While many people experience acute sinus infections at some point in their lives, most sinus issues come and go without the need for medical care. However, chronic sinusitis that lasts for several weeks requires a trip to the doctor.
What happens for people with chronic sinusitis is that mucous does not drain the way it should resulting in a myriad of symptoms. There are four sinus cavities: one below each eye in the cheek area near the nose, in between the eyes, in the middle of the head, and one above each eyebrow. When these cavities become inflamed, swollen, or infected, patients can experience the following:
- Stuffy nose
- Pain or swelling in the cheeks, eyes, forehead, jaws, or across the nose
- Thick mucus discharge that tends to be gray or yellowish in color
- Sore throats and coughing caused from the mucous running down the back of the throat
- Bad breath
- Ear pain
- Tooth pain
- Jaw pain
“There can be many causes of chronic sinusitis including a persistent infection, nasal polyps, and other structural issues, so it is important to be seen” explained Dr. Lauren Anderson, Board Certified Otolaryngologist with NRMC Ear, Nose & Throat Associates. “After examining patients and listening to their history with sinus issues, and if needed getting CT of the sinuses or other tests, we can offer treatment options for chronic sinusitis and help people get well.
Some patients are candidates for Balloon Sinuplasty which is a minimally invasive procedure for the treatment of sinusitis. Using endoscopy, Dr. Anderson places a small catheter into the blocked sinuses and then inflates it which helps reposition the structures in the sinus cavities. Once opened, the sinus drains and functions properly. The entire procedure is done through the nostrils, often eliminating the need for bone or tissue removal or surgery.
“Most patients see results in a very short period of time,” Dr. Anderson noted. “Being able to breathe through their noses is a great outcome. What matters most is that we want to get the sinuses healthy again. My goal is to correct the drainage issues which contribute to chronic infections and inflammation.”
Dr. Anderson also helps patients with allergy issues which can contribute to bouts of acute sinusitis and other respiratory issues. The most common symptoms include ongoing sneezing, coughs, earaches, and watery eyes. “We treat a lot of people for allergic rhinitis. Commonly called hay fever, this issue is common especially in the fall and spring months. Grasses, pollens, trees and even flowers can trigger an allergic response, so we help patients understand their allergies and try to help them get some relief,” Dr. Anderson explained.
For more information, call 318.214.5770