Treatment for Sinuses

Millions of people suffer from sinus problems.  Sinusitis is one of the most common conditions seen in an ENT doctor’s office, where sinuses treatments will range depending on its cause.

Sinus and Nasal Anatomy

 The sinuses are small, air-filled cavities that are located in the nasal cavity and all around the facial bones.  Sinuses are named for the bones where they are located.  There are four primary sinuses:  Maxillary (located in the cheeks), ethmoid (located on the inside corners of the eyes), sphenoid (located behind the ethmoid sinuses), and frontal (located in the forehead, just above the eyes and nasal bridge).

The membranes within the sinuses are plump and pink, producing clear mucus to keep the area smooth and moist, while helping to keep out toxins and allergens. Sometimes, there is drainage that travels through the sinuses, which exit through one of the nasal cavities, separated by a vertical plate of cartilage called the septum.  The inside of the nasal cavities are lined with tissue ridges called turbinates, which can become swollen and irritated with excess sinus drainage.

Acute Versus Chronic Sinusitis

 Sinuses treatments are most often related to either acute or chronic sinusitis, which is an inflammation of the tissues in the nasal and sinus cavities. The swelling causes blockage of the air and mucus that naturally leaves the sinuses, causing pain and pressure, which are the first signs that sinuses treatment may be needed.  Left untreated, this could sometimes lead to serious bacterial infection.

There are two types of treatment for sinusitis:  Acute and chronic. Acute sinusitis comes on suddenly and lasts for up to four weeks.  Chronic sinusitis is generally recurrent, lasting for longer than four weeks and happening more than three times in a year.  Chronic sinusitis treatment can be a challenge, as it may start as something simple like allergies or be caused by a full-blown cold.  Sometimes, however, chronic sinusitis is due to structural problems like a deviated septum or the presence of a polyp.

When to Seek Treatment for Sinuses

 Sinuses treatment will depend greatly on the cause.  If the problem is due to allergies, for example, then decongestants alone would not be the best course of treatment.  If symptoms last for more than just a couple of days, it is time to seek medical sinuses treatment, which often includes an exam, diagnostic studies like an x-ray, and maybe antibiotics in addition to self-care.  Antibiotics are usually only used in sinuses treatmentif bacterial infection is suspected as being the cause.  Otherwise, other sinusitis treatments like rest, hydration, anti-inflammatories, or decongestants are the best treatment regimens.  To know for certain, however, contact your ENT physician for an exam, especially if sinus problems are a chronic issue.

from Ear, Nose, Throat and Allergy Clinic


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