Skip to content

    Allergies Health Center

    Font Size

    Sinus Problems: A Glossary

    If you have problems with your sinuses, you should know these terms.

    Ageusia. The loss of the sense of taste. It can happen when you lose your sense of smell due to blocked sinuses.

    Recommended Related to Allergies

    Smog: Not an Allergen, but an Irritant

    For people with allergies and asthma, sometimes the very air they breathe can be bad for their health. That’s because a variety of pollutants in our air -- collectively called smog -- can aggravate asthma and allergy symptoms, leaving people with these conditions struggling to breathe.

    Read the Smog: Not an Allergen, but an Irritant article > >

    Anosmia . The loss of the sense of smell. It can happen when your anterior ethmoid sinuses, located between the eyes, get blocked.

    Balloon sinuplasty. This procedure can open up your sinuses, much like a heart surgeon uses a balloon angioplasty to free blocked blood vessels to your heart. You can get it done in a doctor’s office, under local anesthesia.

    Barosinusitis. This is a sudden pain in one sinus area. It’s caused by swelling and closure of the opening to the sinus.

    Cilia. These tiny hair-like structures help move mucus out of your sinuses.

    Decongestants . These drugs ease your stuffy nose. They narrow your blood vessels and reduce blood flow to your nasal passages.

    Deviated septum . It’s a shift in the vertical bone (septum) that divides the right side of your nose from the left.

    Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS). Your surgeon will use a tool called an endoscope to look into your nose. Then he’ll remove blockages to help your sinuses drain.

    Mucus. The material made by the sinuses. Under normal conditions, they make about 6 cups of it a day. But allergies or other triggers like smoking can boost your mucus factory.

    Nasal wash. A treatment that involves rinsing your sinus passages with a saline solution made at home or bought over-the-counter.

    Nasal endoscopy. Your doctor uses a tool called an endoscope to look at the inside of your nose and sinus drainage area. Also called rhinoscopy or sinus endoscopy.

    Nasal steroid spray or drops. Treatments used to ease swelling in the nasal passages.

    Polyps, nasal. Tissue growths that can block your sinus passages.

    Post-nasal drip. This is mucus from your sinuses that drains down the back of your throat.

    Rhinoscopy. See endoscopy.

    Septoplasty. A surgical procedure meant to straighten the nasal septum, a vertical bone that divides the two halves of your nose.

    Sinuses. These hollow air spaces lie behind your cheekbones, and between and just above your eyes. They make mucus, which normally drains into your nose. You might feel pain if the drainage is blocked due to a cold or allergy.

    Saline rinse. You use it to clean out your sinuses. You can buy one over-the-counter or make at home by mixing salt and water.

    Turbinate. These structures within your nose, also called conchas, help moisten and filter the air as it passes through.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Luqman Seidu, MD on January 23, 2016

    Today on WebMD

    man blowing nose
    Make these tweaks to your diet, home, and lifestyle.
    Allergy capsule
    Breathe easier with these products.
    cat on couch
    Live in harmony with your cat or dog.
    Woman sneezing with tissue in meadow
    Which ones affect you?

    blowing nose
    woman with sore throat
    lone star tick
    Woman blowing nose

    Send yourself a link to download the app.

    Loading ...

    Please wait...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    cat lying on shelf
    Allergy prick test
    Man sneezing into tissue
    Woman holding feather duster up to face, twitching