Sinusitis is a very common condition and it is very rare that any medical treatment is needed. In fact, some 75% of people find that it just goes away by itself. Most of the time, sinusitis is caused by a viral infection, and our body essentially just needs to rid itself of this. Usually, sinusitis lasts about two to three weeks, which is what sets it apart from the common cold. Most people will simply take some over the counter painkillers and perhaps some decongestants in order to relieve the symptoms of a sinus infection.
When Medical Treatment Is Needed
If the sinusitis symptoms have not improved after a week, if the symptoms are getting worse or if you find you are suffering from chronic sinus inflammation, it is time to see your family doctor. There are three main treatment options available, which are:
• Sprays or drops with steroids
• Surgery, which is only offered once other types of treatment have failed
All three of these types of treatment are only offered if the sinusitis is very bad and the symptoms are not improving. Usually, you will be referred to an ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) specialist. Here, tests will be performed to see why you are suffering from persistent or chronic sinusitis. Generally, this is only done once you have had sinusitis for several months.
Antibiotic Sinusitis Treatment
If you have severe symptoms of sinusitis and find that the symptoms are not getting any better after about a week, you may be prescribed with antibiotics. It is quite common for people to develop a bacterial infection when they contract sinusitis and it is this infection that has to be treated with antibiotics. Remember that a virus does not respond to antibiotic treatment at all.
Steroid Sprays and Steroid Drops Sinusitis Treatment
The second type of treatment is found in steroid drops or steroid sprays. Sometimes, a family doctor or ENT specialist may prescribe steroid implants too. Steroids may help to bring down the swelling in your sinuses. However, steroids have a lot of unpleasant side effects, so many doctors are reluctant to prescribe these acute sinusitis remedies.
Surgical Sinusitis Treatment
If after using antibiotics and steroids your symptoms still do not improve, whether in acute sinusitis or chronic sinusitis, you may be recommended to go for surgery. This type of surgery is known as FESS – Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery – and is designed to relieve difficulties with an affected sinus, as well as removing the sinusitis causes. This is a very common option for the treatment of sinusitis and usually relieves the symptoms very quickly. Most of the time, FESS is performed under general anesthetic, but it is becoming increasingly common for surgeons to use local anesthetic instead, simply numbing your nose. During the procedure, an endoscope will be inserted into your nose. Because an endoscope is equipped with a camera, the surgeon will be able to see inside your cavities and examine the drainage channels of your sinuses. At this point, the surgeon will:
• Remove tissues that need to be removed. A lot of people develop nasal polyps, which are unwanted growths, that block the sinus that is affected; or
• Place a tiny balloon inside your sinuses and inflate this, thereby opening up the drainage passages and removing sinus pressure. This procedure is known as balloon catheter dilation.
The surgery is designed to improve sinus drainage, allowing your sinuses to function the right way. Sometimes, a surgeon will place an implant in your nose, which will dissolve over time. This device is designed to open the sinuses and deliver mometasone, a steroid drug, directly to the lining of the sinus. Should you have any further questions about acute sinusitis surgery, you should speak to a medical professional or read up on any information available on FESS or on balloon catheter dilation.