An Overview of Sinusitis
What Is Nasal Endoscopy?
A nasal endoscope is a special tube-like instrument equipped with tiny lights and cameras used to examine the interior of the nose and sinus drainage areas.
A nasal endoscopy allows your doctor to view the accessible areas of the sinus drainage pathways. Your nasal cavity may first be numbed using a local anesthetic (some cases do not require any anesthetic). A rigid or flexible endoscope is then placed in position to view the middle bone structure of the nasal cavity.
The procedure is used to observe signs of obstruction as well as detect nasal polyps hidden from routine nasal exam. During the endoscopic exam, the doctor also looks for any structural abnormalities that would cause you to suffer from recurrent sinusitis.
How Is Sinusitis Treated?
Treatment for sinusitis depends on its severity.
- Acute sinusitis. If you have a simple sinus infection, your health care provider may recommend treatment with decongestants like Sudafed and steam inhalations alone. Use of nonprescription decongestant nasal drops or sprays may also be effective in controlling symptoms. However, these medicines should not be used beyond their recommended use, usually four to five days, or they may actually increase congestion. If antibiotics are given, they are usually given for 10 to 14 days. With treatment, the symptoms usually disappear and antibiotics are no longer required.
- Chronic sinusitis. Warm moist air may alleviate sinus congestion. A vaporizer or inhaling steam from a pan of boiling water (removed from heat) may also help. Warm compresses are useful to relieve pain in the nose and sinuses. Saline nose drops are also safe for home use. Use of nonprescription decongestant nasal drops or sprays might be effective in controlling symptoms, however, they should not be used beyond their recommended use. Antibiotics or oral steroids may also be prescribed.
Other Treatment Options for Sinusitis
Addressing potential triggers or contributing factors is a key first step in the management of sinusitis. To reduce congestion due to sinusitis, your doctor may prescribe nasal sprays (some may contain steroid sprays), nose drops, or oral decongestant medicine. If you suffer from severe chronic sinusitis, oral steroids might be prescribed to reduce inflammation -- usually only when other medications have not worked. Antibiotics will be prescribed for any bacterial infection found in the sinuses (antibiotics are not effective against a viral infection). An antihistamine may be recommended for the treatment of allergies. Antifungal medicine may be prescribed for a fungal sinus infection. Immunoglobulin (antibodies) may be given if you have certain immune deficiencies.
Will I Need to Make Lifestyle Changes?
Smoking is never recommended, but if you do smoke, you should refrain during treatment for sinus problems. No special diet is required, but drinking extra fluids helps to thin secretions.