How Can You Tell The Difference Between Chronic Sinusitis And Other Issues Like Migraine Headaches
You probably cant tell the difference between all of these things. So, in cases where you have a constant headache, or facial pain, or tooth pain, you should call your healthcare provider to get a diagnosis. This is especially true if you have tried different therapies and have not been able to find relief. Your primary healthcare provider might even find it difficult to diagnose you properly and might suggest you see a specialist. This would be an otolaryngologist, commonly called an ear, nose and throat doctor.
Types Of Chronic Sinusitis
There are four types of chronic sinusitis: allergic, nonallergic, with nasal polyps, and without nasal polyps. In order to determine which type is causing your symptoms and to recommend the most appropriate treatment, your doctor performs a physical exam and asks you about your medical history, including the frequency and severity of your symptoms. He or she then closely examines your nasal passages and sinus cavities to determine if there are signs of obstruction, inflammation, infection, or polyps.
Chronic Sinus Headache Symptoms
The symptoms of different kinds of headaches may overlap a lot, but the causes can be very different. If you’ve been having frequent pain in your head and face, you may be surprised to learn that the issue may be your sinuses. Figuring out the source of your pain can help you find lasting relief from your sinus headache.
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Fatigue Depression And Chronic Sinusitis
Many individuals with sinusitis will stress to you chronic sinusitis is no minor thing at all. It’s long-term symptoms can lead to fatigue with possible depression or can worsen depression in a few ways:
As weeks of symptoms continue to drag on, the discomfort can really take a toll. If you already struggle with depression, the added stress the symptoms bring on can make it worse.
Sleep issues are common in individuals with chronic sinusitis and not obtaining quality sleep could hurt your mood even more.
Many individuals with this condition have allergies and studies show a possible link between allergies and depression, probably due to the inflammation-promoting immune substances an allergy attack releases.
Once you feel depressed, you may find life to be bleeker and more difficult to manage, including your sinus symptoms. Research has shown depression can enhance sinus-related issues in various ways:
When you’re experiencing both full-blown depression and chronic sinusitis, they can fuel one another and make your symptoms worse. Therefore, treating just one of these conditions might not provide you with total relief. You might have to obtain a professional diagnosis and receive treatment for both of these conditions to feel your best.
How Is Chronic Sinusitis Different From Acute Sinusitis
Acute sinusitis comes on suddenly and is easier to recognize than chronic sinusitis. Symptoms include pain in the face, thick or discolored mucus, and usually a fever. Chronic sinusitis, on the other hand, comes on very slowly and insidiously. Your immune system has a chance to keep things at bay, so symptoms can be much more difficult to recognize and diagnose.
The type and severity of symptoms also vary widely for chronic sinus issues. For instance, you may have a headache and some mild nasal congestion as your only symptoms of chronic sinusitis, while another person may have a chronic cough with some hoarseness.
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Is Your Sinus Infection Acute Or Chronic
A short-term sinus infection is often referred to as acute sinusitis. Most cases of acute sinusitis last about a week, but this type of short-term sinus infection can last up to four weeks. If you suffer from a sinus infection that lasts longer than 12 weeks despite treatment from your doctor, its considered chronic sinusitis.
Untreated Sinus Infection Risks
Sinus infections often start to improve on their own after about 10 days. If your symptoms last longer without improving or if they worsen, a doctor may need to treat the underlying cause of the infection.
If a sinus infection affects a sinus cavity close to the brain, it can spread to the brain if left untreated. Though rare, an infection can also pass into the eye socket and cause vision changes or blindness. These types of infections are more common in kids.
While uncommon, a serious fungal sinus infection left untreated may pass into the bones.
Make an appointment with a doctor if you have severe symptoms, or if the following symptoms last longer than 10 days or keep coming back:
Because the cause of your sinus infection can affect your treatment options, its important to see a doctor for a diagnosis. The Healthline FindCare tool can provide options in your area if youre looking for a doctor.
If you believe you have chronic or recurring sinusitis, consider asking for a referral to an otolaryngologist, also known as an ear, nose, and throat specialist. You may need imaging and other tests to determine the cause of your symptoms.
An ENT specialist can take a culture of nose drainage to better understand the cause of an infection. The ENT specialist can also examine the sinuses more closely and look for any problem in the structure of the nasal passages that could lead to chronic sinus problems.
Conditions causing your chronic infections may include:
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Chronic Sinusitis Has Impacts Beyond A Runny Nose
The onset of symptoms of sinusitis are all too familiar to sufferers: postnasal drip, nasal mucous, congestion and loss of smell and taste. But for some individuals, these are not short-term bouts of a troublesome condition, nor are they confined to the nose. Patients with chronic sinusitis experience symptoms that are more systemic, with effects that are more profound.
In these patients, we tend to see depression, loss of productivity, problems concentrating and sleeping, and the sense that youre constantly living in a brain fog, says Jeffrey Suh, MD, a rhinologist in the UCLA Nasal and Sinus Disease Program. Its these intangible effects not just the runny nose that tend to bring patients to us for surgery.
The UCLA Nasal and Sinus Disease Program offers medical and surgical management of complex nasal and sinus problems, including chronic sinusitis, allergic rhinitis and nasal-breathing problems associated with allergic and structural problems of the nose. For patients with chronic sinusitis, the impact of their condition can be far greater than might be appreciated. Research indicates that chronic sinusitis sufferers report lower scores on measures of bodily pain and social functioning than patients with congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and back pain, for example, Dr. Suh notes.
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.
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Chronic Sinusitis Treatment In Denver Co
Chronic sinus problems can impact everything from your breathing to your sleep to your overall quality of life. The expert doctors at Advanced ENT have been successfully treating chronic sinusitis for years. Some of the possible treatments include allergy drops to reduce swelling, medication and sinus rinse therapies, and in-office procedures including balloon sinuplasty.
The Wrong Kind Of Biofilm
Another important aspect of the microbiome that should be strong and healthy is the biofilm. It is a thin and slimy film of bacteria that adheres to the gut and sinuses. It is important to note biofilms are not bad they are just a way bacteria cultivate. It is the content within the biofilm itself that determines if it is probiotic or pathogenic . The goal of functional medicine is to promote a healthy biofilm through diet, lifestyle changes, and holistic medicines. A few essential tools to repair biofilm are taking probiotics and prebiotics as they develop probiotic balance and taking digestive enzymes as they break down the biofilm.
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How Do You Get Chronic Sinusitis
Chronic sinusitis means that a sinusitis becomes persistent and lasts for longer than 12 weeks. Chronic sinusitis is uncommon. Most cases of chronic sinusitis develop following an acute sinusitis infection. Most cases of acute sinusitis go away within 2-3 weeks, often much sooner. In some cases the symptoms do not go and become persistent . The following are causes of acute sinusitis that may progress into a chronic sinusitis:
- Cold or flu-like illnesses – in most cases, acute sinusitis develops from a cold or flu-like illness. Colds and flu are caused by germs called viruses which may spread to the sinuses. The infection may remain viral before clearing, causing a viral sinus infection. In a small number of cases, germs called bacteria add on to an infection that started with a virus. This can cause a bacterial sinus infection which can make the infection worse, can last longer and may cause more damage or changes to the lining of the sinus.
- Dental infections – in some cases, infection spreads to a cheekbone sinus from an infected tooth.
- Other risk factors for sinus infection – in a few people, one or more factors are present that may cause their sinuses to be more prone to infection. Acute sinusitis may be more likely to progress into chronic sinusitis as there is an underlying problem. Risk factors for sinus infection are dealt with in detail in our separate leaflet called Acute Sinusitis.
When To Contact A Medical Professional
- Your symptoms last longer than 10 to 14 days or you have a cold that gets worse after 7 days.
- You have a severe headache that is not relieved by over-the-counter pain medicine.
- You have a fever.
- You still have symptoms after taking all of your antibiotics properly.
- You have any changes in your vision during a sinus infection.
A green or yellow discharge does not mean that you definitely have a sinus infection or need antibiotics.
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How To Treat Chronic Sinusitis
There are a number of treatment options that can be used to get rid of chronic sinus inflammation. Some of the most common ones include:
- Nasal irrigation: Irrigation with a saline solution can help minimize nasal drainage and rinse away irritants that are contributing to chronic inflammation.
- Nasal corticosteroid sprays: These sprays contain steroids, which help reduce and prevent inflammation — some doctors recommend combining these with nasal irrigation.
- Oral or injected corticosteroids: These medications can be used to relieve severe inflammation, especially in people whose sinusitis is caused by nasal polyps.
- Aspirin desensitization treatment: If you’re sensitive to aspirin but need to take it, your doctor may recommend this type of treatment to increase your tolerance and minimize the symptoms of sinusitis.
- Antibiotics: If your sinusitis is caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics can help eliminate the infection and get rid of your symptoms
- Immunotherapy: For people whose sinusitis is caused by allergies, allergy shots can help minimize reactions to known allergens and improve symptoms
Sometimes, doctors will also recommend lifestyle changes to help patients manage the symptoms of chronic inflammation. Some simple lifestyle changes you can make to find relief from your condition include:
How To Maintain Oral Health With Sinusitis
It’s important to continue your routine, even when you’re not feeling well. Twice-daily brushing and once-daily flossing or interdental cleaning with interdental brushes or water flossers are essential to keeping your mouth healthy while you fight off infection. Continue regular visits to your dentist but let them know that you are experiencing chronic sinusitis before you arrive. Besides cleaning your teeth, your dental professional can offer treatments against sinusitis negative side effects.
If you think you might be getting sick, stay on the lookout for sinusitis symptoms, and be aware of how the condition can affect your oral health. If you keep up a good oral care routine, your mouth should start feeling more normal as the sinusitis subsides. Talk to your dental professional for more tips and tricks on keeping your mouth feeling good when the rest of your body might not be.
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What Are The Treatment Options
Sinusitis is treated differently based on the cause. Most cases of acute sinusitis, about 98 percent, are caused by a virus, not bacteria, and should not be treated with antibiotics. Acute viral sinusitis may be treated using pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, steroid nasal sprays, or salt water irrigation in the nose. These treatments are also good options for acute bacterial sinusitis. Most people get better naturally from acute bacterial sinusitis, called watchful waiting, but some patients with acute bacterial sinusitis may get better faster with an antibiotic.
Chronic sinusitis is treated differently than acute sinusitis. Because chronic sinusitis is caused more by inflammation than infection, the treatments for chronic sinusitis aim to control the inflammation. Salt water nasal irrigation and/or nasal steroid sprays are the main treatments for the symptoms of chronic sinusitis. Antibiotics may sometimes be helpful but not always.
Other factors, including allergies, nasal polyps, asthma, and problems with the bodys ability to fight infections, can go along with sinusitis and make it worse unless they are also treated.
X-rays or CT scans of the sinuses are not necessary to diagnose uncomplicated sinusitis if you have the symptoms of sinusitis . If your doctor suspects a complication or if you have repeated episodes or prolonged sinus symptoms, a CT scan of your sinuses may be needed.
Throat Irritation And Cough
As discharge from your sinuses drains down the back of your throat, it can cause irritation, especially over a long period of time. This can lead to a persistent and annoying cough, which can be worse when lying down to sleep or first thing in the morning after getting up from bed.
It can also make sleeping difficult. Sleeping upright or with your head elevated can help reduce the frequency and intensity of your coughing.
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Sore Throat And Cough
The fluid trickling down your throat can cause irritation and produces a cough. When you lie down at night, you’ll experience more flow of fluid down the back of your throat, making your cough worse. Post-nasal drip could also make your voice sound hoarse and possibly cause a sore throat and bad breath.
How You Can Treat Sinusitis Yourself
You can often treat mild sinusitis without seeing a GP by:
- getting plenty of rest
- taking painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
- avoiding allergic triggers and not smoking
- cleaning your nose with a salt water solution to ease congestion
If you have a high temperature or you do not feel well enough to do your normal activities, try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until you feel better.
You do not need to use all of the solution, but make a fresh solution each time you clean your nose.
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Definition Of Chronic Rhinosinusitis
In 1996, the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery multidisciplinary Rhinosinusitis Task Force defined adult rhinosinusitis diagnostic criteria. Major factors included facial pain or pressure, nasal obstruction or blockage, nasal discharge or purulence or discolored postnasal discharge, hyposmia or anosmia, purulence in nasal cavity, and fever. In 2003, the RTFs definition was amended to require confirmatory radiographic or nasal endoscopic or physical examination findings in addition to suggestive history.
Types Of Sinus Infections: Chronic Vs Acute
There are four types of sinus infections. These classifications depend on the length and frequency of the infection:
- Acute sinusitis.This type of sinus infection lasts only for a short time, defined by the American Academy of Otolaryngology as less than 4 weeks. This short-term infection is usually part of a cold or other respiratory illness. It may also be caused by a bacterial infection .
- Subacute sinusitis. A subacute sinus infection lasts between 4 and 12 weeks .
- Recurrent acute sinusitis. An acute sinus infection is considered recurrent if the infection returns four or more times within a year, with each infection lasting 7 days or more.
- Chronic sinusitis.Chronic sinus infections last for more than 12 weeks or continue to recur.
Many sinus infection symptoms are common in both acute and chronic forms. Seeing a doctor is the best way to learn if you have an infection, find the cause, and get treatment.
For cases of acute bacterial sinus infections, these symptoms last at least 10 days without improving, or they worsen within 10 days after seeming to improve. In this case, its important to talk with a doctor, such as a general practitioner or an ear, nose, and throat doctor , to get a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Learn more about the symptoms of a sinus infection below.
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