Suffering from blocked or runny nose? This could be a sign of chronic sinus infection

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If you have a stuffy nose that persists, you may be living with sinusitis.

Sinus infections or sinusitis refers to the inflammation of the sinuses (air-filled cavities within the upper face bones). It commonly starts as a viral infection and becomes secondarily infected with bacteria that remains trapped inside the sinuses.

Chronic sinusitis, or long-lasting sinus infections, causes the nasal cavities to become inflamed and swollen. This interferes with the nasal passage’s ability to drain mucus, which slowly accumulates in the nose and sinuses.

Causes of Sinus Infections

There are different causes of sinusitis. For acute sinusitis which is commonly experienced, they are usually caused by an upper respiratory viral infection that is easily treatable with medication.

There are also predisposing factors to sinus infections, such as:

  • Allergies
  • Exposure to air pollutants
  • Smoking

Sinusitis can also be caused by

  • Bacteria growth, which is usually secondary to prolonged virus infection
  • Fungal growth, which is more common in warm and humid climates

Sinusitis Symptoms

Common symptoms of sinus infections include:

  • Discolouration of nasal discharge (usually yellow or green)
  • Postnasal dripping with chronic cough, especially at night
  • Nasal stuffiness or congestion
  • Pain around the sinus area
  • Pain in the jaw, teeth or ears
  • Frontal headaches
  • Loss of smell or sensation of a foul smell
  • Fatigue
  • Fever (in acute infections)

Diagnosing Sinusitis

If you suspect that you have sinusitis, visit a sinusitis specialist clinic for a consultation. The doctor may carry out a nasal endoscopy – involving a long, thin and flexible tube with a tiny camera attached at the end that is inserted into the nose to view the nasal passages. The procedure is not painful but may be uncomfortable for some people.

During the examination, the doctor will check for the presence of any pus-like discharge and swelling in the nose. In the case of chronic sinusitis, a sample of the discharge may be taken to a laboratory for further analysis. The doctor may also carry out a sinus CT scan to look for obstruction to the drainage of the sinuses and to determine the extent of the infection.

Chronic Sinusitis Treatments

Sinusitis can usually be treated with a combination of antibiotics and nasal spray treatments that help reduce inflammation and improve drainage of the sinuses. However, in chronic sinusitis, medication alone may not be effective in clearing the obstruction.

Left alone, the sinus infection may spread which can occasionally lead to complications such as severe eye infections and meningitis (brain infection)

Sinusitis may worsen pre-existing asthma and often make control of asthma difficult. Many patients also have a loss of smell, chronic headaches and chronic fatigue which may severely impact their quality of life.

To treat chronic sinusitis, doctors may recommend patients undergo sinus surgery. This surgery typically involves the removal of nasal polyps and fixing of defects within the nasal passages to open up previously closed passages. It is performed through the nose with the aid of precision instruments that enables the treatment of chronic sinusitis without causing facial scars. Sinus surgery is usually performed under general anaesthesia, but patients can opt for local anaesthesia. Most patients can be discharged on the same day.

Consult Leading ENT Specialists in Singapore

If you have been suffering from nasal complications for ten or more days in a row without improvement, chances are you may be suffering from chronic sinusitis. It is crucial to treat it as soon as possible to prevent further complications. A sinusitis specialist like Amandela will be able to accurately diagnose and offer effective treatments, sinusitis surgery and support.

Request an appointment with our doctors today.

Amandela ENT Head & Neck Center Mount Elizabeth Novena
Specialist Centre
38 Irrawaddy Road #10-45/47
Singapore 329563
T: 6694 1990
F: 6694 1992
Biz Reg No. 201210742D

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