How Is Sinus Infection Diagnosed
Diagnosis depends on symptoms and requires an examination of the throat, nose and sinuses. Your allergist will look for:
- Discolored nasal discharge
- Bad Breath
If your sinus infection lasts longer than eight weeks, or if standard antibiotic treatment is not working, a sinus CT scan may help your allergist diagnose the problem. Your allergist may examine your nose or sinus openings. The exam uses a long, thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera and a light at one end that is inserted through the nose. It is not painful. Your allergist may give you a light anesthetic nasal spray to make you more comfortable.
Mucus cultures: If your sinus infection is chronic or has not improved after several rounds of antibiotics, a mucus culture may help to determine what is causing the infection. Most mucus samples are taken from the nose. However, it is sometimes necessary to get mucus directly from the sinuses.
Knowing what kind of bacteria is causing the infection can lead to more effective antibiotic therapy. A fungus could also cause your sinus infection. Confirming the presence of fungus is important. Fungal sinus infection needs to be treated with antifungal agents, rather than antibiotics. In addition, some forms of fungal sinus infection allergic fungal sinus infection, for example do not respond to antifungal agents and often require the use of oral steroids.
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.
Accurate Sinus Diagnosis And Treatments Is Essential
The only way to stop recurring sinus infections once and for all is to have an evaluation by a specialist who has the specialized training and experience to accurately diagnose their cause. Once you have an accurate diagnosis, we can discuss the options. The goal is always to provide the patient with all the available options, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each, and help you find the best treatment plan for you.
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Your Sinusitis Keeps Coming Back Because You Dont Have An Accurate Diagnosis
If the infection lasts longer than a couple of weeks or the pain is becoming unbearable, seek medical treatment immediately. Accurate diagnosis is key to treating sinusitis, especially when the infections return over and over again. You can treat allergies all you want, but a polyp, deviated septum, or other anatomical abnormalities in the nasal passages wont disappear without more expert treatment.
A comprehensive examination of the nose and sinus passages by a specialist is necessary to evaluate the correct diagnosis and cause of your symptoms. In some cases, what has been previously diagnosed as a sinus issue has, in fact, been caused by another issue. Identifying the correct diagnosis is the first step to feeling better.
What Is The Sinusitis And Sinus Problem
Sinusitis can be defined as an inflammation of the tissue lines of your sinuses. Inflammation can be caused by infection, chemical exposure, and allergies. Once you are diagnosed with sinusitis you should have an option for the best sinusitis treatment.
Sinuses are 4 paired hollow spaces within your facial bones and are 4 in number. These chambers are connected to the nasal cavity through narrow channels. Sinuses make a thin mucus that drains out into the nose through those narrow channels. This process works as a filtration process, keeping the nose clean and free of bacteria.
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Treatment For Sinusitis From A Gp
If you have sinusitis, a GP may be able to recommend other medicines to help with your symptoms, such as:
- steroid nasal sprays or drops â to reduce the swelling in your sinuses
- antihistamines â if an allergy is causing your symptoms
- antibiotics â if a bacterial infection is causing your symptoms and you’re very unwell or at risk of complications
You might need to take steroid nasal sprays or drops for a few months. They sometimes cause irritation, sore throats or nosebleeds.
A GP may refer you to an ear, nose and throat specialist if, for example, you:
- still have sinusitis after 3 months of treatment
- keep getting sinusitis
- only have symptoms on 1 side of your face
They may also recommend surgery in some cases.
What Tests Diagnose The Cause Of Sinus Infections And Sinusitis
Sinus infection is most often diagnosed based on the history and examination of a doctor. Because plain X-ray studies of the sinuses may be misleading and procedures such as CT and MRI scans, which are much more sensitive in their ability to diagnose a sinus infection, are so expensive and not available in most doctors’ offices, most sinus infections are initially diagnosed and treated based on clinical findings on examination. These physical findings may include
- redness and swelling of the nasal passages,
- purulent drainage from the nasal passages ,
- tenderness to percussion over the cheeks or forehead region of the sinuses, and
- swelling about the eyes and cheeks.
Occasionally, nasal secretions are examined for secreted cells that may help differentiate between infectious and allergic sinusitis. Infectious sinusitis may show specialized cells of infection while allergic sinusitis may show specialized white blood cells of allergy . Physicians prescribe antibiotics if a bacterial infection is suspected. Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections many physicians then treat the symptoms.
In addition, both rigid and flexible endoscopy has been used to obtain diagnostic material from sinuses. These procedures are usually done by an otolaryngologist under topical and local anesthesia. Occasionally, there may be a need to sedate the patient. Some investigators suggest that endoscopy specimens are comparable to those obtained by needle puncture.
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What Decongestants And Nasal Sprays Soothe Or Cure Sinus Infections Or Sinusitis
Taking decongestants and mucolytics orally may be helpful in assisting drainage of sinus infection.
The treatment of chronic forms of sinus infection requires longer courses of medications, such as Augmentin, and may require a sinus drainage procedure. This drainage typically requires a surgical operation to open the blocked sinus under general anesthesia. In general, antihistamines should be avoided unless it is felt that the sinusitis sinus infection is due to allergies, such as pollens, dander, or other environmental causes.
It is likely that the use of a topical nasal steroid spray will help reduce swelling in the allergic individual without the drying that is caused by using antihistamines although both are occasionally used. Oral steroids may be prescribed to reduce acute inflammation and to help with chronic inflammation in cases with or without polyps and in allergic fungal sinusitis.
In many people, allergic sinusitis develops first, and later, bacterial infection occurs. For these individuals, early treatment of allergic sinusitis may prevent the development of secondary bacterial sinusitis.
In rare instances or in natural disasters, fungal infections may develop in debilitated people. Death rates of 50%-85% have been reported for patients with these sinus infections. Treatment relies on early diagnosis followed by immediate surgical debridement, antifungal drugs, , and stabilizing any underlying health problem such as diabetes.
Environmental And Allergic Factors
Environmental factors and/or allergic factors may predispose some individuals to chronic sinusitis. Reduce exposure to dust, molds, cigarette smoke, and other environmental chemical irritants. For patients with confounding nasal allergy, other antiallergy therapies, including either oral or topical antihistamines, cromolyn, topical steroids, and immunotherapy, may reduce recurrences and symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
Smoking cessation likely plays a large role in the success of both medical and surgical treatments because tobacco products act as an irritant to normal nasal mucosa and cilia function.
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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.
Your ENT surgeon will perform the procedure under anesthesia. They may use general anesthesia or conscious sedation .
Fast Facts On Chronic Sinusitis:
- Treatment for chronic sinusitis depends on the underlying cause.
- People with allergies and asthma may be more vulnerable to chronic sinusitis.
- Some home remedies can prevent chronic sinusitis, or prevent it from getting worse.
The sinuses are moist, hollow spaces behind the bones of the face. They usually drain through the nose.
When the sinuses are unable to drain, due to issues such as an infection that blocks the nose, swelling, irritation, or an allergic reaction, then mucus and other fluid, including pus, stays trapped in the sinuses.
This can cause the sinuses to swell and become irritated or infected. This inflammation is called sinusitis.
Acute sinusitis is usually due to the common cold or a mild infection and usually goes away within 10 days. Some people with acute sinusitis develop an infection that requires antibiotics.
Chronic sinusitis usually persists longer than 10 days, but the symptoms are the same. Those include:
- pain and pressure above the eyes, along the sides of the nose, and behind the cheeks
- green or yellow mucous draining from the nose
- feeling congested
The most common causes of chronic sinusitis include:
Home remedies include:
The following strategies can help with the pain of sinusitis and may reduce the length of the infection:
The most common complication of sinusitis is an infection, either in the sinuses or surrounding structures. An infection that is left untreated can spread and cause serious illness.
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What Is Chronic Sinusitis
Chronic sinusitis is a long-lasting sinus inflammation and infection. It can linger over a period of time, typically longer than 12 weeks. The sinuses are four paired cavities in the head. These spaces are connected by narrow channels. The four spaces are named for the bones they are near: ethmoidal, sphenoidal, frontal and maxillary. The sinuses make thin mucus that drains out of the channels of the nose. This drainage works as a filtration system, keeping the nose clean and free of bacteria.
The sinuses can become infected when they are blocked and filled with fluid. This is called sinusitis. There are several kinds of sinusitis: acute, subacute, chronic and recurrent. Unlike chronic sinusitis,acute sinusitis typically lasts only a few days, but can last up to four weeks, before going away with minimal or no treatment. Chronic sinusitis may require different types of treatment. Surgery is sometimes needed in severe cases of chronic sinusitis that do not respond to other methods.
Chronic sinusitis is different than recurrent sinusitis because chronic sinusitis symptoms never really go away for long periods of time. In recurrent sinusitis, you have 4 or more bouts of sinusitis in one year, but you also have symptom-free periods in between.
Home Remedies For Sinus Infection
The internet and retail stores are full of products that claim to be ânatural cures for sinus infectionâ. Many of these claims are not backed up by science and some of these products can pose significant risk to your health. However, there are effective home remedies for sinus infection and cough along with other symptoms. A successful comprehensive treatment plan may include proven home remedies. Explore home remedies and speak with your physician to see if they should be included in your treatment plan.
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Treatment And Diagnosis For Recurrent Acute Sinusitis In Denver
At the Advanced ENT & Allergy Center, our staff are ENT doctors, as well as trained allergy specialists. For over two decades, weve been offering successful long-term solutions for sinus problems whether youre suffering from allergies or internal nasal issues. Well help you find out whats causing your recurrent acute sinusitis and treat the problem at its source.
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.
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Which Types Of Doctors Treat Sinusitis And Sinus Infections
- Many sinus infections can be treated by your primary care physician or an Internal Medicine doctor.
- However, it is not unusual to consult an ENT specialist, infectious disease specialist, or an allergist or immunologist.
- With some complex sinus infections, a surgeon who specializes in sinus surgery may be necessary to consult.
Deterrence And Patient Education
It is important to provide patient education regarding the expected natural history of symptoms, the strategies they should employ to manage symptoms at home, and the circumstances that should prompt them to seek additional medical care. This anticipatory guidance empowers patients to recognize and treat their symptoms earlier in the course of illness. Ideally, appropriate early management of symptoms will decrease the likelihood of symptom progression, thereby reducing the need for more aggressive and costly therapies. When patients require additional treatment, providing education about medication regimens, common adverse effects, and expected outcomes will help to increase patient satisfaction.
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What Is The Best Treatment For Sinus Infection
For those who suffer chronic sinusitis, the symptoms of sinus infection are easily recognizable. Viral, fungal, and bacterial sinus infection symptoms can feel very similar. Because we share common symptoms, it is easy to believe that all sinus infections are the same and all sinus infections have similar treatments. The truth is, your sinus infection is unique and your treatment should be customized to meet your specific needs, achieve your individual goals, and fit within your budget.
The best treatment for your sinus infection is the one that is designed specifically for you. The most successful physicians understand this and take a comprehensive approach to design a treatment plan that makes use of a wide variety of tools. Depending on your health condition and your unique needs, these tools may include:
Stop Sinus Misery With Chronic Sinusitis Treatment
The key factor in sinus treatment is addressing the cause to reduce symptom development and severity for long-term results. Many patients with sinus symptoms are sensitive to environmental toxins, suffer from inflammatory disorders or allergies, or have abnormal nasal tissues or other issues that make them susceptible to frequent sinus infections and distress. Dr. Cohen utilizes multiple medical therapies, surgical practices, and in some cases, medications to provide patients with the safest and most comprehensive chronic sinusitis treatments in Los Angeles.
Contact the Southern California Sinus Institute today at to discuss minimally invasive options for chronic sinus infections and symptoms with Dr. Alen N. Cohen, MD, FACS.
Schedule An Appointment Today!
Considered the best sinus surgeon in Los Angeles, Dr. Alen Cohen is an expert at successfully treating patients through the use of minimally invasive techniques for the surgical management of nasal and sinus disorders.
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What Is A Sinus Infection Or Sinusitis
Inflammation of the air cavities within the passages of the nose is referred to as sinusitis. Sinusitis can be caused by infection , but also can be caused by allergy and chemical irritation of the sinuses. A sinus infection occurs when a virus, bacterium, or fungus grows within a sinus.
- Sinusitis is one of the more common conditions that can afflict people throughout their lives.
- Sinusitis commonly occurs when environmental pollens irritate the nasal passages, such as with hay fever.
- Sinusitis can also result from irritants, such as chemicals or the use and/or abuse of over-the-counter nasal sprays, and
- illegal substances that may be snorted or inhaled through the nose.
About 30 million adults have “sinusitis.” Colds differ from sinusitis and are only caused by viruses and last about seven to 10 days while sinusitis may have many different causes , and usually last longer with more pronounced and variable symptoms.
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 improving.
- Symptoms lasting more than 10 days without getting better.
- 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
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