Sinusitis, also referred to as a sinus infection, is becoming more common in Birmingham residents, and affects 37 million people each year, making it one of the most common health problems in the U.S. Unlike a cold or allergy, bacterial sinus infections often require a physician’s diagnosis and treatment with an antibiotic to cure the infection and prevent future complications.
When you have acute or chronic sinusitis, the mucous membranes of your nose, sinuses and throat become inflamed, possibly from a pre-existing cold or allergies. Swelling obstructs the sinus openings and prevents normal mucus drainage, causing mucus and pressure to build up.Do you suffer from Chronic Sinusitis?
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Types of Sinusitis
Acute Sinusitis - symptoms last up to 4 weeks
Sub-acute Sinusitis - symptoms last 4-12 weeks
Chronic Sinusitis - symptoms last 3 months or longer
Many sinusitis cases are acute and are usually caused by a bacterial infection in the sinuses that results from an upper respiratory tract infections. Chronic sinusitis may be caused by bacteria or a fungus; or from structural issues such as blockage of the sinus opening.
Symptoms of Sinus Infections
Classic symptoms of sinusitis usually follow a cold that does not improve, or one that worsens after 5-7 days of symptoms. Symptoms can include:
- Drainage of a thick, yellow or greenish discharge from the nose or down the back of the throat
- Nasal obstruction or congestion
- Tenderness and swelling around the eyes, cheeks, nose and forehead
- Reduced sense of smell and taste
- Cough, often worse at night
- Sore throat and postnasal drip
- Teeth pain
Diagnosing a Sinus Infection
Acute sinusitis can be diagnosed by our Birmingham healthcare professional’s examination of your nose and face. If symptoms do not clearly indicate that you have sinusitis or if the symptoms persist for a long time despite treatment, a healthcare professional may order a CT scan, blood tests, and tests on the material inside your sinuses.
Sinusitis Treatment in Birmingham
Typical treatment of acute sinusitis may include decongestants, antibiotics, mucus thinning drugs, or pain relievers. Treatment may also include nasal irrigation and nasal wash treatments.
Healthcare professionals often find it difficult to treat the majority of chronic sinusitis sufferers. There are two treatment options available: medication and surgery.
Medicinal treatments may include nasal steroid sprays, antibiotics, saline nasal washes, or oral steroids. However, most sufferers of chronic sinusitis do not get full relief from these treatment options.
The goal of surgical treatment for chronic sinusitis is to improve sinus drainage and reduce blockage of the nasal passages. Nasal surgery is often performed to enlarge the natural opening of the sinuses, remove nasal polyps, or correct significant structural problems inside the nose and sinuses.
Balloon Sinuplasty is a breakthrough surgical treatment available to chronic sinusitis sufferers and the can be provided by the Birmingham ENT professionals at ExcelENT of Alabama.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call our Birmingham office at or email us.