Sinusitis can affect much more than your sinuses – acute and chronic sinusitis symptoms can greatly impact your quality of life and put a damper on every aspect of your daily routine. With over 20 years of experience as an ear, nose, and throat doctor in Houston, Dr. Yeung specializes in helping patients suffering from all types of sinusitis, including those who are suffering from chronic sinus infections. Relief from sinus pain, pressure and headaches starts with scheduling an appointment at Houston Sinus Surgery at the Yeung Institute today.
What is sinusitis?
The sinuses are air-filled spaces located behind your forehead, nose, cheeks and between your eyes. Each sinus cavity has a small opening that allows mucus to drain properly. When sinuses are healthy, they drain through small openings into the nasal passages. However, when the lining of one or more of these sinus cavities becomes inflamed – a condition called sinusitis – the inflammation can cause swelling and increased mucus production, resulting in some uncomfortable symptoms. Sinusitis, also known as a sinus infection, is defined as inflammation of the sinus lining that prevents normal sinus drainage. This blockage and inflammation of the sinus membranes can be infectious or noninfectious.
What causes sinusitis?
Sinusitis can be triggered by a number of possible causes or factors, including:
- Bacterial infection
- Fungal infection
- Viral infection
- Allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
- Small sinus openings
- A deviated septum that blocks or narrows sinus openings
- Nasal polyps that block the nasal passages or sinuses
What are the symptoms of sinusitis?
Sinusitis may cause or coincide with other symptoms, which may include:
- Facial pain and pressure
- Tenderness and swelling around the eyes, cheeks, nose and forehead
- Nasal congestion
- Difficulty breathing through the nose
- Reduced sense of smell or taste
- Post-nasal drip
- Sinus headaches
- Nasal polyps
- Yellow or green mucus discharge
- Pain in teeth
- Sore throat
- Bad breath
- Snoring and sleep problems
What are the different types of sinusitis?
There are two main categories of sinusitis – acute and chronic.
Acute sinusitis has a rapid onset and lasts for four weeks or less. There are two types of acute sinusitis – viral and bacterial. Most cases are viral, usually affecting the upper respiratory tract. Acute bacterial sinusitis has drainage that worsens after five days or lasts longer than ten days and is more likely to evolve into chronic sinusitis.
Recurrent Acute Sinusitis
Recurrent acute sinusitis is defined as four or more episodes of acute sinusitis within a year, with resolution of symptoms in between each episode.
Chronic sinusitis involves symptoms that persist for twelve weeks or more. It is one of the most common chronic diseases, affecting 14% to 16% of the adult population in the United States. In addition to significant healthcare costs, chronic sinusitis has been shown to substantially reduce health-related quality of life.
What does treatment for sinusitis involve?
At Houston Sinus Surgery at the Yeung Institute, we are pleased to offer the full continuum of care for sinusitis. Dr. Yeung takes a progressive, personalized approach to treatment, beginning with the least invasive options.
Most cases of acute sinusitis can be effectively treated with conservative options, unless there is some complication due to a delay in treatment. Conservative treatments for sinusitis may include:
- Antibiotics: The standard treatment for bacterial sinusitis, antibiotic prescription drugs may be prescribed for several days to several weeks.
- Nasal decongestant sprays: Both over-the-counter and prescription nasal sprays may be prescribed to help shrink swollen nasal passages and ease drainage. This treatment is not to be used for more than a few days, as it can actually worsen congestion with prolonged use.
- Antihistamines: Antihistamines may be recommended to treat sinus and nasal inflammation caused by an allergic reaction. Antihistamines help stop itching, sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes.
- Topical nasal corticosteroids: Prescription steroid sprays for the nose may be recommended to help reduce inflammation and swelling in the nasal passages and sinus openings.
- Nasal saline washes, sprays and drops: Nasal solutions can be a very effective at-home treatment for sinusitis which help clear thickened secretions from the nose by washing and irrigating the nasal passages.
When symptoms of sinusitis are long-lasting and not responding to conservative sinusitis treatments, you may be dealing with chronic sinusitis. In fact, it is not unusual for chronic or recurrent sinusitis to be resistant to medical treatment. At Houston Sinus Surgery at the Yeung Institute, we offer the latest diagnostic and treatment options for chronic sinus infections. Your initial examination may involve imaging that provides a clear view of the sinuses. Our practice is pleased to offer a cutting-edge CT scanner for the sinuses so patients can have a sinus scan performed right away at the comfort and convenience of our office.
Once a diagnosis of chronic sinusitis has been determined, Dr. Yeung will explain your treatment options and provide a recommendation built around what works best for you. Our Houston ENT practice specializes in performing patient-customized sinusitis procedures that deliver long-term relief, including functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) and Balloon Sinuplasty. We pride ourselves on the results we deliver for our patients and we are dedicated to relieving your sinusitis symptoms and getting you back to your normal activities sooner.