Sinus Infections & Sinusitis

Sinusitis and Infection Details

Sinus infections are not only uncomfortable, they can also be a symptom of sinusitis, or inflammation of the sinuses that prevents mucus from draining properly. If you are experiencing recurring or chronic sinus infections, nasal congestion, headaches, or facial pain, you may have sinusitis.

Sinusitis is a term that refers to inflammation of the lining of the sinuses. This lining is called mucosa. When the mucosa gets inflamed, obstruction of the sinus drainage pathways can occur. Things that can trigger inflammation of the mucosa are a cold, allergies, a deviated septum, reflux disease, nasal polyps, and certain chronic diseases.

Types of Sinusitis:

  • Acute sinusitis – A sudden onset of cold-like symptoms that typically lasts less than four weeks
  • Subacute sinusitis – An inflammation lasting one to two months
  • Chronic sinusitis – A sinus infection that lasts more than two months but can continue for years
  • Recurrent sinusitis – Several sinus infections within a year

Infections can be fungal or bacterial in origin. Bacterial infections are the most common with fungal infections being much less frequent.

Symptoms of Sinusitis

These are the most commonly experienced sinus-related symptoms:

  • Facial pain
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty breathing through nose
  • Teeth pain
  • Vision disturbances
  • Discolored nasal drainage
  • Lethargy/lack of energy

What Causes Sinusitis?

There are many causes of chronic sinusitis.  The common causes may include nasal polyps, allergic reactions, allergies such as hayfever, a deviated septum, or other medical conditions.

Take Our Sinus Quiz

Our quiz measures symptoms, along with frequency and duration, and is used as a tool for diagnosis and treatment.

Chronic sinusitis may occur as a result of:

  • Allergies that prevent frequent sinus drainage
  • Complications such as a narrowed sinus passage or deviated septum
  • A recurring acute sinus infection that has become chronic

If you are having  sinus issues that are just lingering or do not seem to be improving, you should have The Sinus Center of South Carolina perform:

  • A nasal endoscopy to evaluate the status of your nasal cavity
  • A CT scan to look at the degree of infection
  • Allergy testing

Once the results are determined, we can prescribe a treatment plan for you.

When examining medical treatments, it’s important to consider that no single treatment will work for everyone. Treatments are individualized based on diagnosis and symptoms.  Some antibiotics are required for several weeks while other medications such as antihistamines are required for longer periods.

  • Antibiotics – You may be prescribed antibiotics if it is determined that you have an acute, chronic, or recurring sinus infection. The amount and duration will depend on your particular condition. Antibiotics are more commonly prescribed to take orally, but in some cases may be administered as a nasal spray.
  • Steroids – If you are diagnosed as having a significant amount of nasal inflammation, we may prescribe an oral steroid to help decrease the inflammation. Steroids do not cure sinus problems but will help keep them under control.
  • Saline Irrigation Sprays – Regularly using an over-the-counter mild saline spray will help moisten and cleanse the sinuses. This method may help to reduce infections.
  • Antihistamines – Sinus patients with allergies may benefit from the use of antihistamines, which help to reduce congestion, itching, sneezing, and runny noses.
  • Pain Relievers – Over-the-counter pain relievers can be useful to alleviate headaches and facial pain.
When medication is no longer effective, there are surgical treatments available for chronic sinusitis. With newer technology, sinus surgery is much less invasive.  Our physicians are advocates of Balloon Sinus Dilation, which is an advanced surgical procedure used to treat sinusitis and related problems using minimally invasive techniques.

Balloon Sinus Dilation is performed endoscopically through the nose by gently inserting a small balloon into the natural drainage passages of the sinuses. As the balloon is inflated, the ostia are widened. The balloon is deflated and removed, and the ducts remain open, allowing better drainage of the sinuses. Adequate drainage of mucus dramatically reduces recurring infection and associated common sinus symptoms.