Sinus Management

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Sinusitis, which is inflammation of the air-filled spaces of your sinuses, can cause headache, facial pain, nasal congestion and post-nasal drip. Sinusitis may not always be from an infection, particularly when it is recurrent or persistent.

If you have an acute infection (lasting less than 2 weeks), your primary care doctor should be able to treat you with a combination of antibiotics, nasal sprays, and decongestants. Alternatively, inflammation caused by recurrent sinus infections is often a result of a blockage in the opening that drains the sinuses into the nose. If the openings of the sinuses are blocked, a similar feeling of pressure may occur without a true infection.

Diagnosing Your Sinus Issue

Most true sinus infections do not respond to antibiotics, so if you have persistent or recurrent sinus problems, then you should schedule a visit to Metairie Sinus & Snoring so we can take a closer look at the cause of your recurrent problem. We offer many options for persistent sinusitis, which may include a combination of medical, in-office procedure, and/or surgical management.

In order to diagnose your sinus issue, the doctors at Metairie Sinus & Snoring may order a CAT scan or CT scan to offer a detailed X-ray of the sinuses, which do not show up on traditional imaging. We will also perform Nasal Endoscopy to painlessly examine the inside of your nose using a microscope or endoscope to evaluate the details of your septum, turbinates, and the opening of your sinuses.

Although sinusitis may manifest itself as a stuffy, runny nose, a true sinus infection also causes facial pain or pressure that is made worse when you bend over. Sinusitis may cause:

  • Facial pain, pressure or headaches
  • Ear pressure
  • Cough, fever, bad breath, and fatigue
  • Runny nose, nasal obstruction, and diminished sense of smell
  • Mouth breathing

One important thing to keep in mind, if you are suffering from a runny nose, is that not all runny noses are from sinuses. Instead, a draining nose may sometimes be from inflammation of the nose without involving the sinuses.

Allergies: Environmental allergies, which often involve dust, mold, grasses, and weeds, can cause enough inflammation of the nasal passage to block the openings of the sinuses causing infection.

Infection: Bacterial or viral disease may trigger nasal secretions, which cause the sinus and nasal lining to swell.

Structural Problems: Many factors may block the sinuses from draining, causing sinusitis, such as deviated septum. Other problems may be from blocked or small openings to the sinuses, or the turbinates may also become enlarged and block the sinus openings. Structural problems like these typically require surgical correction.

Vasomotor Rhinitis: This disorder is like having a hyper-reactive nose. The inside of the nose will normally swell up and down throughout the day, due to various factors, but a hyper-reactive nose may overreact causing congestion, obstruction, sinus pain, and excess nasal secretion.

Nasal Polyps: These “small balloons” are caused by long-term nasal and sinus inflammation, which may obstruct the sinuses and require surgical removal.

Fungal Sinusitis: An infection caused by fungi or an allergic response to fungi can result in fungal sinusitis, a condition that affects less than 10 percent of those who suffer from long-term sinus problems. Fungal sinusitis may require surgical intervention to remove the fungus.

Basically, there are four ways to treat recurrent sinus disease, though a great deal depends on the cause of your recurrent infections:

There are many types of Antibiotics can be used to treat a short – term / acute infection. Some patients may require a combination of multiple antibiotics to resolve infection. However, it is important to remember that antibiotics are not harmless and, over time, can lead to resistance and side effects. If you are prescribed antibiotics to treat your sinus issues year after year, then a formal evaluation with Metairie Sinus & Snoring maybe be the best way to identify the cause of your recurrent sinusitis.

Corticosteroid Nasal Sprays such as Nasonex™, Flonase™, Fluticasone, Veramyst™, Omnaris™, Nasacort™, as well as others may be used daily to reduce the swelling in your nose. These nasal sprays must be used everyday in order to be effective, since the benefit from these nasal corticosteroids takes 1-2 weeks. Side effects are minimal since the steroid has little penetration into the blood stream and they are not addicting.

Salt water (Saline) Sprays, which are available over-the-counter (Nedipot™, Ayr spray™, Ocean Spray™), are an excellent, safe way to keep your sinuses clean and rinse your sinuses of trapped mucous. They, too, are not addicting and may be used safely throughout the day.

Over-the-counter Nasal Decongestants such as Afrin™ or Neo-Synephrine™ reduce swollen nasal membranes. They clear nasal passages almost immediately and are useful in treating temporary, severe nasal congestion. They are safe to use for only 3-5 days because prolonged use may lead to rebound congestion or addiction.

Oral Decongestants like pseudoephedrine (Sudafed™) and phenylpropanolamine are available primarily over-the-counter and may also be considered for temporary relief of nasal congestion. However, patients with high blood pressure, enlarged prostate, or heart problems should consult with the physicians at Metairie Sinus & Snoring before using decongestants. Some decongestants may be combined to reduce the number of pills and are often given the suffix “-D” such as Claritin-D™, Allegra-D™. Other combination decongestant products include Tylenol–Sinus™ or Advil Cold and Sinus™.

Antibiotic resistance is a major issue of concern today; if one uses antibiotics for a long period of time or takes several antibiotics but continues to have infections, then the bacteria may have developed resistance to the most commonly prescribed antibiotics. You do not become “immune” to antibiotics; rather, the bacteria “learns” to tolerate the antibiotics (especially amoxicillin). Some patients have trouble tolerating antibiotics, and experience gastrointestinal side effects or rashes. Lastly, antibiotics do not treat the underlying cause of sinusitis and are not recommended.

Management of chronic sinusitis depends on what causes your recurrent infections. Continuously prescribing antibiotics often does not address the underlying problem with your sinuses, so there is minimal long-term benefit. At Metairie Sinus & Snoring, we treat recurrent sinus disease in the following ways:

  1. Identify the Underlying Cause The first step must always be finding out the underlying cause of your disease, not just treating the symptoms. For example, if your recurrent sinusitis is due to a clogged sinus opening, treating it with antibiotics will not result in a long-term solution.
  2. Allergy Management Allergies may be a cause of seasonal sinusitis, so Metairie Sinus & Snoring will typically screen for allergies as a source of your sinusitis to treat you appropriately.
  3. In-Office Procedures At Metairie Sinus & Snoring, we take a special interest in minimally invasive treatment techniques, such as Balloon Sinuplasty, for their quick recovery and brief downtime.
  4. Surgical Solutions If you suffer from chronic or repeat sinus infections and would like to seek long-term results, surgical methods might be appropriate for you, such as endoscopic sinus surgery and septoplasties. Sinus surgery is designed to “unblock” the sinus opening, remove diseased mucus lining, and drain the infection.

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