Chronic sinusitis affects nearly 29 million Americans. When you’re struggling with lasting or recurring sinus problems, each day of a flare-up can feel miserable. The nasal congestion, sinus pain, headaches, and sinus pressure can keep you up at night, interfere with your favorite activities, and reduce your work productivity. If you’re struggling with chronic sinusitis, available treatments can help you get relief.
Nearly everyone experiences nasal congestion at some point. It occurs when nasal tissues swell from dilated blood vessels. Allergies, nasal infections, and growths called polyps are common culprits. Most of the time, nasal congestion is harmless and resolves on its own without treatment. When your stuffy nose lingers or seems to come back again and again, it’s time to see a specialist like Dr. Ulrike Ziegner at Riviera Allergy Medical Center to get to the root of the problem.
How chronic sinusitis affects your health
Chronic sinusitis endures for at least 8 weeks. At first, symptoms may feel like a minor annoyance. Over time, however, they may become more severe and last for longer periods before easing up. Some people may feel like the symptoms are always present
As symptoms worsen, patients may experience total or near total nasal obstruction, making it extremely difficult or impossible to breathe through the nose. Patients with chronic sinusitis may also experience:
- Pain and swelling around the eyes
- Swelling around the cheeks and forehead
- Sleep interference
- Postnasal drainage
- Reduced taste
- Reduced or loss of sense of smell
- Ear pain
- Jaw pain
The goal of sinusitis treatment is to reduce inflammation and encourage proper drainage of the sinuses to relieve your symptoms. The approach to treatment is individualized from person to person. Ideally, identifying the underlying cause serves as a guide for creating the most appropriate treatment plan. When an underlying cause is found, such as allergies, treatment is aimed in that direction. To ease your symptoms, treatment may involve:
Corticosteroid sprays may be used alone or with other treatment options. Nasal corticosteroids reduce swelling of the nasal mucosa over time, resulting in some relief from nasal congestions and other symptoms related to chronic sinusitis. For long-term relief, patients may need to use a nasal steroid spray for several months.
A topical decongestant is a very temporary fix and has many adverse events, including blood clot formation, elevated blood pressure, rebound congestion and drug dependency. Dr. Ziegner is not a fan of decongestants!
Sometimes a bacterial sinus infection is the underlying cause of chronic sinusitis, and antibiotics may be prescribed. Chronic sinusitis inflammation increases the risk for recurring sinus infections. Sinuses that fail to drain properly can create a breeding ground for bacteria to thrive. Treating chronic sinus problems not only relieves symptoms, it reduces the risk for recurring sinus infections.
If you’re struggling with chronic sinusitis, we can help. Call our Redondo Beach, California, office at 310-504-3242 to book an appointment with Dr. Ziegner. You can also send a message to Dr. Ziegner and the team here on our website.