How To Treat Sinusitis Infection & What Causes Sinus Pain

Asian women in satin robes feeling unwell and sinus against gray background.
Contributed by: Priyaish Srivastava

 

What is the sinus problem?

Sinuses are little air sacs that exist in the area between the forehead (frontal sinuses), nose (ethmoid and sphenoid sinuses), cheekbones (maxillary sinuses), and eyes. Sinuses generate mucus (a thin and flowing liquid), which drains from the nose and protects the body from pathogens that try to enter via air. 

Mucus can irregularly clog the nostrils, giving rise to breathing complications and causing sinus pain. This can arise as a result of excessive mucus caused by a cold, allergies, or any other bacterial contamination. When the sinus gets infected, the nasal tube becomes inflamed or swollen. Sinusitis is the inflammation that results from this.

 

Understanding sinusitis infection

There are two major types of sinusitis disease:

 

  • Acute Sinusitis infection: Acute sinusitis is a disease that develops when a patient is infected with a virus that causes a common cold. Symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose, as well as face pain, indicate a sickness that can last up to two weeks, depending on the severity of the ailment. It can potentially extend up to four weeks in rare situations.

 

  • Chronic sinusitis infection: Chronic sinusitis is a condition of bacterial contamination that begins nasal clogging, drainage, face discomfort, and a reduced sense of smell. The ailments, which can continue for up to several weeks, might occur due to any or all of the given factors.

 

Sinusitis can also be subacute or recurrent acute.

 

  • Subacute sinusitis: Under the condition of subacute sinusitis, the patient may experience bacterial and seasonal allergies. The symptoms last from four to twelve weeks.

 

  • Recurrent acute sinusitis: This condition develops when the sinusitis is repetitive. The manifestations may occur back several times in a year but remain no longer than two weeks.

 

Who are at risk of developing sinusitis problem?

Anyone with allergies, asthma, structural obstructions in the nose or sinuses, and weakened immune systems are more vulnerable and have a greater risk of developing sinusitis problems. But the symptoms can also develop because of the following factors:

 

  • If the patient has a roughly displaced wall between the left and right nostrils
  • A nasal bone growth
  • Swelling inside the nose
  • If the patient has a history of allergies
  • Weak immune system
  • A habit of smoking
  • Increased mucus build up in the lungs
  • Dental infection
  • Blocked drainage ducts
  • Pacifiers
  • Coughs that last longer than two days

 

Symptoms of sinusitis

The common sinus symptoms are similar to that of the common cold. However, it is suggested to visit a doctor upon noticing the following:

 

  • Reduced sense of smell
  • Fever above 102 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Cough & stuffy or runny nose (nasal discharge of thick and yellow mucus)
  • Tiredness
  • Sinus headache
  • A bad breath
  • Facial pressure (around nose, head, and eyes)
  • Pain in teeth or ears
  • Neck stiffness
  • Sore throat

 

How is sinusitis treated?

In most cases, sinusitis can be treated with antibiotics. It entails a 3 to14 day medical course, depending on the severity of the patient’s ailment and the doctor’s instructions.

If the patient does not follow the prescription and quits taking the medications before the course is completed, sinusitis may grow, resulting in further health concerns, including aggravated symptoms and significant discomfort. However, if sinusitis is not treated, it can progress and restrict sinus drainage channels.

A tiny piece of bone, mucous membranes, nasal polyps, bloated or injured tissue, and tumors or growths constricting the nasal tube can all cause a blockage. It’s possible that surgery will be necessary to clear the obstruction.

 

Types of sinusitis surgery

The following are the two main types of surgery performed to heal sinusitis:

 

  • Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS): A FESS is performed with the use of an endoscope. It’s a tiny tube with a camera and light that’s the size of a button. The doctor inserts the equipment up into the sinus through the nostril and then uses surgical instruments to remove the tissues or any other blockage-causing elements through the endoscope. A similar procedure is conducted using a CT scan that is known as Image-guided surgery.

 

  • Caldwell-Luc operation: It is a less common surgical technique in which the doctor creates an incision in the upper jaw above the second molar teeth to reach the sinus cavity and remove the tissues and other substances obstructing the mucus flow. The operation is performed under either local or general anesthesia.

 

Recovery after sinusitis surgery

The nostrils are filled after sinus surgery to reduce nasal bleeding. Depending on the type of operation, the doctor determines how to pack the nostrils.

The packing may disintegrate on its own, or it may be necessary to see a doctor to have it removed. The length of recovery is determined by factors such as the type of surgery done and the patient’s age. Sinus surgery, on the other hand, causes relatively little discomfort, and most patients are able to return home the same day.

Some of the common experiences after the surgery are:

 

  • Fatigue 
  • Mild discomfort
  • Small amounts of bleeding
  • Nasal congestion

 

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