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If you have problems with your sinuses, here are some terms you should know.

Ageusia. The loss of the sense of taste, sometimes occurring in those patients who have a loss of the sense of smell due to blocked sinuses.

Anosmia. The loss of the sense of smell, a side effect of the blockage of the anterior ethmoid sinuses, located between the eyes.

Balloon sinusplasty. With this procedure, done in a doctor's office under local anesthesia, a doctor can open up the sinuses much like a heart surgeon opens blocked blood vessels to the heart with balloon angioplasty.

Barosinusitis. Sudden pain in one sinus area due to swelling and closure of the opening to the sinus.

Cilia. Tiny hair-like structures on the sinus membrane surface that help move mucus out of the sinuses.

Decongestants. Decongestants are drugs that decrease nasal congestion by causing constriction of blood vessels and reduced blood flow to nasal passages.

Deviated septum. A variation in the vertical bone (septum) separating the right and left side of the nose.

Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS). Sinus surgery in which the surgeon uses a viewing device called an endoscope to look into the nose. This surgery removes blockages to the drainage areas of the sinuses.

Mucus. The material produced by the sinuses. Under normal conditions, the sinuses produce up to 1.5 liters of mucus a day. But allergy or other environmental triggers can increase mucus production and its characteristics.

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

Nasal endoscopy. An examination of the interior of the nose and sinus drainage area with a special viewing device called an endoscope. Also called rhinoscopy or sinus endoscopy.

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

Polyps, nasal. Sinus tissue growths that can block the sinus passages and can lead to sinus blockage.

Post-nasal drip. Drainage of mucus from the sinus that can collect in the back of the throat.

Rhinoscopy. Same as nasal endoscopy.

Septoplasty. Surgical procedure meant to straighten the nasal septum (vertical bone separating right and left sides of the nose).

Sinuses. Hollow air spaces within the cheekbones, between the eye, and in the forehead. Sinuses produce mucus, which normally drains into the nose. But if the drainage is blocked due to a cold or allergy, pain can result.

Saline rinse. Rinsing of sinus passages with a saline solution, either bought commercially or made at home by mixing salt and water.

Turbinate. Structures within the nasal cavity, also called conchas, that help to humidify and filter air as it passes through the nose.


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