Sinusitis refers to an inflammatory infection that affects the sinuses. The infection is caused by bacteria, allergies, viruses or fungi. Sinusitis is an infection that can affect people of all ages. Acute sinusitis lasts for 3-8 weeks, and the chronic form which is to last for more than 8 weeks.
Sinuses refer to the air-filled chambers that are affected by the condition. These openings are blocked and the tissues become swollen. Sinuses are located in the following areas:
- To the sides of the nose's bridge
- Behind the eyebrows and forehead
- In the bony structure located in the cheeks
- Behind your nose
Sinusitis is an infection seen on the inner parts of the body. There are mechanisms a doctor can use for the detection of sinusitis. In most cases, a doctor will start by looking at the symptoms such as:
- Tenderness around the face
Since the infection causes blockage of the sinuses and swelling, tenderness is one of the most evident symptoms that can reveal sinusitis.
Once inflammation begins, it is possible to observe swelling around the nasal tissues. A doctor will look into your nose to observe this.
Due to the inflammation and blocking of the sinuses. This affects the inner tissues and a person produces bad breath.
- Nasal discharge
Once you have the infection, the sinuses become swollen. As a result, there is production of fluids from these tissues. A doctor will examine you to see if you have any nasal discharge. In most cases, sinusitis patients will have a discolored discharge, either yellow or green.
- Nasal endoscopy
A popular method used to diagnose chronic sinusitis. To do this, an endoscope (thin flexible tube) is driven into the nose and the sinuses. The endoscope contains a fiber-optic camera that allows the doctor to view the sinuses.
- Sinus and nasal cultures
This is a very rare method, and is mostly used for chronic sinusitis. This method is used when the infection does not respond to other treatment options. Tissue culture is done to rule out causes.
- Imaging studies
This is a more complex method of diagnosis. It is able to give more accurate results and detect deep inflammation. During this process, images are taken by use of MRI or CT scan that shows the sinuses and surrounding area.
- Needle acupuncture
This is a rare procedure only used in particular cases. It is used to determine the type of microbe responsible for the condition. A very thin needle is driven into the affected area. As a result, tests can be done to determine the type of microbe responsible for the infection.
Who to consult
Once you detect symptoms that may suggest you have sinusitis, it is important to visit the right specialist for diagnosis. They may include:
- ENT Specialist (ears, eyes, nose and throat)
- Infectious disease specialist
The bottom line
Sinusitis is an infection that can manifest from simple causes such as bacteria or fungi. However the infection can be dangerous, especially if it turns chronic. Visit your doctor as soon as you start to experience symptoms to prevent dangerous side effects.