Sinusitis occurs in two types. These include acute and chronic sinusitis.
There are four pairs of sinuses in the head that assist the control of temperature and humidity of the air reaching the lungs.
Types sinus infection
Sinus infection occurs in two types:
- Acute – can cause severe symptoms that are usually short-lived.
- Chronic – sinusitis is sinusitis that continues for many weeks.
What causes sinusitis?
The pain usually occurs as a result of blockage of the sinus opening. Blockages can be because of infections, irritants, allergies or a structural abnormality.
Most adults will get colds and upper respiratory tract infections up to three times a year. Children get them more frequently. Both viral and bacterial infections cause swelling of the tissues inside the nose and thickening of the normal mucus. This slows down or even stops proper sinus drainage and infection in the sinus may ensue.
Air pollution, smoke and chemical irritants, for example some sprays containing pesticides, disinfectants and household detergents, may cause swelling and blockage of the lining of the nose causing a narrowing of the drainage opening from the sinuses. This can once again lead to impairment of sinus drainage and consequent infection.
Allergies can cause inflammation inside the nose. Common symptoms of an allergic reaction include nasal stuffiness, runny nose, sneezing and itchy watery eyes.
Allergies are responsible for asthma in some patients and may also cause nasal stuffiness making the asthma more difficult to control.
Occasionally structural problems within the nasal cavity can cause a narrowing. Some of these can as a result of trauma while others may develop during the growth period. Occasionally the structural narrowing can be so severe that mucus builds up behind these areas of blockage giving rise to sinus infection.
Diagnosis and treatment of sinusitis
Acute sinusitis is usually treated with antibiotics and medication to reduce the swelling of the nasal lining e.g. decongestants. Chronic sinusitis may need long term treatment.
Occasionally symptoms will persist despite ongoing use of medicines in which case surgery may be necessary. The diagnosis involve the use of a nasal endoscope which the doctor can use to examine the nasal lining and the sinus openings.
If medical treatments do not work, we will be consider surgery.
Most sinus operations are performed without operating outside the nose. Most surgeons will ask for a scan of the sinuses to assist with the planning of the operation.
You may change your mind about the operation at any time, and signing a consent form does not mean that you have to have the operation.