Diagnosing and Treating Sinusitis

Illustration of man's head and sinus cavitiesSinusitis occurs when the tissues that line these cavities become inflamed and swollen. The condition can block your nasal passages, leading to infection and several other common symptoms. At Chesapeake Ear Nose & Throat, we offer diagnosis and treatment of both acute (temporary) and chronic (long-lasting) sinusitis. Our doctors will investigate the cause of your symptoms and provide targeted treatment so that you can find relief. To learn more about sinusitis, contact our Baltimore, MD-area practice today.

Diagnosing Sinusitis

Sinusitis is simply the inflammation of the sinus tissues. This can be due to a common cold or allergic reaction, fungal buildup, or a physical blockage such as nasal polyps (tissue growths) or a deviated septum. Once these cavities have become inflamed, you may notice:

  • Thick, colored nasal discharge
  • Difficulty or inability to breathe through your nose
  • Pain or soreness in your nose and surrounding tissues
  • Reduced senses of smell and taste
  • A cough and accompanying sore throat
  • Nausea

There are two types of sinusitis: chronic and acute. Acute sinusitis generally results from an allergic reaction or a common cold, and usually lasts between 10 days and eight weeks. Chronic sinusitis is generally diagnosed when symptoms persist for two months or longer. Unfortunately, some patients struggle with recurrent sinusitis that causes inflammation several times a year.

To properly diagnose sinusitis, one of our doctors will evaluate your sinuses using a special tool to look into your nasal cavities. Your doctor may perform an endoscopy using a long, thin lighted instrument to further examine your sinus cavities. Diagnostic imaging might also be used to gain a comprehensive view of the sinuses and nasal area.

Treating Sinusitis

To ultimately treat sinusitis, your doctor will need to identify and treat its underlying cause, as well as your symptoms. Your treatment may include:

  • Surgery - If you have chronic sinusitis caused by a physical blockage such as nasal polyps or a deviated septum, surgery can relieve your symptoms. Polyps can be surgically removed and a deviated septum can be corrected with functional rhinoplasty.
  • Antibiotics - Like surgery, antibiotics are designed to treat an underlying cause of sinusitis. If our doctors determine that your sinusitis is caused by a bacterial infection, we will prescribe antibiotics to relieve your sinusitis symptoms.
  • Antihistamines - Antihistamines and other types of allergy medication may be prescribed if your sinusitis is caused by allergies. 
  • Decongestants - Decongestants relieve congestion in your nasal cavities. These medications can open up nasal blockages, but will not treat underlying causes of sinusitis. Decongestants are commonly used to relieve your symptoms during the course of a common cold.
  • Steroids - Steroids help reduce swelling in your sinus tissues. Like decongestants, steroids are not designed to treat the underlying cause of your sinusitis, but rather mitigate your symptoms while other treatment is sought.

Contact Us to Learn More

If you are experiencing symptoms of sinusitis, contact Chesapeake Ear Nose & Throat today. We can determine the underlying cause of your sinusitis and help you find relief from your symptoms.