Ear Nose & Throat

Sinusitis – Symptoms & Complications

More than 37 million people each year have at least one episode of a sinus infection.  The sinus division of our practice focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of sinusitis and other common nasal conditions such as:

  • Difficult Nasal Breathing
  • Allergic Rhinitis
  • Nasal Fracture or Deformity
  • Epistaxis

Sinusitis is often caused by a bacteria or virus, and is often aggravated by underlying environmental allergies.

Nose Anatomy

The sinuses are four paired, often air-filled cavities in the head whose exact function is not known. When they are normal they look black on a CT scan. When infected, they appear gray.

Common Symptoms of Sinusitis

There is a wide range of symptoms that may indicate sinusitis. Here are a few of the most common symptoms:

  • Facial pain, pressure, or congestion
  • Head fullness especially when bending over
  • Upper/maxillary teeth pain
  • Nasal discharge, post-nasal drainage, or difficult nasal breathing
  • Decreased smell or taste
  • Poor night time sleeping
  • Halitosis
  • Fatigue
  • Watery eyes
  • Fever

Complications of Sinus Infections

Here are the complications associated with sinus infections:

  • Orbital abscess
  • Brain abscess
  • Meningitis
  • CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) leak

Treatment of sinusitis is usually accessible to most people in the United States so complications associated with sinusitis are not seen very often.

Fungal Sinusitis

Fungal sinusitis occurs when there is a fungus ball in the sinus. This form of sinusitis can occur in diabetics, people with allergies, or those who are immunosuppressed. It most often requires surgery as a part of treatment.

The much more lethal invasive fungal sinusitis is quite rare. It requires immediate attention with aggressive surgery as it threatens vital structures such as the eye. If not treated immediately, the condition can cause vision loss and even death.

Acute sinusitis implies that the infection has been ongoing for less than 3 months. Chronic sinusitis episodes last three months or longer and can be ongoing.

If you are experiencing symptoms of sinusitis and it is decreasing your quality of life, contact us today to discuss your treatment options.