Sinus and nasal problems affect millions of Americans annually, with sinusitis the most-reported chronic health condition in the U.S. If you suffer from this disease, rest assured: you are not alone, and help is available.

Symptoms & Causes

Sinusitis occurs when the sinuses become inflamed and swollen, causing drainage problems when mucus builds up. Chronic sinusitis is defined as lasting for twelve weeks or longer in spite of treatment attempts.

When sinusitis is chronic, a more permanent solution may be necessary. Decongestants become ineffective and may actually worsen symptoms. Nasal steroid/antihistamine sprays, saline washes, and oral steroids are all safe, effective methods providing long-term relief. Cases where surgery is helpful include nasal polyps, enlarging the sinus openings, and repair of deviated septum.

There are numerous possible causes of sinusitis. Some of the more common ones include nasal polyps or tumors, upper respiratory tract infections, allergies, deviated septum, trauma to the face, and complications from immune system disorders.

Diagnosing sinusitis relies on a thorough examination and discussion of your symptoms, and can be confirmed with diagnostic tests such as CT scans or nasal endoscopy.

Treating Sinusitis

Your doctor will devise a treatment plan based on the severity of your symptoms and what is causing them. Acute cases of sinusitis (temporary and short-lived) respond well to antihistamines, decongestants, and pain relievers. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, and nasal steroid sprays are helpful in cases caused by allergies.

When sinusitis is chronic, a more permanent solution is necessary because decongestants become ineffective and may actually worsen symptoms Nasal steroid sprays, saline washes and nasal sprays, and oral steroids are all safe and effective methods that provide long-term relief. Surgery is helpful in cases where nasal polyps are involved, and can be used to repair a deviated septum or enlarge the sinus openings.