Chronic Sinusitis Treatment in Denver, CO
Chronic sinus problems can impact everything from your breathing to your sleep to your overall quality of life. The expert doctors at Advanced ENT have been successfully treating chronic sinusitis for years. Some of the possible treatments include allergy drops to reduce swelling, medication and sinus rinse therapies, and in-office procedures including balloon sinuplasty.
What Is Chronic Sinusitis?
When swelling causes sinus issues to occur on a long-term or frequent basis, a patient is diagnosed with chronic sinusitis. Common symptoms of sinusitis include a chronic cough, constant post-nasal drainage, headaches or facial pressure, a stuffy nose, and fatigue.
Chronic sinusitis is different from a one-off sinus infection, and these chronic sinus problems need to be treated with specialized methods. Medications, allergy treatments and minor sinus surgery procedures are the most common and effective ways to help chronic sinus issues.
Signs of Chronic Sinusitis
Chronic sinus problems can impact everything from your breathing, to your sleep, to your sense of smell. It is common for chronic sinusitis to cause symptoms such as:
- nasal congestion
- post-nasal drainage
- mild sinus pressure
- sore throat
- constant throat clearing
- hoarse voice
- mild worsening of underlying asthma
- difficulty sleeping
Most people with chronic sinusitis experience only one or two of these symptoms, often making it difficult to diagnose.
Chronic sinusitis also causes fatigue in almost everyone that has it. The ongoing sinusitis makes it more difficult to sleep, and meanwhile the immune system is exhausted from fighting the infection day after day. This combination can cause significant fatigue.
What Causes Chronic Sinusitis?
Chronic sinusitis is usually the result of the sinuses being unable to drain and receive airflow properly. Certain underlying issues make chronic sinusitis more likely – allergies are one of the most common issues that lead to chronic sinusitis because of the constant and severe inflammation they can cause. Treating allergies can usually help relieve sinusitis symptoms. A deviated septum, nasal polyps, and a history of having frequent colds can also contribute to the likelihood and worsening of chronic sinus problems.
How Is Chronic Sinusitis Different from Acute Sinusitis?
Acute sinusitis comes on suddenly and is easier to recognize than chronic sinusitis. Symptoms include pain in the face, thick or discolored mucus, and usually a fever. Chronic sinusitis, on the other hand, comes on very slowly and insidiously. Your immune system has a chance to keep things at bay, so symptoms can be much more difficult to recognize and diagnose.
The type and severity of symptoms also vary widely for chronic sinus issues. For instance, you may have a headache and some mild nasal congestion as your only symptoms of chronic sinusitis, while another person may have a chronic cough with some hoarseness.
How to Diagnose Chronic Sinusitis
Many patients we see with chronic sinusitis have been to multiple physicians prior without a diagnosis. An exam will usually include a nasal endoscopy, where a very small scope is used to look at the inside of the nose. This process is usually suggestive of the diagnosis, but a low dose CT scan – a 3-minute test that can be performed in the office – is needed to confirm the diagnosis of chronic sinusitis.
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Chronic Sinusitis Treatment Options
Medicines that decrease swelling in the nose can be effective as a short-term treatment of chronic sinusitis. These medications include antihistamines, decongestants, nasal sprays and nasal irrigations.
Because the chronic sinusitis infection is trapped inside the sinuses, antibiotics are usually not very effective. Often, antibiotics will decrease the symptoms of sinusitis only for the symptoms return soon after the antibiotics are finished.
The most effective long-term treatment for chronic sinusitis is a quick, simple procedure called FESS or Sinuplasty. In this procedure the sinus openings are enlarged, allowing the infection to drain. Larger sinus openings allow the sinuses to drain properly for many years, meaning fewer problems in the future.
This procedure can be performed very comfortably in the office without the need of a general anesthetic, allows you to be back to work in 2-3 days, and involves very little post-operative pain. In most cases, this procedure will keep chronic sinusitis from ever returning.
Following surgery for chronic sinusitis, the most exciting improvements for many people include increased energy, increased mood, and the elimination of brain fog.
Since underlying nasal allergies are often causing the swelling that leads to chronic sinusitis, treating your allergies aggressively with sublingual immunotherapy or allergy drops can also help eliminate your chronic sinus infections. These drops are used daily at home to treat your allergy symptoms, and also to keep new allergies from developing.
Our Expert Doctors Can Treat Chronic Sinusitis
Many of the patients we see with chronic sinusitis, especially those with chronic headaches, fatigue, cough, throat clearing, trouble breathing through their nose, and difficulty sleeping, have come to see us after a long journey to many other physicians. Primary care physicians, urgent care centers, different kinds of specialists, and other doctors are often unable to provide answers or guidance. Our doctors specialize in nose, sinus, and allergy issues only, so we are often able to make this difficult diagnosis and explain treatment options at the first visit.