Chronic sinus infections are not uncommon. The condition leads to numerous visits to the doctor and sometimes ENT specialists, prescription medications and other treatments, and discomfort until the condition is controlled. Sinusitis must be effectively treated for patient health and relief from painful symptoms. Often, the first step to treating sinus issues is to discover what is creating them. Here, we explore some of the main causes of sinus issues.
When people suffer from sinus problems such as nasal congestion, facial pain, and headaches, allergies may be the cause. There are allergens present both indoors and outdoors, which can create a year-round issue. While antihistamine medications can curb allergy symptoms, the side effects may be drowsiness and dizziness. The inner ear may swell or become clogged with mucus during an allergy attack leading to fogginess or the feeling of being off balance, which is often exacerbated by medication.
People can be allergic to a host of things. Some are allergic to animals, specifically the dander that animals shed throughout their normal existence. This is especially problematic with indoor animals, such as dogs and cats as they reside in homes where spaces are confined and the same air recirculates. Touching an animal or by simply being inside a home where animals are present can lead to an allergy attack where the sufferer’s immune system overreacts to proteins found in their dander, saliva, or even urine.
Aside from pets, another main source of allergens is plants. Many plants reproduce by releasing seeds and pollen into the air. The particles are disbursed by gravity, wind, and other weather and invade people’s sinuses. If the person is allergic to these particles, the immune system will target them through histamines, triggering an inflammatory response. This can include sneezing, a runny nose, and puffiness throughout the face (typically the eyes and nose). Continual reactions can lead to chronic sinus infections.
Food allergies are thought of less frequently than pet and plant allergies though they can lead to the development of similar reactions. Consuming a food or being nearby as it is prepared can cause excess mucus to develop in the nose. The allergy sufferer may sneeze, which is the body’s natural response in attempting to dispel a particle form the body. The nose will also run as the body attempts to rid the sinuses of the particles by naturally flushing them out.
Individual anatomy may play a role in why a person experiences sinus infections. Often, a deviated septum is to blame. The septum is the internal wall of the nose that divides it into two air passageways. Constructed of bone and cartilage, the septum is somewhat malleable, meaning trauma can cause the curvature of the structure. Others suffer a deviated septum as a natural condition, or for other unknown reasons. When the nasal passages are not evenly divided, blockages can occur. People may not be able to fully breathe through the nose, and can have regular sinus infections because of the blockage.
The bones of the sinuses are hollow, and when excess mucus becomes trapped with no regular way to flow from these cavities, the conditions create a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and fungus. The proliferation of either can irritate the tissues of the nose, and cause further inflammation and pain.
Cold and Flu
A sinus infection can develop after a person has a head cold or respiratory flu. Residual mucus may have accumulated in the sinuses, and swelling of nearby membranes prevents normal drainage of the mucus out the nose or down to the stomach. Trapped fluid can result in a sinus infection and chronic headaches.
The symptoms of a sinus infection may be similar to a cold or flu, but will persist much longer. The discharge from the nose may be off-color and foul-smelling, and the person will note pain or pressure around the face. A sinus infection may be accompanied by an intermittent fever as the immune system attempts to fight it off.
The Solution: Balloon Sinuplasty
One effective, low-cost treatment for recurrent sinus infections is balloon sinuplasty. The procedure is typically performed under anesthesia for patient comfort. A thin surgical tube is guided up to the sinuses through the nostrils through an endoscope. Once the tubing is situated, a small balloon-like device is inflated at the cavity entrance. The tissues of the sinus can then be accessed, and flushed with a sterile, saline solution. This method is gentile, yet effective in irrigating the hard-to-reach sinuses. The use of an endoscope (miniature camera) prevents further damage to the already swollen, and sometimes scarred, tissues of the nose and sinus. The sinuses are flushed in a way that a session with a neti pot cannot match. During balloon sinuplasty, the sinuses are targeted with pressure, and the inflation of the balloon provides a more comprehensive treatment of the sinuses.
Following balloon sinuplasty, patients are free to return home as the procedure is performed on an outpatient basis. Due to the anesthesia, they must be accompanied on the ride and have someone available to assist them once home. Most patients are able to resume their schedule in one or more days following the procedure.
About Dr. Rubinstein – Facial Plastics and Balloon Sinuplasty Expert
Dr. Ran Y. Rubinstein, M.D. has been a practitioner in the Hudson Valley are for a decade-and-a-half. Dr. Rubinstein’s specialties include esthetic laser producers, facial plastic surgery, and nasal and sinus disorders. He expertly blends his knowledge in artistry of anatomy and modern science to help patients aesthetically and medically. The doctor is double board certified through the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. He is also a member of the American Society for Laser Medicine & Surgery, and an Assistant Professor at New York Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.
Visit the doctor’s Hudson Valley Sinus Center for a consultation to learn how you can benefit from balloon sinuplasty. Call Dr. Rubinstein’s office today at (845) 863-1772 to set up your initial appointment, or fill out a Patient Consultation Request Form on the website.