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Sinuses got you down this spring? What to do about chronic sinusitis

It’s that time of the year: the flowers are blooming, the grass is turning green and people who suffer from nasal allergies and sinus pain are struggling to catch their next breath. Many people in Texas, women in particular, suffer from chronic sinusitis, a common condition that involves the sinuses becoming inflamed and swollen.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), almost 12 percent of people in the United States have been diagnosed with sinusitis, and another study found that 15.5 percent of women were diagnosed with the condition compared to 9.8 percent of men.

Let’s discuss what sinusitis is, how to know if you’re experiencing it and ways to find relief.

What is chronic sinusitis?

Chronic sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinus lining lasting three months or more and is one of the most commonly diagnosed chronic illnesses. It is caused by bacterial, viral and allergic conditions as well as structural issues like blockages of the sinus opening.

Signs and symptoms of chronic sinusitis may include:

  • Facial pain, pressure, congestion or fullness
  • Difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Discharge of yellow or green mucus from the nose
  • Teeth pain
  • Loss of the sense of smell or taste
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Bad breath

What to do if you’re experiencing chronic sinusitis

If you have chronic, or ongoing, sinus pain, your doctor has several testing options for determining the cause. These can be as simple as an allergy test or taking a mucous culture from inside your nose, to using a flexible tube with a light to look into your sinuses or ordering a CT or MRI scan to get images of what’s going on inside your sinus cavities.

Treatment options for sinusitis

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The most frequently used treatments for chronic sinusitis are medical therapies, minimally invasive procedures or conventional sinus surgery. Medical therapy treatments include sprays, antibiotics (for bacterial infections), steroids and allergy shots (if allergies are the cause). There is also conventional sinus surgery, which involves removing tissue in order to open the sinus passages, and balloon sinuplasty can be used to widen the sinus passageways.

Talk to your doctor about what treatment is right for you. Don’t have a doctor? Find one near you today.

About the author

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Lav Kapadia, MD, is an otolaryngologist on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Plano.

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Sinuses got you down this spring? What to do about chronic sinusitis