Chronic or recurrent sinus infections
Sinusitis means inflammation of the sinuses. It can be caused by many things. Most people think that sinusitis means that they have an infection. While this is often the case, it is not always true. Sometimes sinusitis can result from a flare of allergies. Even if it is an infection, it is often viral and not bacterial. Sinusitis always results from either the sinuses not functioning properly (due to inflammation from a cold or allergies, or from rarer causes) or obstruction that is blocking the opening of the sinus (such as a deviated septum, nasal polyps, etc...). When this happens, the sinuses fill-up and cause symptoms. Rarely, sinusitis can result from a lack of protective antibodies, which is an immune deficiency.
- Sinus pressure / pain
- Loss of sense of smell
- Thick drainage
- Teeth pain
Runny nose, sneezing and sniffling are often not caused by sinusitis, but by rhinitis (inflammation of the nose). This can be caused by colds, allergies and irritant triggers as well as some other less common causes. If you have symptoms of sinusitis and rhinitis, then it is called “rhinosinusitis.”
Antibiotics and Sinusitis:
Antibiotics often don’t make a difference in the treatment of sinusitis. There are two reasons for this. The first is that antibiotics only kill bacteria, and sinusitis is not always caused by a bacterial infection. Antibiotics are prescribed more for sinusitis than any other condition, and are often not needed. This contributes to our growing problem with bacterial resistance to antibiotics. The second is that sinuses are hollow cavities in your skull with very little blood flow. Because of this, antibiotics do not reach the sinuses very well. When they are used, they need to be used in higher doses and for longer periods of time.
When symptoms or sinusitis last under four weeks, it is termed as acute. When the symptoms last between 4-12 weeks, it is classified as subacute sinusitis. When the symptoms have persisted over 12 weeks, it is called chronic sinusitis. When you make an appointment, we will go over your history very carefully. We may perform allergy testing and rhinolaryngoscopy. We may obtain a CT scan of the sinuses. We might obtain blood work to evaluate for immune deficiencies. We will develop a treatment plan for your symptoms. If we find that your symptoms are best managed surgically rather than medically, or your symptoms fail to respond to medical management, we will send you to ENT surgeons.