About one in eight people suffer from a sinus infection every year, sometimes multiple times a year. But how do you know when you have full blown sinusitis? Understanding this health problem is the first step to deciding if you need medical care from an ear nose and throat (ENT) doctor for sinusitis.
What Is Sinusitis?
More than 35 million people a year are affected by sinusitis, which is the medical term for a sinus infection. In short, that means that virus or bacteria have invaded your sinuses and started to multiply. When you have sinusitis, the mucous membranes in your nose and sinuses get inflamed. Because this swelling of the mucous membranes obstructs sinus passageways and disrupts normal mucus drainage, mucus and pressure builds up. This can result in great pain and discomfort in the patient suffering from sinusitis.
The most common symptoms of sinusitis are:
- Drainage of a thick, yellow or greenish discharge from the nose or down the back of the throat
- Nasal obstruction or congestion, better known as a stuffy nose
- Tenderness, pressure, and/or swelling around the eyes, cheeks, nose, and forehead
- Reduced sense of smell and taste
What Is Acute Sinusitis?
Acute sinusitis occurs when these symptoms are present for less than four weeks. Sinus infections are extremely common, especially when you are suffering from a cold or allergies. However, unlike an ear infection, which often requires antibiotics, most sinus infections can be treated with over-the-counter cold medicines. However, in cases of severe sinusitis that don’t go away after a few weeks, a visit to an ENT doctor may be in order.
What Is Chronic Sinusitis?
Chronic sinusitis is diagnosed when sinus infection symptoms persist for over 12 weeks or keep coming back repeatedly. If you suffer from repeated sinus infections, pain that does not go away, or fever, then contact a local ENT doctor for treatment.
If you are suffering from chronic sinusitis, it is important to know that there are a variety of effective treatment options. While you may initially be prescribed medications to treat your chronic sinusitis, if this does not work your ENT specialist may recommend a new treatment known as Balloon Sinuplasty.
Balloon Sinuplasties are available at many ENT offices today. During this procedure, a small balloon is inserted into the sinuses. When the sinuses are blocked, the balloon is inflated to restore normal drainage. Unlike other surgical methods, there is absolutely no cutting of the nasal bone or tissue during the procedure.
If you think you are suffering from sinusitis, please contact an ENT office today for diagnosis and treatment.