How To Treat Chronic Sinusitis?
How To Treat Chronic Sinusitis?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 26.9 million Americans suffer from Chronic Sinusitis as of 2017. These statistics span across all racial demographics, social classes, and genders. Many individuals who suffer from Sinusitis do not know that they have it and instead self diagnose their symptoms as allergies. Several factors can be attributed to why so many people suffer from this condition, including Nasal Polyps, which are tissue growths that block the nasal passages or sinus, medical conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, environmental stressors, and physical trauma/impact to the nose.
What is Chronic Sinusitis
Chronic Sinusitis is a condition in which the cavities around the nasal passages become inflamed and excess mucus gets backed up in the sinuses. Symptoms of the condition often include headaches behind the eyes and forehead, facial tenderness, pressure or pain in the surrounding area, nasal congestion, difficulty breathing, and snoring. Individuals who experience these symptoms more than three times a year are likely suffering from Chronic Sinusitis. Living with untreated Chronic Sinusitis often hinders individuals’ daily lives.
Non surgical Treatments
The main goal of treating Chronic Sinusitis is to reduce the number of sinusitis flare-ups, eliminate the primary cause of the issue, reduce sinus inflammation, and maintain continuous drainage of the nasal passages. There are various non surgical treatments that individuals can explore in order to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of Sinusitis. Here is a list of these treatments.
Saline Nasal Irrigation- Saline nasal sprays rinse away irritants and allergies
Oral or Injected Corticosteroids- These are used to relieve inflammation from severe sinusitis
Nasal Corticosteroids- Nasal sprays that help prevent and treat inflammation. Examples include Nasonex, Flonase, and Rhinocort
Antibiotics- These are helpful for Chronic Sinusitis that is caused by a bacterial infection
Immunotherapy- Allergy shots that help reduce the body’s reaction to specific allergens. Immunotherapy is helpful for individuals whose sinusitis is compounded by allergies.
For individuals whose Chronic Sinusitis is unresponsive to non surgical treatment, surgery is the next option. For many, the mere thought of surgery is frightening for multiple reasons. As someone who had to resort to corrective surgery due to Chronic Sinusitis, I can identify with the apprehension to surgery since I was very apprehensive about the overall process prior to having it. I was concerned about whether or not it would actually work, if it would alter my nose and face in any way, and whether or not it was safe. I did not know what to expect since I had never had surgery before. Years later, I no longer suffer from heavy snoring and breathing restrictions. Although I still have minor congestion and excess mucus, they are less severe than they were prior to surgery. Additionally, the surgery did not alter my facial appearance. Unlike cosmetic surgery, these surgeries are intended to relieve and/or correct a condition therefore it is not necessary to fear that your appearance will be altered. Here are some types of these corrective surgeries.
Endoscopic sinus surgery- Procedure in which doctors look at sinus passages to identify the source of the obstruction and then use instruments to remove tissue or shave away polyp that is causing nasal blockage.
Balloon Sinuplasty- Process in which mucus is drained from the blocked sinus in order to restore normal sinus drainage.
Turbinate Reduction- Procedures in which all or part of the lower turbinate is removed, or the position of the turbinate is changed, or the turbinate tissue is shrunk through the use of a thin probe placed into the nose.
Septoplasty- Procedure in which the crooked nasal septum is straightened and repositioned in order to reduce symptoms such as breathing difficulties.
Generally, it is recommended that individuals exhaust different non surgical options before deciding to have surgery. If all of the non surgical treatments that you have tried were unsuccessful and you are ready to explore surgery, be sure to find a surgeon that you feel comfortable with, is knowledgeable, and qualified.
Dr. Rubinstein, a Hudson Valley sinus specialist, is one of the leading Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) doctors and facial plastic surgeons in New York. He is board certified by both the American Board of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery and the American Board of Facial Plastic Surgery. He is the first and only Ear Nose and Throat doctor to specialize in allergic, nasal, and sinus disorders in the Hudson Valley.