Chronic or Recurrent Sinus Infections

What is Sinusitis?

Sinusitis means inflammation of the sinuses. It can be caused by many things. Most people think that sinusitis means that they have an infection. While this is often the case, it is not always true. Sometimes sinusitis can result from a flare-up of allergies. Even if it is an infection, the nature of it may be viral, and not necessarily bacterial. 

Sinusitis always results from either the sinuses not functioning properly (due to inflammation from a cold or allergies, or from rarer causes) or obstruction that is blocking the opening of the sinus (deviated septum, nasal polyps, etc).

When this happens, the sinuses fill-up and cause symptoms. Rarely, sinusitis can result from a lack of protective antibodies, which is an immune deficiency.

  • Congestion
  • Sinus pressure / pain
  • Fever
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Thick drainage
  • Teeth pain
  • Rhinitis

Runny nose, sneezing and sniffling are often not caused by sinusitis, but by rhinitis (inflammation of the nose). This can be caused by colds, allergies and irritant triggers as well as some other less common causes. If you have symptoms of sinusitis and rhinitis, then it is called “rhinosinusitis.”

Antibiotics and Sinusitis:

Antibiotics often don’t make a difference in the treatment of sinusitis. There are two reasons for this. The first is that antibiotics only kill bacteria, and sinusitis is not always caused by a bacterial infection. Antibiotics are prescribed more for sinusitis than any other condition, and are often not needed. This contributes to our growing problem with bacterial resistance to antibiotics. The second is that sinuses are hollow cavities in your skull with very little blood flow. Because of this, antibiotics do not reach the sinuses very well. When they are used, they need to be used in higher doses and for longer periods of time.

Types of Sinusitis

  • Acute
    • When symptoms last under 4 weeks
  • Sub-acute
    • When symptoms last between 4-12 weeks
  • Chronic
    • When symptoms last more than 12 weeks

When an appointment is made, we will go over your history carefully. We may perform allergy testing and rhinolaryngoscopy. We might obtain blood work to evaluate for immune deficiencies. We will develop a treatment plan for your symptoms.

If we find that your symptoms are best managed surgically rather than medically, or your symptoms fail to respond to medical management, we will send you to ENT (Ear Nose & Throat) medical professionals.