Tips For Treating Chronic Sinus Infections
No matter the season, having a cold is never convenient. Its even worse when your cold turns into a sinus infection. A sinus infection will stick around long after symptoms of an upper respiratory infection are gone. You might even know its a sinus infection because you get sinus infections frequently. Perhaps your doctor diagnosed your sinus infection after you just couldnt seem to get better. After all, since almost 30 million Americans suffer from sinusitis, your doctor likely treats them a lot.
The question is, when do you need to see a specialist? If your sinus infection just isnt going away, or if you seem to get recurrent sinus infections, it may be time to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist.
When To See A Doctor About A Sinus Infection
On the other hand, a secondary acute bacterial infection may develop, so it’s advised that you see a doctor if your symptoms last more than 10 days or if your symptoms initially improve but then worsen again within the first 7 days.
See a doctor immediately if you experience:
- A persistent fever higher than 102 degrees F
- Changes in vision, including double vision
- Symptoms that are not relieved with over-the-counter medicines
- Multiple infections within the past year
- Sudden, severe pain in the face or head
- Swelling or redness around the eyes
- Stiff neck
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Speaking of condoms, while they generally shouldnt boost your UTI risk, ones with a certain ingredient might make you more susceptible than youd like. Some condoms have the spermicide nonoxynol-9, which can cause small abrasions on or around the urethra, says Dweck. Those abrasions give the bacteria easy access to your urethra, which is how you wind up with pee pain. Its not a reason not to use condoms, says Dweck. Just be more careful and look at the ingredient list.
Oh, and you know that tip youve heard about peeing before and after sex? Yup, it really works. Using the bathroom regularly can help flush bacteria out, says Rosenblum. It can be annoying to take a bathroom break before you can commence cuddling, but youll appreciate the gesture later when it doesnt feel like youre peeing actual flames.
There may also be a genetic component to who gets UTIs.
Recent research shows some people have a certain receptor in their bladder wall that allows bacteria to stick more easily, says Rosenblum. Although experts arent sure how common the receptor is or what causes it, theyre hoping for more research into the possibility.
Gender also plays a role guys are less like to get UTIs because dudes anatomy makes them especially lucky in that regard.
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Is There A Right Way To Blow Your Nose
If you have a stuffy nose, trying to force yourself to blow your nose could make it worse. The best thing to do is to blow one side of your nose at a time gently into a tissue. You might want to first use some type of nasal rinse to loosen any material in your nose before blowing. Make sure you dispose of the tissue and then clean your hands with soap and water or an antimicrobial sanitizer.
Types Of Chronic Sinusitis Or Chronic Sinus Infections
While acute sinusitis often involves an infection, chronic sinusitis does not. Sometimes, the long-term illness is caused by an infection that hasn’t cleared up properly, but most often the exact cause of chronic sinusitis isn’t known.
But clinicians may categorize chronic sinusitis into one of three types depending on the features present.
The most common type of the illness, chronic sinusitis without nasal polyposis, involves swelling and inflammation of the mucous membranes by various non-polyp factors, such as allergies or irritation and infections.
Chronic sinusitis with nasal polyposis, on the other hand, involves nasal polyps that are large enough to clog the sinus. It’s not always clear why some people develop these polyps and others dont.
In chronic sinusitis with fungal allergy, people experience a strong allergic reaction to fungi in the air, which causes their mucous membranes to produce a thick, dense mucus.
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What Exactly Are Sinuses
The sinuses are four paired sets of air-filled cavities in the bones of the head: the frontal sinuses, above the eyes the maxillary sinuses, in the cheekbones the ethmoid sinuses, between the eyes and the sphenoid sinuses, which lie behind the nasal cavity and eyes. The sinuses are lined with mucus membranes and connect to the nasal cavity through tiny holes. When they are working properly, the sinuses help warm and humidify the air that passes through the nose. Along with the nasal cavity, they provide a kind of cushion of bone and tissue that protects the face and brain. They could even have some evolutionary significance sinuses add resonance to the voice, which might have made it easier to attract a mate millions of years ago. But there’s actually no real reason to have sinusesthese days we could survive quite well without them.
Abnormal Growths Or Other Anatomical Abnormalities
The body is a mysterious and complex series of systems. Seemingly out of nowhere, tissues can thicken, cells can excessively multiply causing tumors, or small issues that didnt cause problems in the past can begin to cause you trouble. If your nasal passages or sinus cavities experience abnormal growths of any kind, they can usually be removed through surgery. If it is a tumor or mass, we will biopsy the tissue to make sure it is not cancerous.
Most anatomical abnormalities affecting the bony or soft tissues comprising the sinus cavities can be repaired via surgery, greatly eliminating the experience of recurrent sinus issues.
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.
What Are The Different Types Of Sinus Infections
Sinusitis is categorized based on how long the condition lasts as well as its frequency:
- Acute sinusitis usually lasts a few weeks, but less than a month. There is a subcategory of acute sinusitis, called recurrent acute sinusitis, which occurs when someone gets four or more sinus infections in a year, with symptoms resolving after each one.
- Subacute sinusitis lasts one to three months.
- Chronic sinusitis lasts three months or more.
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Treatment And Medication Options For Sinus Infection
Up to 70 percent of people with acute sinusitis recover without prescribed medications, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology .
Treatment for acute sinus infections focus on relieving symptoms, such as by:
- Drinking lots of fluids and getting plenty of rest
- Flushing out the sinuses with a saline nasal wash like a Neti Pot or a saline nasal spray
- Inhaling steam several times a day
- Using a humidifier
- Resting a warmed, moist washcloth or a warm compress over your nose and cheeks
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.
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When Do People Need To See A Specialist For A Sinus Infection Who Should They See
If you’re having four or five sinus infections a year, you should see an otolaryngologist. These specialists are also called ear, nose, and throat doctors. Such repeat infections are known as acute recurrent sinusitis and are often a consequence of severe, untreated allergies. Treating the underlying condition should resolve the problem.
Chronic sinus infections, meaning those lasting at least three months that do not clear up with multiple courses of antibiotics, are less common, and also warrant an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat doctor. Again, the specialist will look for an underlying cause, such as scar tissue or some sort of anatomical obstruction of the sinuses, or even a fungal infection.
Experts now agree that chronic infections should be treated with three to six weeks of antibiotics. Patients may also be given steroid nasal sprays to help bring down inflammation in the nasal cavity and sinuses. Rinsing the nose with salt water can also be helpful, but ask your doctor first.
There are some otolaryngologists who specialize in treating sinus problems you’re more likely to find one of these subspecialists, known as rhinologists, at academic medical centers and large group practices.
Study Design And Population
The Tzu Chi Vegetarian Study is a prospective cohort study that recruited 12062 Tzu Chi volunteers in 2005 throughout communities in Taiwan. Tzu Chi volunteers are devoted Buddhists who participate in a variety of charity works and disaster relief organized by the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation. About one-third of this population became vegetarians in order to protect the environment and animals. Certified Tzu Chi volunteers are also required to quit smoking and alcohol-drinking.
The Buddhists Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation has many liaison sites throughout Taiwan. In 2005, community leaders in all sites were asked to distribute research questionnaires to their local community volunteers, and send back these questionnaires upon completion. The questions included personal data, demographic information, educational level, medical history, and lifestyle habit including smoking, alcohol-drinking, physical activities, and diet. All participants had signed the informed consent on the first page of the questionnaire. This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board for ethics at Buddhist Dalin Tzu Chi Hospital.
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If You Have Gone Through The Menopause Vaginal Oestrogen May Be An Option
If you have gone through the menopause and had your last natural period , your hormone levels will have dropped. As explained earlier, this leads to changes in the vagina and the urethra that can increase the chances of getting recurrent cystitis, as well as other problems like dryness and painful sex. You can read more about this in the separate leaflet called Vaginal Dryness .
Vaginal oestrogen has been shown to reduce the number of bouts of cystitis in postmenopausal women who get recurrent cystitis. However, it is not as effective as taking antibiotics regularly. It is usually taken as an estradiol tablet that you insert into your vagina at night twice a week or as a ring that releases estradiol continuously and stays in the vagina for three months at a time. It can help even in postmenopausal women who dont have any of the other vaginal symptoms.
Foods To Eat When You Have Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are characterized by bacterial infections that develop in your urinary tract, which is composed of the bladder, kidneys and urethra, according to the University of Michigan Health System. UTIs are often accompanied by lower back cramping, abdominal pain and burning sensations during urination. In addition to prescribed medications, your doctor will usually recommend dietary adjustments to prevent further urinary tract irritation.
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Can Urinary Tract Infections Be Prevented
These steps may help reduce the chance of getting UTIs:
- Drink plenty of water every day.
- Drink cranberry juice. Large amounts of vitamin C limit the growth of some bacteria by acidifying the urine. Vitamin C supplements have the same effect.
- Urinate when you feel the need. Do not wait.
- Females, wipe from front to back to keep bacteria around the anus from going in the vagina or urethra.
- Take showers instead of tub baths.
- Clean the genital area before and after sex, and urinate shortly after sex.
- Women should not use feminine hygiene sprays or scented douches.
- Cotton underwear and loose fitting clothes help keep the area around the urethra dry. Tight clothes and nylon underwear trap moisture. This can help bacteria grow.
- Repeated bouts of urinary tract infections can be treated with small doses of regular antibiotics.
Please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns you may have about UTIs.
Chronic Urinary Tract Infection
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What is a chronic urinary tract infection?
Chronic urinary tract infections are infections of the urinary tract that either dont respond to treatment or keep recurring. They may either continue to affect your urinary tract despite getting the right treatment, or they may recur after treatment.
Your urinary tract is the pathway that makes up your urinary system. It includes the following:
- Your kidneys filter your blood and generate body waste in the form of urine.
- Your ureters are tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.
- Your bladder collects and stores urine.
- Your urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of your body.
A UTI can affect any part of your urinary system. When an infection only affects your bladder, its usually a minor illness that can be easily treated. However, if it spreads to your kidneys, you may suffer from serious health consequences, and may even need to be hospitalized.
Although UTIs can happen to anyone at any age, theyre more prevalent in women. In fact, the
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How Can I Stop Recurring Sinus Infections
Treatment for chronic sinus infections should be discussed with a doctor, but can include:
Lifestyle changes â Quitting smoking and limiting your exposure to allergens and pollution is extremely important if you suffer from recurrent sinusitis. These risk factors are particularly damaging for those who have damaged mucus membranes from repeated sinus infections. Getting an in-home air purifier or certain indoor plants is one way to purify your air at home if moving cities is not an option.
Antibioticsâ Antibiotics are the first line of treatment for bacterial sinus infections. Bacterial sinus infections are typically diagnosed by the length of time youâve had symptoms without improvement. Bacterial sinus infections tend to last longer than viral infections. A doctor will prescribe you antibiotics after diagnosing your sinus infection as bacterial.
Home remediesâ When antibiotics and traditional methods have failed and you still suffer from frequent sinus infections, various home remedies exist with a lot of anecdotal, and in some case research-based, evidence to back them up. Essential oils in particular have been studied for antimicrobial properties, which may be powerful tools in solving the problem of recurrent infection.
Nasal wash â washing nasal passages with a large volume of saltwater using something called a neti pot is one method recommended in conventional and alternative treatments for sinusitis. This process is also known as sinus irrigation.
Chronic Sinus Infection Treatment
Chronic sinus infections typically have a more mysterious cause than acute infections people with chronic sinus infections often require life-long treatment to keep symptoms at bay.
In addition to the options above, treatment for chronic sinus infections may include:
- Lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and changing home or work conditions to reduce exposure to environmental toxins and allergens, such as dust mites, pet dander, or cockroaches
- Oral steroids
- Leukotriene modifiers, which reduce inflammation through a different mechanism than steroids
- Surgery to reopen sinuses affected by issues like nasal polyps and deviated septum
Recent research suggests other treatment options may also exist for chronic sinus infections, including:
- Nasal probiotics of the beneficial bacteria lactobacilli
- The drug dupilumab, derived from a human antibody, which the Food and Drug Administration approved to treat chronic sinus infections with nasal polyps in 2019
- A regime combining oral and intranasal corticosteroid irrigations
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Signs Of Urinary Tract Infection
In some elderly people, mental changes and confusion may be the only signs of a UTI. Older adults with a UTI are more likely to be tired, shaky, and weak and have muscle aches and abdominal pain.
Symptoms of a UTI in the bladder may include:
- Cloudy, bloody, or foul-smelling urine
- Pain or burning during urination
- Strong and frequent need to urinate, even right after emptying the bladder
- A mild fever below 101°F in some people
If a UTI spreads to the kidneys, symptoms may include:
- Chills and shaking
- Feeling tired or generally ill
- Fever above 101°F
- Pain in the side, back, or groin
- Flushed, warm, or reddened skin
- Mental changes or confusion
- Nausea and vomiting
- Very bad abdominal pain in some people
Some people may have bacteria in the bladder or urinary tract, but not feel any symptoms. If a urine test shows that you have bacteria in your urine, but you do not feel any symptoms, you may not need any treatment. Talk to your healthcare provider about whether antibioticsthe medications that treat UTIsare needed.