Chronic Sinusitis Treatment in Denver, CO
Chronic sinusitis isn’t just a frustrating condition — it can seriously impact your ability to breathe well, sleep soundly, and lead a pain-free life. Fortunately, our specialists at Advanced ENT have years of experience successfully treating sinusitis, and we’re ready to put together a custom treatment plan for you. If you want to learn how to manage your symptoms and find long-term relief, our team has you covered.
What Is Chronic Sinusitis?
Sinusitis comes in two main varieties: chronic and acute. Chronic sinusitis occurs when your nasal passages and sinus cavities are inflamed for a long time (usually three months or more).
Acute sinusitis lasts a shorter period of time, with most cases persisting for between two weeks and two months. Chronic sinusitis also differs from recurrent acute sinusitis, which involves relapsing episodes of short sinus infections.
Because of its complexities, chronic sinusitis requires specialized treatment. If you’re unsure which type of sinusitis you’re dealing with (or not sure that it’s sinusitis at all!), look at the list of symptoms in the next section.
Symptoms of Chronic Sinusitis
Chronic sinusitis can affect multiple areas of your life, including your ability to breathe, sleep, and smell. Here are some telltale chronic sinusitis symptoms:
- Nasal congestion
- Sore throat
- Constant throat clearing
- Runny nose
- Mild worsening of underlying asthma
- Post-nasal drainage
- Mild sinus pressure
- Chronic cough
- Hoarse voice
- Difficulty sleeping
Since most people with chronic sinusitis experience only one or two of these symptoms, it’s not always easy to diagnose accurately. In many cases, you’ll have to examine the root cause of your symptoms before you can get started with treatment.
Causes of Chronic Sinusitis?
Chronic sinusitis typically arises when your sinuses are unable to drain properly and facilitate airflow. Lots of underlying issues can bring about chronic sinusitis, including:
- Allergies: If you’re prone to seasonal allergies (also known as hay fever), you might experience sinusitis when allergens like pollen and pet dander are rampant.
- Respiratory tract infections: A viral or bacterial infection can thicken your mucus, blocking sinus drainage and leading to increased swelling.
- Nasal polyps: Nasal polyps are benign tissue growths in your nasal passages or sinuses. When they’re severe, polyps can restrict your sinus passages and obstruct airflow.
- A deviated nasal septum: A crooked septum — the wall between your nostrils — can block your sinus passages, worsening the symptoms of sinusitis for months or even years.
To discover the specifics of your condition, you should schedule an appointment with a team of specialists like Advanced ENT. We’ll isolate the reason for your sinusitis and craft a personalized treatment approach to get you lasting relief.
Diagnosis of Chronic Sinusitis
Thankfully, with the help of a doctor, diagnosing chronic sinusitis is relatively simple. After studying your medical history and reviewing your symptoms, your doctor will usually do a nasal endoscopy, where they’ll inspect the inside of your nose with a tiny scope.
To confirm the diagnosis, you might also need to do a low-dose CT scan. Though it sounds complicated, the test takes only a few minutes, and it can be completed in the office.
Once your doctor has reached a diagnosis, they’ll recommend the treatment plan that will most effectively alleviate your symptoms.
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.
Treatment of Chronic Sinusitis
Often, medications serve as the front line of defense against sinusitis. Though they don’t always resolve the condition completely, they can offer quick relief from your symptoms. These are popular options to consider:
- Antihistamines (Claritin, Zyrtec, Allegra)
- Decongestant nasal sprays (don’t use these for more than three days!)
- Anticholinergic nasal sprays
- Saline nasal sprays
- Steroid nasal sprays
While some doctors prescribe antibiotics for sinus infections, we usually steer clear of using them in our treatments. In most cases, antibiotics aren’t very effective. Even when they are, your symptoms will likely return right after you finish your course of antibiotics!
If allergies are the reason for your sinusitis, allergy shots or allergy drops are the best way to fight back. Both treatments work by gradually introducing your body to allergens, allowing you to slowly develop a tolerance to the unwanted substance.
Allergy drops are an effective and convenient way to treat allergies. By using them at home each day, you’ll diminish your symptoms and prevent new allergies from popping up.
When it comes to treating chronic sinusitis in the long run, surgery is frequently the strongest option. We’ll walk you through two common paths you can take: balloon sinuplasty and endoscopic sinus surgery.
Balloon sinuplasty (FESS): Balloon sinuplasty is a quick, minimally invasive procedure that opens blocked sinus ducts, relieving congestion, sinusitis, and other painful symptoms. Your doctor will guide a tiny balloon into your sinus passages, gently inflate the balloon to relieve blockages, then deflate and remove the balloon.
Balloon sinuplasty comes with a handful of key benefits: It’s low-risk, offers a short recovery, can be performed in-office, and almost always brings long-term relief.
Endoscopic sinus surgery: Endoscopic sinus surgery is a slightly more robust alternative to balloon sinuplasty. Though you should be able to return home the same day, this procedure is more involved and comes with a longer recovery time.
Your surgeon will use an endoscope (a tiny camera rod) to magnify and explore the sinus tissues. Then, they’ll make corrections to your tissues with the help of specialized instruments. During the surgery, they might alleviate swelling, remove polyps and scar tissue, straighten your septum, or reduce the size of your turbinates.
Once you’ve recovered from the surgery, you should notice clear, long-term improvement in your symptoms.
Lifestyle Changes & Home Remedies
To better manage your sinusitis, it’s a great idea to combine in-office treatments like surgery with lifestyle changes and home remedies. Keep these tips in mind to minimize your sinus problems.
Rest and Hydrate
Rest allows your body to recover more rapidly and fight inflammation. Drinking plenty of water will loosen your mucus, encouraging nasal drainage and soothing the pressure in your sinuses.
Inhaling steam is another fast way to ease your symptoms. Breathe in the vapor from a bowl of hot water or take a long shower, allowing the warm, moist air to alleviate your sinus pain.
Drape a warm towel over your nose and forehead to hydrate your sinuses and breathe a little easier for the day.
Rinse Your Sinuses
Rinsing out your sinuses — also called nasal lavage or nasal irrigation — is an excellent option for people who need at-home relief. Use a squeeze bottle, saline canister, or neti pot filled with saline solution to clear out your nasal passages.
Remember: Use only distilled water and clean your neti pot after each use to avoid making your condition worse!
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Can Chronic Sinusitis Be Cured?
Usually, the symptoms of chronic sinusitis can be cured — but it’ll take diligence and an expertly built treatment plan to eliminate your symptoms. If you weave together at-home remedies, lifestyle changes, medications, and (in some instances) an in-office procedure, you’ll be on your way to erasing the negative impact that sinusitis has on your life.
How to Prevent Chronic Sinusitis
To help you stop sinusitis before it even begins, our team at Advanced ENT has compiled a list of defenses to keep in mind:
- Wash your hands consistently with soap and water.
- Avoid allergens (pollen, pet dander, dust, mold).
- Treat underlying conditions (for example, asthma or allergies).
- Don’t smoke and steer clear of secondhand smoke.
- Use a humidifier and air purifier.
- Eat healthy foods and exercise regularly.
- Rinse your nasal passages with a saline solution.
When to See a Doctor
If you’ve been experiencing a sinus infection for several weeks or months, you should meet with a doctor. You should also see a specialist if:
- You have severe symptoms, such as a headache that won’t go away or persistent facial pain.
- Your symptoms improve slightly, then continue to get worse.
- You have a fever that lasts more than four days.
- You have a stiff neck or swollen eyes.
- Your vision or mental state has changed.
- Your sinusitis is preventing you from sleeping.
Get Lasting Relief
Sinusitis isn’t meant to be a lifelong condition — and, thanks to our team of specialists at Advanced ENT, it doesn’t have to be. We’ll collaborate with you to design a treatment plan that relieves your symptoms, matches your lifestyle, and helps you achieve your goals.
If you’re ready to free yourself from the burden of chronic sinusitis, call us at (303) 792-3242 or book an online or in-person appointment today.