woman sitting on a couch rubbing her face with both hands

Sinus problems can feel like a cold that just won’t go away. Sinusitis is an inflammation of the cavities within the bones surrounding the nose lined with a thin membrane that produces mucus, usually swept along by hair cells and drains through small openings into the nasal cavity. Sinus problems start when this drainage system becomes blocked so that your head hurts, you feel facial pressure or pain, and thick mucus clogs your nose.

Research into the effects of chronic sinusitis on daily functioning is increasing as so many patients feel that no one understands how miserable sinusitis can be. Sinusitis sufferers reported high levels of discomfort and significant problems with work, energy, and mental health.

Sinusitis can be acute or chronic

Whether sinus problems are acute or chronic largely depends on symptom severity and how long your sinusitis lasts. Acute sinusitis is caused mainly by the common cold and resolves within ten days unless a bacterial infection develops. Home remedies may efficiently treat acute sinusitis. However, sinusitis that lasts more than 12 weeks despite medical treatment is called chronic sinusitis and requires medical therapies or surgery to remedy.

Shared acute and chronic sinusitis symptoms include:

  • Ear pressure
  • Headache
  • Aching in your teeth
  • Altered sense of smell
  • Cough
  • Bad breath
  • Fatigue
  • Fever

If you have any of these symptoms, consult with an ENT to determine how best to fix your sinus problems.

Medical therapies for sinus problems clear symptoms and keep them from coming back

After determining the underlying cause of your sinus problems, your ENT doctor will treat the underlying cause while reducing the inflammation that prevents your sinus passages from draining. Treatments are targeted at thinning nasal secretions and prescribing corticosteroids to clear up your sinusitis symptoms and ensure they do not return.

Examples of medical therapies that are most commonly used to fix sinus problems are:

  • Intranasal corticosteroids such as Flonase
  • Oral corticosteroids
  • Decongestants
  • Saline irrigation
  • Antibiotics
  • Immunotherapy

Sinus surgery may provide relief for chronic sinus problems

If medical therapies don’t clear up chronic sinusitis, your ENT may recommend surgery.

Surgical approaches can enlarge the sinus cavities to make breathing and drainage easier without requiring bone and tissue removal. Two surgical procedures for chronic sinusitis are balloon sinuplasty and Functional Endoscopic sinus surgery (or FESS).

Doctors use balloon sinuplasty as a surgical approach to treating sinusitis by placing a small, balloon-tipped catheter into the sinus passages. Using imaging tools, they ensure the catheter is in the right location and slowly inflates the balloon. This widens your sinus passages until your doctor deflates the balloon and removes the catheter. Because no tissue is removed, your recovery time is shorter with balloon sinuplasty.

Functional endoscopic sinus surgery or FESS is another surgical approach your doctor may recommend to treat chronic sinusitis. An ENT surgeon will use a unique tool that has a lighted camera on the end of it to see the inside of your nose, then use small instruments to remove excess tissue, nasal polyps, or nasal cysts to widen your sinuses. The procedure requires anesthesia, either general anesthesia or conscious sedation.

South Florida ENT Associates can help you fix sinus problems

Acute sinus problems can become chronic and get in the way of enjoying your everyday activities. South Florida ENT Associates can help by providing comprehensive treatment for these chronic conditions if you're suffering from these issues. SFENTA was founded over 30 years ago to help patients find relief from their ENT concerns, including acute and chronic sinusitis. Certain sinus conditions may also require surgery, which can be performed at SFENTA. Our ENT providers will assist you with each stage of your sinus treatment, from diagnosis to recovery and everything in between.

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