What is Chronic Sinusitis and Treatments?

Dr Foram Bhuta

Dr Foram Bhuta

BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery), 10 years of experience

December 16, 2021 Lifestyle Diseases 496 Views

English हिन्दी Bengali

What is the meaning of Chronic Sinusitis?

Chronic sinusitis is a condition of swelling and inflammation of the spaces inside the head and nose (sinuses) for three months or more, despite treatment. The sinuses are four paired cavities or spaces in the head. These sinuses make thin mucus, which drains out of the nose. This keeps the nose clean and bacteria-free. When the sinuses are blocked and filled with fluid, they become infected. This is known as sinusitis. Chronic (long-term) sinusitis may make breathing through the nose difficult, and the area around the eyes may feel tender or swollen. In this article, we will be discussing in detail chronic sinusitis and its treatments.

  • What are the causes of Chronic Sinusitis?
  • What are the risk factors of Chronic Sinusitis?
  • What are the symptoms of Chronic Sinusitis?
  • How to diagnose Chronic Sinusitis?
  • What is the treatment for Chronic Sinusitis?
  • What are the complications of Chronic Sinusitis?
  • How to prevent Chronic Sinusitis?
  • What are the home remedies for Chronic Sinusitis?
  • What is the cost of Chronic Sinusitis Treatments in India?

What are the causes of Chronic Sinusitis?

The various causes of chronic sinusitis include:

  • Nasal polyps: These are tissue growths that block the sinuses or nasal passages 
  • Deviated nasal septum: This is a condition seen when the wall between the nostrils becomes crooked, and causes blockage of the sinus passages, worsening the symptoms of sinusitis. ( Know more about- What is Septoplasty?)
  • Allergies: The inflammation that happens due to allergies, like hay fever (an allergic reaction that occurs due to season changes and may cause congestion, sore throat, sneezing, and congestion), can block the sinuses.
  • Respiratory tract infections: The infections in the respiratory tract, like cold, can inflame and thicken the sinus membranes and block the drainage of the mucus. These infections can occur due to certain bacteria or viruses.
  • Other medical conditions: Certain diseases like HIV, cystic fibrosis (an inherited condition that damages the digestive system and lungs), and other immune system-related (disease-fighting system) diseases can cause blockage of the nose.

What are the risk factors of Chronic Sinusitis?

Certain factors increase the risk of developing chronic sinusitis, and may include:

  • Nasal polyps
  • Deviated nasal septum
  • Asthma
  • Dental infection
  • Tumors
  • Sensitivity to aspirin medication
  • Fungal infection
  • Allergic conditions like hay fever
  • Immune system disorders like HIV, AIDS, cystic fibrosis ( Know more about- What are the Symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Diseases? )
  • Exposure to pollutants
  • Exposure to cigarette smoke

What are the symptoms of Chronic Sinusitis?

The symptoms of chronic sinusitis include:

  • Nasal inflammation ( Know more about- What is Nasal and Sinus Cancer Treatment? )
  • Runny nose
  • Postnasal drainage (drainage down the back of the throat)
  • Stuffy or congested nose
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Reduced sense of taste and smell
  • Tenderness, pain, and swelling around the cheeks, eyes, forehead, or nose
  • Ear pain
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Bad breath
  • Cough
  • Pain in the upper jaw and teeth

How to diagnose Chronic Sinusitis?

Chronic sinusitis can be diagnosed by the following tests:

  • Physical examination: The doctor will examine the patient physically, ask about the patient’s symptoms, check for tenderness in the face or nose, and look inside the nose. The doctor also asks about the patient’s past and present medical conditions.
  • Imaging tests: Tests like CT scans and MRI scans show the details of the nasal and sinus area. This may help in diagnosing inflammation or physical blockage, like tumors, fungi, or polyps, which may be difficult to detect using an endoscope.
  • Endoscopy: A long, thin, flexible tube with a fiber-optic light is inserted through the nose to allow the doctor to look inside the sinuses. This can help in diagnosing a deviated nasal septum, tumors, or polyps. ( Know more about- What is the purpose of Endoscopy? Types of Endoscopy)
  • Allergy test: An allergy skin test may be recommended if allergies are thought to cause chronic sinusitis. This test helps in detecting what allergens are causing nasal flare-ups.
  • Cultures: Samples are obtained from the nasal and sinus discharge, to determine the cause of chronic sinusitis, like bacteria or fungi.

What is the treatment for Chronic Sinusitis?

The different types of treatments for chronic sinusitis include:

  • Nasal corticosteroids: These are available in the form of nasal sprays and help in preventing and treating inflammation. If the sprays are not very effective, the doctor may recommend rinsing with a saline solution mixed with budesonide (a type of corticosteroid) or using a nasal mist of the solution.
  • Saline nasal irrigation: Nasal sprays reduce the drainage and rinse away the allergens and irritants.
  • Injected or oral corticosteroids: In the case of nasal polyps, these medicines help in relieving inflammation from severe chronic sinusitis.
  • Medications for allergies: If allergies are causing the condition, the doctor may recommend anti-allergic medicines.
  • Antifungal treatment: In case of sinusitis that occurs due to fungi, the doctor may recommend antifungal medications and treatment.
  • Aspirin desensitization treatment: In case of sensitivity to aspirin medication, which may be responsible for nasal polyps and sinusitis the patient is gradually given larger doses of aspirin under medical supervision to increase his/her tolerance to aspirin.
  • Medications for the treatment of nasal polyps and chronic sinusitis: The doctor may give an injection of omalizumab or dupilumab to reduce the size of the nasal polyps and relieve congestion.
  • Antibiotics: If the cause of chronic sinusitis is a bacterial infection, the doctor may give an antibiotic.
  • Immunotherapy: In case of allergies that are causing sinusitis, the doctor recommends certain drugs to boost the body’s immune (disease-fighting) system to reduce the body’s response to specific allergens.
  • Endoscopic sinus surgery: This is the last option of treatment done when chronic sinusitis cannot be treated by medication or other forms of treatment. The surgeon uses various medical instruments that can be passed through an endoscope to remove tissue or polyp that may be causing a nasal blockage. The surgeon may also enlarge a narrow sinus opening to allow drainage.

What are the complications of Chronic Sinusitis?

The complications of chronic sinusitis may include:

  • Reduced vision ( Know more about- What is Corneal Transplant? )
  • Double vision
  • Blindness, which can be permanent
  • Meningitis (inflammation of the fluid and membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord)
  • Infection in the bones
  • Skin infections
  • Fever
  • Severe headache 
  • Confusion
  • Stiffness of neck
  • Swelling of the forehead
  • Redness or swelling around the eyes

How to prevent Chronic Sinusitis?

Chronic sinusitis can be prevented by:

  • Avoid contact with people having cold or other respiratory tract infections
  • Keep your hands clean by washing them with soap and water many times a day
  • Avoid exposure to allergens
  • Avoid exposure to cigarette smoke
  • Avoid exposure to polluted air
  • Use a humidifier at home, and regularly clean the humidifier

What are the home remedies for Chronic Sinusitis?

If you have chronic sinusitis, the following home remedies can help you in relieving the symptoms associated with the condition:

  • Take adequate rest to help in fighting inflammation and for a speedy recovery.
  • Take a hot shower bath, steam, and breathe in warm and moist air to help in the drainage of mucus and relieve pain.
  • Use a squeeze bottle, saline canister, or neti pot to rinse the nasal passages. This is known as nasal lavage and can help to clear the sinuses.
  • Apply a warm compress on the forehead and nose to help in relieving pressure in the sinuses.

What is the cost of Chronic Sinusitis Treatments in India?

The total cost of chronic sinusitis treatments in India can range from around INR 30,000 to INR 3,00,000, depending on the type of treatment done. However, many prominent hospitals and doctors in India specialize in chronic sinusitis treatments. But the cost varies across different hospitals. 

If you are coming from abroad, apart from the cost of chronic sinusitis treatments, there will be an additional cost of living in a hotel and the cost of local travel. So, total cost of chronic sinusitis treatments in India comes to a total of INR 40,000 to INR 3,90,000.

We hope that we could answer all your questions regarding chronic sinusitis and its treatments through this article.

If you need more information about chronic sinusitis, you can contact an ENT surgeon.

We only aim to provide you with information through this article. We do not recommend any medication or treatment to anyone. Only a qualified doctor can give you the best advice and correct treatment plan. 

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