If you struggle with sinus infections (sinusitis), you’re not alone. Almost 12% of US adults have chronic sinusitis (sinus infections lasting longer than 12 weeks). Unfortunately, these types of infections can be difficult to treat.
At Jacksonville ENT Surgery, we have good news for patients in Jacksonville and Lake City, Florida. Our board-certified ear-nose-throat (ENT) providers, Charles Greene, MD, PhD, and Tara Condrey, PA-C, specialize in diagnosing and treating chronic sinusitis.
While this condition can be challenging to treat, our team helps patients find relief using nonsurgical therapies when possible and minimally invasive surgery when needed. Take a moment to learn more about chronic sinusitis and some of our favorite nonsurgical solutions for these pesky infections.
What is chronic sinusitis?
You have hollow spaces in the bones of your face around your eyes, nose, and cheeks. These are your sinus cavities.
Sinus cavities are lined with mucous membranes that produce mucus to keep your nasal passages moist. Having a cold or experiencing allergies can cause your sinuses to get irritated and inflamed.
When your sinuses are irritated, your mucous membranes produce more mucus. But because your sinuses are inflamed, this extra mucus can get trapped.
Inflamed sinuses full of extra mucus not only make it difficult to breathe, but they also create the warm, moist environment bacteria need to thrive. The result? You develop an infection in your sinuses called sinusitis.
For some people, sinusitis clears. But for about 29 million Americans, sinus infections last for three months or longer or keep coming back after seeming to improve. This is called chronic sinusitis, and it’s difficult to treat.
Why do I have chronic sinusitis?
The best way to understand why you’ve developed chronic sinusitis is to discuss your history and any current symptoms with a provider at Jacksonville ENT Surgery.
Your provider evaluates your medical and sinusitis history and performs a thorough exam, ordering any additional imaging studies or tests to get to the root cause of your sinusitis. Some of the most common reasons people develop chronic sinusitis include:
- Having frequent colds that increases inflammation and bacterial growth
- Having a deviated or crooked septum that blocks sinus drainage
- Having allergies that trigger chronic nasal tissue swelling
- Having nasal polyps that block your sinuses
- Having asthma, which increases your risk of chronic sinusitis
- Being immuno-compromised, which increases your risk of infections
You might also develop chronic sinusitis if you've been exposed to environmental irritants or pollutants. Studies show these can cause inflammation in your nasal passages and sinuses.
Are there nonsurgical solutions for sinusitis?
Yes! Before recommending more invasive therapies, the chronic sinusitis specialists at Jacksonville ENT Surgery suggest beginning treatment using conservative therapies, including:
- Nasal saline irrigation
- Corticosteroid nasal sprays
- Antibiotics to treat infection
- Antihistamines to manage allergies
- Nasal decongestants
- Warm compresses to ease pressure
- Identifying and avoiding triggers that cause irritation/inflammation
For personalized recommendations about which nonsurgical solutions are best for your sinusitis, schedule an appointment with a specialist at Jacksonville ENT Surgery.
What if conservative therapies don’t help my sinusitis?
When nonsurgical solutions aren’t enough to clear your chronic sinusitis, your Jacksonville ENT Surgery provider may recommend minimally invasive balloon sinuplasty.
FDA-cleared balloon sinuplasty effectively treats blocked nasal sinuses in patients with chronic sinusitis who haven’t found success with medications or other conservative therapies. During a balloon sinuplasty, your Jacksonville ENT Surgery provider places a small, flexible balloon into your nose.
The balloon is gradually inflated to gently dilate your sinus openings. By lightly pushing aside bones that block the opening, a balloon sinuplasty restructures your blocked sinuses and restores normal sinus drainage.
Your provider then deflates and removes the balloon, but your sinuses stay open even after the procedure is complete.
Have more questions about chronic sinusitis? Schedule an appointment online or over the phone at the Jacksonville ENT Surgery location nearest you.