response that causes sinusitis and nasal polyps. The patients are given increasing dosages of aspirin under medical supervision to improve their ability to take it.
- Surgical Intervention: In cases where medications and other treatments are ineffective, Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) may be recommended. This minimally invasive surgical procedure improves sinus drainage and removes obstructions such as polyps or damaged tissue.
Individuals experiencing symptoms of chronic sinusitis should seek medical evaluation for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate management. Individuals with this condition must work closely with a healthcare professional, often an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist, to determine the most appropriate treatment plan based on their specific condition. Treatment should be individualized, considering the underlying causes, severity of symptoms, and the patient's overall health.
Why Choose StatMD Urgent Care for Chronic Sinusitis?
At StatMD Urgent Care, you will receive immediate care for your condition. We are up to date with all the recent treatment plans, and our doctors are highly trained to provide you with the best treatment. Our urgent care clinic also has the latest facilities to get the best care you deserve.