What Is Chronic Sinus Infection
Chronic sinusitis is a long-standing inflammation of your sinuses that lasts for 12 weeks or longer at a time. Sinusitis is also known as rhinosinusitis . So, we use the two terms interchangeably. When inflamed, nasal passages and sinuses become swollen and blocked. Chronic sinusitis interferes with the normal drainage of the mucus. Too much mucus builds up in your nose and sinuses, making them stuffy.
First Line Of Defense Against Sinusitis: Nasal Irrigation
One of the simplest, cheapest, and most effective ways to prevent and treat sinus problems is nasal irrigation. Using a homemade solution, you can often relieve sinusitis symptoms, reduce reliance on nasal sprays and antibiotics, and improve your quality of life. At least once a day, follow these steps:
What Is The Diagnosis Of Sinusitis
Symptoms of sinusitis lead to its diagnosis.
The doctor takes into account:
runny nose or back throat sinus pain
But sometimes the symptoms are blurry.
In this case, there are tests to validate the diagnosis.
An ENT doctor may perform a rhinoscopy to examine the nasal passages.
Likewise, x-rays may reveal the state of the sinuses.
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Signs You Suffer From Chronic Sinusitis
Common signs of chronic sinusitis include:
Suffering from two or more of these symptoms typically indicates you have chronic sinusitis.
Chronic sinusitis and acute sinusitis are often confused because they share similar signs and symptoms. The main difference is that acute sinusitis is temporary and often associated with a cold. If you suffer from chronic sinusitis, the signs and symptoms listed above could potentially last at least 12 weeks.
Can I Prevent Sinusitis
There is no sure-fire way to prevent sinusitis. But there are some things that might help.
- Donât smoke, and avoid other people’s smoke.
- Wash your hands often, especially during cold and flu season, and try not to touch your face.
- Stay away from things you know youâre allergic to. Talk to your doctor to see if you need prescription medicines, allergy shots, or other forms of immunotherapy.
If your sinus problems keep coming back, ask your doctor about the pros and cons of surgery to clean and drain the sinuses.
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Can Surgery Cure Chronic Sinusitis
Doctors are reluctant to talk about cures because this implies a guarantee that the condition will completely go away and never come back after treatment. Instead, scientific studies concentrate on ‘outcome’measures’. These studies focus particularly on symptoms and whether or not they improve after treatment. In the case of chronic sinusitis, for example, such symptoms would include sense of smell, nasal obstruction and any associated condition such as asthma. In one large study, 8 out of 10 people said their symptoms improved after sinus surgery.
How Is Chronic Sinusitis Diagnosed
Chronic sinusitis is diagnosed when symptoms of a sinus infection have continued for more than 12 weeks. In some cases, your doctor may use an endoscope .
In very few cases, your provider might order a biopsy to see if the infection has spread. Biopsies involve taking tissue or bone samples to example under the microscope.
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What Causes A Sinus Infection
In most cases, acute sinusitis is caused by a bacterial or viral infection, which means it usually develops after youve had a cold or the flu. Its possible for an acute sinus infection to develop into a chronic infection over time. However, most chronic sinus infections are caused by:
- Problems with the physical structure of your sinuses such as nasal polyps, narrow sinuses, or a deviated septum
- Allergies such as hay fever that cause inflammation
Certain health conditions are also known to accompany chronic sinusitis. These include:
- Primary immune deficiency disesase
Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
Functional endoscopic sinus surgery or FESS is another approach your doctor may recommend to treat chronic sinusitis.
An ear, nose, and throat surgeon will use a special tool with a lighted camera on the end to visualize the inside of your nose.
They will then use small instruments to remove excess tissue, nasal polyps, or nasal cysts to widen your sinuses.
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What Is Chronic Sinusitis What Causes It
Chronic sinusitis is defined as inflammation in the sinus area that lasts longer than 12 weeks. The inflammation does not need to be severe to indicate a problem for many, its a constant mild to moderate irritation that gets a little worse or a little better depending on changes in the weather, the persons stress, and their diet. Patients also tend to suffer from worsening congestion when they get a cold, which may lead to an acute sinus infection. Most individuals do not realize that their chronic nasal congestion originates from their gut.
The Mayo Clinic published an article stating that 93% of all cases of CS were mold or fungal related. The researchers studied 210 patients with chronic sinusitis. Using new methods of collecting and testing mucus from the nose, they discovered fungus in 96% of the patients mucus. They identified a total of 40 different kinds of fungi in these patients, with an average of 2.7 kinds per patient.1 The clinic test results echo what I see in practice: chronic sinusitis is a result of yeast in both the sinus cavities and the digestive mucosal membrane. Most individuals have little to no background knowledge of mucosal membranes, so Im going to take a moment to explain the importance of these membranes and outline how they function within the body.
When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider About Chronic Sinusitis
Remember, your health is your business. You do not have to put up with feeling ill for long periods of time. Pay attention to how long you have sinus symptoms because this is something that your care provider will ask you. Keep track of things that you have done to make yourself feel better. If medications are prescribed, make sure you store them and take them as instructed.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/04/2020.
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Ways To Recognize Serious Signs Of Sinus Infections
The length of the infection is an important determinant of the seriousness of the infection.
I usually consider most infections less than 3 weeks to be viral or inflammation related to congestion. At this point, the best treatment is usually medications that decrease the congestion and inflammation. This in turn will alleviate the symptoms and ultimately cure the illness.
When the illness continues beyond 3 weeks, bacterial infection can begin to develop. Though antibiotics can be considered at this point, other treatments may still be the best answer if they have not yet been given a try.
#2: Mucous Color
I will dispel a myth right here and now. Yellowish/greenish mucous does not necessarily mean the infection is bacterial.
Viruses can cause the same color mucous. The reason for the mucous is generally not the actual bacteria or virus, but the bodys immune response to the intruder.
So dont worry just because you see a colored mucous when you blow your nose. This will also improve as the infection abates.
#3: Sinus Pain
Sinus pain can occur anytime throughout a sinus infection. This is normal and means there is inflammation in the sinuses, as we discussed previously.
However, severe pain, redness over the skin, hardened skin over the sinuses, or even a severe headache are not generally normal and can indicate a bacterial infection.
A fever can be caused by both viruses and bacteria. So how do you differentiate between the two?
What Happens If A Sinus Infection Is Left Untreated
For some lucky people, sinus infections may go away if left untreated. Rest and hydration will certainly help with this.
For others, however, sinusitis wont go away until you seek treatment. If this is the case, a sinus infection left untreated may cause further complications .
When sinusitis spreads to areas around the eyes, you may experience redness and swelling, which can reduce vision. The most severe form of sinusitis reaching the eye is called cavernous sinus thrombosis and can actually cause blindness. It is treated by antibiotics and drainage of sinus fluids.
Sinusitis that reaches the brain may cause meningitis and brain abscesses.
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Treatment Options For Chronic Sinusitis
Usually, chronic sinusitis is not caused by a bacterial infection so Antibiotics do not always help in treating this condition. The main aim of treating chronic sinusitis includes reducing sinus inflammation, keeping your nasal passages drain, eliminating the cause of the infection, and reducing the number of sinus flare-ups.
Few treatment options to relieve sinusitis symptoms include:
Although antibiotics are not useful in treating chronic sinusitis if your doctor is unable to find the underlying cause he may prescribe you certain antibiotics, sometimes accompanied by other medications.
Nasal sprays are given to prevent and treat inflammation. These sprays make the mucus secretion thin for easy drainage.
It is a personal hygiene practice to clear out sinuses. Saline sprays and neti pots can be used to clear up the sinuses with saltwater and help clear mucus and relieve irritation as well.
In cases resistant to treatment or medication, the patient may require surgery to treat chronic sinusitis. It can be done with balloon dilation.
Congestion can also lead to sinus infections. Using decongestants can help in opening the sinuses and allowing them to drain the mucus. Therapies such as pseudoephedrine , help in drying up the mucus.
Can Relieve Sinus Inflammation
Can Relieve Sinus Pain
Act As an Antibacterial and Antiviral
How To Solve A Sinus Infection That Wont Go Away
Sinus infection is a common problem that can affect any age group. It represents the fifth most common condition that requires an antibiotic prescription.
Sinuses are four paired air-filled spaces in your skull and face bones surrounding your nose. Their main function is to produce mucus that forms a layer inside the sinuses to humidify inhaled air and keep the interior of your nose moisturized. This mucus layer can trap dust particles, other pollutants, or bad germs and brush them out through your nose. Each sinus drains into your nose through small openings to keep these passages clear of excess mucus and the trapped particles.
However, sometimes, such as when the weather changes and you catch a cold, it can turn into a sinus infection. This causes inflammation of your sinuses, known as sinusitis. Usually, sinusitis should go away in a few days or a week. But sometimes that sinus infection can stick around for a long time.
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Chronic Sinus Infections Get In The Way Of Life
Millions of Americans suffer through painful sinus infections every year. When sinus infections become recurring or chronic they can really impact your way of life. They can make you feel fatigued. They can cause headaches, congestion and facial pain that makes it hard to focus. They make it hard to breathe and can take away all the joys of life such as hanging out with friends or working on hobbies. They prevent all of the benefits of restful sleep by making it nearly impossible to sleep through the night.
When sinus infections are recurring or long lasting they become known as chronic sinusitis. The symptoms are usually that of an acute infection but there are risks of serious infection. Professional treatment is important when it comes to getting rid of chronic sinus infections.
Sinus Infection Home Remedy
Unlike acute sinusitis which can be either viral or bacterial, chronic sinusitis appears to be more fungus-induced.
It, therefore, resembles a fungal infection that escapes all antibiotic treatment.
It can be very beneficial to treat it with nasal irrigations but without using a regular saline solution.
In this case, it is better to use these two ingredients:
Xylitol is a natural alcohol found in most plants and is as sweet as sugar.
Its glycemic index is insignificant and it can be used as a natural sweetener.
But it has other interesting properties like suppressing biofilm formation and blocking the growth of fungi.
It can therefore be beneficial when it goes into the composition of chewing gum because it prevents the proliferation of bacteria.
In the case of nasal irrigation, the addition of pure xylitol is essential for combating fungal infection.
What Is Chronic Sinusitis Important Sinusitis Definitions
Before we get into how to treat chronic sinusitis, its important to understand a little bit more about what exactly chronic sinusitis is.
- Also called a sinus infection, this nasal sinus disease occurs when the nasal sinuses become inflamed and swollen.
- Acute sinusitis: a temporary infection that lasts between two and three weeks and often clears up on its own or with the help of medication.
- Chronic sinusitis: a sinus infection that lasts eight weeks or more and typically requires professional treatment and the use of sinusitis antibiotics.
When To Worry About Your Lingering Sinus Infection
Philip Scolaro, MD
Sinus infections have a way of making time stand still in a bad way. When youre constantly congested, battling headaches, and feeling sinus pressure, even a short duration of sickness can feel like its never going to end.
What if it doesnt? If your lingering sinus infection becomes chronic, it may be time for more aggressive treatment.
Heres what you need to know about sinus infections and when its time to take the next step in treatment.
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When To Seek Medical Care
See a doctor if you have:
- Severe symptoms, such as severe headache or facial pain.
- Symptoms that get worse after initially improving.
- Symptoms lasting more than 10 days without improvement.
- Fever longer than 3-4 days.
You should also seek medical care if you have had multiple sinus infections in the past year.
This list is not all-inclusive. Please see a doctor for any symptom that is severe or concerning.
Other conditions can cause symptoms similar to a sinus infection, including:
- Seasonal allergies
Can You Cure Chronic Sinusitis Treatment Options To Consider
By Jessi Cole, November 20, 2018
Commonly, sinusitis is acute. Acute sinusitis can be triggered by a cold or allergies, and it often goes away on its own. Its less-common relative, chronic sinusitis, can linger for months or longer and has symptoms that include loss of smell, congestion, and a runny nose. Patients who suffer from chronic sinusitis may wonder if there is a cure, and what treatments options are involved. Can it be treated or managed at home? Does it require surgery? Read on to learn more.
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Chronic Sinusitis And Sinus Headaches
Sinusitis happens when the sinuses or cavities around the nasal passages become swollen. The sinuses can become inflamed if you have an infection or because of an allergic reaction. The symptoms usually go away within a couple of weeks, but some people experience longer or recurring sinus infections. If you have chronic sinusitis, you could be dealing with symptoms such as nasal discharge, congestion, and pain or sinus headaches for many months.
How To Treat A Sinus Infection
Sinus infection or sinusitis can occur by various factors. In some cases, the cold-causing virus is responsible, while bacteria cause others. Some air-borne allergens or pollutants can make you have an infection too. Depending on the causes and how long do sinus infections last, the infections are mainly of two types-
- Acute sinus infection: If any virus causes the infection, it usually goes away in 10-14 days. This type is known as Acute sinusitis. But in some cases, bacteria gets developed into congested sinuses. Then it can last five weeks, making it subacute sinusitis.
- Chronic sinus infection: In some cases, its hard to know how to treat a Sinus Infection as a virus or bacteria are not involved in that sinus infection. Any fungus can be involved in those cases. Any structural problem can also develop a sinus infection. These infections last even more than 3 months. They are known as chronic sinusitis.
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Should You Visit A Specialist
If your sinus infection just wont go away or keeps coming back, it may be time to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist. An ENT treats conditions of the ear, nose, throat, head, face, and neck. It may be time to see an ENT if:
- Youve completed several courses of antibiotics without success
- Your doctor suspects nasal polyps or another blockage of the nasal cavity
- You have chronic sinusitis that lasts longer than 12 weeks
Living with a sinus infection is miserable and living with a sinus infection for weeks on end is worse. Contact your doctor or an ENT to get the treatment you need.