Causes and types of sinus infection
A sinus infection, or sinusitis, can be an enormously uncomfortable condition. A common problem often related to colds and allergies, sinusitis occurs when the sinuses have become blocked with fluid. The sinuses are a pathogen-friendly environment where bacteria, viruses, and fungi can thrive.
The two main types of sinusitis are acute sinusitis and chronic sinusitis.
Symptoms of sinusitis
Sinus infections affect millions of Americans annually. Characterized by the inflammation of the tissue lining of the nasal passages, a sinus infection can cause debilitating pain. Symptoms often include:
- Pressure or pain between the eyes
- Nasal congestion and stuffiness
- Loss of smell
- Tenderness in the face
- Obstructed breathing and disrupted sleep
- Dental pain
- Bad breath
Medications for sinusitis
Medications can offer some relief for patients experiencing a sinus infection. Common medicines used for sinus inflammation include:
- Decongestants. Used to alleviate congestion and unblock the nasal passages, decongestants shrink swollen nasal membranes and reduce fluid. If the nasal blockage is severe, anti-inflammatory medication may be needed.
- Nasal spray (nebulizer with medication). Pain and pressure-relieving medication can be inhaled via a nebulizer, a device that is used to administer medication in mist form. Treatments are often given 2-3 times a day.
- Probiotics. Some bacteria strains are beneficial and can inhibit the proliferation of harmful bacteria. Probiotics can help restore balance in the sinuses.
- Antibiotics. Bacteria-fighting medicines can be prescribed to limit bacterial growth.
Balloon sinuplasty and surgery for sinusitis
If a sinus infection lasts for more than a few weeks, Dr. Alexis Furze may consider balloon sinuplasty or surgery.
- Balloon Sinuplasty. In this minimally-invasive procedure, Dr. Furze inserts a small balloon device into the inflamed sinus. The balloon is then slowly filled with air. As the balloon expands, the sinuses are gently opened. The nasal passages are flushed with a saline solution, which drains the excess mucus. No incisions are made or tissue removed therefore recovery time is minimal.
- Surgery. If you suffer from a prolonged sinus infection that has not been responsive to other treatments, Dr. Furze may recommend endoscopic sinus surgery. During sinus surgery, an endoscope is placed into the nasal passage so that Dr. Furze can see into the sinus cavities. Inflamed soft tissue, bone, and/or other blocking material are removed. Dr. Furze generally performs sinus surgery as an outpatient procedure at his Orange County practice.
Sinus consultation with Dr. Alexis Furze
A California board-certified nasal specialist, Dr. Alexis Furze uses the most advanced methods to treat sinusitis. He specializes in treating patients with chronic and recurrent sinusitis, helping them restore sinus function and regain their quality of life. If you are suffering from sinusitis, contact his office for an evaluation and a therapeutic recommendation.