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Common Issues That Affect Your Sinuses and What to do About Them

OAT
August 21, 2018

The sinuses are a complex network of hollow cavities in the face. They are lined with soft pink tissue that is on any given occasion filled with a small amount of mucus. Sometimes, these hollow passages become infected, and the result is excess mucus and difficulty breathing. What we do know is when the area is infected, it causes a lot of pain and discomfort. We will take a look at some common problems with sinuses and how you can address the issue.

Sinusitis

Acute sinusitis involves the swelling around the nasal passages and eyes. Swelling blocks your body's ability to drain mucus. Those who are affected will feel mild pressure around the nose, eyes, and face. Some general headaches can be due to sinusitis as well. Acute sinusitis is can be brought upon by the common cold. If symptoms persist longer than twenty days, it's possible chronic sinusitis has developed and would benefit from seeking medical assistance. If not adequately treated deeper infection can occur.

Sinusitis Symptoms:

  • Thick yellow or greenish discharge from nose or throat
  • Congestion in the nasal passages
  • Pain and tenderness around the eyes, nose, cheeks, and forehead

Treating Sinusitis

Fortunately, most home remedies will clear the symptoms associated with sinusitis. However, if not properly managed individuals could get meningitis or other infections. Manage your seasonal allergies with over the counter antihistamines. Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air and minimize contact with anyone who has a respiratory infection.

Deviated Septum

The nasal passages are separated by a thin wall called the nasal septum. When this wall is displaced to one side or the other making the passages disproportionate to each other, it's called a deviated septum. Sometimes, the deviation occurs from the swelling of the tissues that line the nose. A severe case of deviated septum results in blocking air flow making it difficult to breathe. In some instances, a deviated septum is a result of an injury to the nose. As you age, it's possible for the deviation to worsen as the structure of the nose starts to mature it changes shape naturally.

Deviated Septum Symptoms:

  • Obstruction of one or both nasal passages
  • Nosebleeds
  • Snoring or heavy breathing during sleep
  • Sleeping on a particular side for comfort

Treating a Deviated Septum

Your ENT will initially prescribed decongestants and anti-inflammatories reduce the swelling of the tissue to increase airflow. Continued use can create symptoms to worsen, so many doctors will recommend an antihistamine to prevent allergy type symptoms from forming. Medication like this can also help relieve a runny nose and reduce swelling. In some instances, surgery is recommended. Septoplasty is the traditional method of straightening out the septum by cutting and replacing it in the proper position. The patient will benefit from balloon sinuplasty which utilizes the use of an inflatable balloon to open airways and reduce sinus problems.

Nasal Polyps

A nasal polyp is a soft and painless growth inside the nasal passage. They usually take the shape of a teardrop or grape. Their formation occurs from inflammation, allergies, and some immune disorders. Smaller growths typically present no problems, but the larger they become, the more they begin to obstruct airflow. The polyp itself doesn't have nerves to cause you any pain or discomfort.

Nasal Polyp Symptoms:

  • Persistent stuffiness
  • Postnasal drip
  • Decreased sense of smell
  • Pressure on the forehead
  • Snoring

Treating Nasal Polyps

Doctors can surgically remove nasal polyps, but the best way to handle them is through preventative actions. Manage your asthma and allergies with a treatment plan. As with sinusitis, you'll want to invest in a good humidifier to keep moisture in the dry air. Sometimes, saline or saltwater sprays effectively rinse your nasal passage from irritants that can cause inflammation.

If you have more questions or concerns about your current symptoms, seek assistance from a trusted ear, nose, and throat specialist. For over 20 years, OAT has been helping residents of the Middle Tennessee area find relief from chronic sinus issues. Visit our website for more information and to schedule your appointment.

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Topics: Sinusitis, Ear Pressure, Sinus Surgery, Allergies, Sinus Infection