If your sinus problems are causing breathing difficulties, pain, or extreme and persistent discomfort, it’s time to see an ENT or sinus specialist for relief. You may have what’s known as chronic sinusitis, a form of sinusitis that affects millions of adults every year.
Sinusitis is very common. However, many people use remedies and treatments that do little to treat the cause of their sinus problems. Medical treatment is the fastest and most effective way to get rid of sinus symptoms permanently.
Acute vs. Chronic Sinus
Sinusitis is often called rhinosinusitis (a.k.a “Sinus”), as symptoms involve the nasal and sinus cavities and are a significant source of distress for many.
Acute sinusitis can last up to four weeks. Chronic sinusitis can last over three months and linger off and on for years. The most common causes of acute sinusitis are colds or allergic reactions. Anyone with allergies, low immunity, or who suffers from frequent colds can develop chronic sinusitis.
Recurrent acute sinusitis occurs multiple times a year. Anyone who experiences repeat sinus symptoms should see an ENT or sinus specialist to determine if they have chronic sinusitis.
To diagnose sinus problems, an examination of the nasal cavity is necessary so the ENT specialist can rule out physical defects within the nose and sinus cavities that may be obstructing them. A visual examination is also helpful in determining the presence of inflammation or swollen nasal tissues.
To assess the health and function of the nasal airways, the ENT specialist uses a nasal endoscope to look inside the nose for about a minute or so under topical anesthesia. The device is a small tube with a light and camera attached at the end of it. Many don’t know it, but polyps, tumors, and nasal wall defects are common and normally don’t cause problems until infection develops in the nasal tissues.
Depending on the circumstances, additional tests or diagnostics may be ordered to rule out polyps, septum deviations, and other nasal tissue or sinus cavity deformities. In-office sinus CT scans are very commonly done in the office to determine the severity of the problem. Also, allergy symptoms can occur multiple times a year.
Allergies often cause symptoms that mimic cold and sinus infections. Allergy testing may be required for some individuals as well and can be done via blood or skin testing.
Once the cause is identified, treatment is necessary to open blocked passages to restore normal airflow and mucus drainage. Depending on the cause, patients may benefit from sinus procedures. In many cases, a combination of procedures and medications may be necessary.
Self-Care and Remedies
Though medical treatment is more beneficial, some cases of sinusitis go away on their own. Many sinusitis sufferers initially resort to the following measures to help hasten recovery and make symptoms more manageable.
Humidify – Humidifiers help increase moisture in the air when indoors and can soothe dry, irritated nasal passages when sinus infections are present. Steam sessions and vaporizing devices can help as well.
Rest and Self Care – Sinus infections are a sign of low immunity. Rest and self-care measures are beneficial to lessen sinus symptom severity and duration, and reduce the likelihood of future infections for mild/acute cases. Increasing hydration, maintaining a healthy diet, avoiding germs, bacteria and allergens, and anti-inflammatory meds can help provide some relief.
Store Bought Treatments – Decongestants, fever reducers, pain analgesics, and nasal rinses are helpful in making some sinus symptoms more manageable. Over time they do become less effective and some medications may not be recommended for long-term use. Patients who experience frequent sinus problems should see an ENT or sinus specialist for proper treatment and permanent relief.
Sinus Problem Treatments
Treatment is determined by the cause of the sinus issues. Sinus problems aren’t always caused by infection. Anatomical abnormalities of the nose or nasal/sinus airways are also a primary cause of sinus problems.
Successful sinus treatment includes a combination of different approaches — typically medication plus self-care. But antibiotics and surgery are ideal for those who experience limited symptom relief with those measures.
At the Southern California Sinus Institute, patients suffering from sinus problems or experiencing other nasal concerns benefit from the following procedures.
Balloon Sinuplasty is an in-office procedure that utilizes a special surgical balloon to widen the sinus and nasal airways to alleviate pressure, and pain, restore mucus drainage and make breathing easier. Balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive sinus treatment done in the office under local anesthesia in under 30 minutes in Dr. Alen Cohen’s expert hands.
Endoscopic Sinus Surgery is used to correct a deviated septum, remove nasal polyps, and repair defects of the nose that block the nasal airways. The procedure is performed in an outpatient surgical center and is a minimally invasive sinus treatment in Dr. Cohen’s hands.
Septoplasty is used to correct structural issues inside the nostrils and sinuses that block airflow, cause congestion, and impair breathing. The procedure is ideal for those experiencing sinus problems and other issues that impact the function of the nose. In some cases, septoplasty can be converted to septorhinoplasty.
Septorhinoplasty is done to correct external defects of the nose that affect its appearance, in addition to repairing the internal structure to improve function.
Alternative procedures available at the Southern California Sinus Institute may be more beneficial for those suffering from sinus and nasal congestion issues.
Contact Us Today!
If your sinus problems or nasal issues persist despite your efforts to mitigate them, it’s time for you to contact the Southern California Sinus Institute today! Dr. Alen Cohen can get you feeling and breathing better in no time.
Dr. Cohen is a renowned board-certified nose, sinus, head, and neck surgeon with over 17 years of experience in various nasal and sinus procedures, including balloon sinuplasty, endoscopic sinus surgery, and more, and has done over 10,000 nose and sinus procedures. He is the founder and director of the Southern California Sinus Institute. He’s performed thousands of successful nose and sinus procedures in-office. Don’t wait to contact him today!