Sinusitis, also known as sinus infection or
rhinosinusitis, is a very common condition where the paranasal sinuses are inflamed,
causing congested nose, headache and facial pain.
Paranasal sinuses are air cavities in the bones of the skull. There are four pairs of
sinuses located on either side of the head. They are the maxillary, frontal, ethmoid,
and sphenoid sinuses. The sinuses are lined with respiratory epithelium
producing mucus. The mucus drains into the nasal cavity through small openings. Impaired
sinus drainage has been associated with inflammation of sinuses. When a sinus is blocked, fluid
builds up, making it a favorable environment for bacteria or viruses grow and cause infection.
A typical sinusitis symptom is described as a dull pain or constant pressure commonly
localized to the affected sinus. The pain may worsen when the person bends over or while
lying down. Symptoms often start on one side of the head and spread to the other side.
Acute sinusitis may be also be accompanied by thick nasal discharge of yellow greenish
color. Sinusitis may have different causes. These
include: – Allergy: allergens such as pollen, pet dander…
may trigger inflammatory response of the mucosa of the nose and sinuses, resulting in excess
mucus production, nasal congestion, sneezing and itching.
– Infection: infection usually occurs as a complication of a common cold. Impaired sinus
drainage due to inflammation of nasal mucosa during a cold often leads to infection of
the sinus itself. Cold-like symptoms plus headache, facial pain or pressure are common
complaints. – Other conditions that cause blockage of
sinus drainage. These include: structural abnormalities such as deviated nasal septum;
formation of nasal polyps. Treatments vary depending on the cause of
sinusitis: – For allergy: intranasal corticosteroids
are commonly used. – For viral infection: symptom relief medications
such as nasal spray for irrigation and decongestion; other conservative treatment for common cold
such as rest and drinking plenty of fluid. – For bacterial infection: antibiotics may
be prescribed. – For recurrent or chronic sinusitis due to
structural abnormalities or nasal polyps, nasal surgery may be recommended to clear
up the drainage canal.