Having a stuffy nose can really be a drag. It can be very uncomfortable, especially if it makes it difficult to breathe or sleep comfortably. And don’t forget how it interferes with how your food tastes, thus taking the joy out of eating. Decongestants can only do so much, but when you have a sinus condition, such as chronic sinusitis, they may not offer much relief.
What is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is a very common sinus condition. Approximately 35,000 people a year suffer from sinusitis. It often occurs because of having a virus infection like a cold or the flu that has caused the mucous lining in your nose to become inflamed. When this happens:
• You experience pressure and pain from the build up of mucus and fluid in your sinuses.
• Bacteria may grow in your sinuses and cause more pain and inflammation.
In many cases, viral or bacterial sinusitis will clear up on its own or with medication within two to four weeks or four to 12 weeks, respectively.
For people structural issues with their nose that makes them more susceptible, chronic sinusitis can make their lives miserable with symptoms lasting 12 weeks or more. What’s even worse is that this can happen several times a year with symptoms such as:
• Feelings of congestion
• Nasal blockage or obstruction
• Presence of pus in your nasal cavity
• Discolored postnasal drainage
• Dental pain
• Distorted sense of smell or taste
Think about it…every change of the season, every bout with allergies or anytime you catch a cold… you could continually suffer from these symptoms! This is where you might want to speak to a doctor about whether sinus surgery should be considered.
Surgery on your sinuses or nose can help if you have any of these structural problems with your nose or sinuses:
• Foreign objects that may be blocking your sinus or nasal passages
• Polyps, growths that may have grown inside your sinuses or nose
• Deviated septum
• Bone that causes a narrowing that can be reduced to allow a wider opening to allow mucus to drain from your sinuses
• Tissue that has been damaged from chronic infection or swelling that might be blocking drainage
Curing Chronic Sinus Problems with Surgery
Often surgery might be your only option for relieving your symptoms of chronic sinus issues such as sinusitis. Depending on the nature of your sinus condition, your surgeon may recommend one of two types of surgery:
• Endoscopic surgery where the surgeon will insert an endoscope, a thin, lighted tool up your nose into your sinuses. This will allow him or her to see if you have polyps, bone or a foreign object blocking your sinuses that they can then remove with the endoscope.
• Open sinus surgery through your face or mouth may be required if infection has spread to the facial bones or caused a brain abscess in severe cases.
These types of surgery are normally performed by an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist. ENTs are also called otolaryngologists. If you suffer from chronic sinus problems, you should discuss with your doctor whether surgery could help you.