Nasal cavities (hollow sections in the skull) are covered with a mucous membrane that can become inflamed and swollen when infected. This leads to the cavities filling up with mucus and when accumulated and become obstructed, leads to a condition called Sinusitis.
Sinusitis can affect many individuals, whether adult or child and typically presents itself in two types:
Acute sinusitis also known as acute rhinosinusitis
Chronic sinusitis which lasts for at least eight weeks, even with treatment
Sinusitis can be caused by various factors, but they are commonly caused by:
Anatomical abnormalities of the nose - crooked nasal septum, untreated allergic rhinitis (allergic inflammation of airways in the nose), and tooth infections.
Fungal infections – usually affects people with a weakened immune system.
Viral and bacterial infections – can be resolved with the right treatment in a reasonable amount of time.
The typical signs and symptoms of a Sinusitis infection are:
Coughing caused by mucus dripping down the back of the throat
Difficulty breathing through the nose due to nasal congestion
Feeling full in the face
Feeling heavy in the head
Nausea and dizziness
Pain and swelling around the eyes, nose, cheeks and forehead
Reduced sense of smell and taste
Thick yellow- or green-coloured nasal discharge
Treatment for Sinusitis is usually quick and easy. Most of the time, antibiotics and decongestants will help manage an infection and allow the natural flow of mucous to be restored in more common cases. Treatment of chronic cases might require surgical intervention in order to reverse any obstructions in the sinuses. Surgical options include:
Balloon Sinuplasty - less invasive than FESS, it uses specialised instruments to insert a balloon to dilate the sinus opening and therefore restore normal mucus flow in the sinuses, without tissue or bone removal
Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) - a minimally invasive procedure that consists of inserting an endoscope through the nose to clear out infected tissues in the nose
Complications and other related disease
If left untreated, Sinusitis infections can spread to surrounding areas such as the eye socket and in more serious cases, the fluid surrounding the brain, leading to more serious complications.