Sinuses are empty cavities within your cheek bones, around your eyes and behind your nose. Their main job is to warm, moisten and filter air in your nasal cavity. Sinus problems develop when there is a blockage of the sinuses due to nasal congestion or when there is inflammation within the sinuses. You may experience pressure around your nose – eyes or forehead, a stuffy nose, excessive nasal drainage, post-nasal drip, cough, head congestion, ear fullness or a headache. Symptoms may also include a toothache and loss of the sense of smell.
Allergies and Sinus Infections
Often times, sinus symptoms are due to allergies. Allergies put you at risk for developing sinus infections because allergies can cause swelling of the sinuses and nasal mucosal linings. This swelling causes pressure symptoms and also prevents the sinus cavities from draining, increasing your chances of developing secondary bacterial sinusitis. Our doctors can help determine whether allergies are causing your symptoms and can treat you medically even there are no allergies.
To make a diagnosis, our doctors will take a detailed history and perform a physical examination. He or she may perform allergy testing or order a sinus CT scan to look for anatomical obstruction of the sinuses by a deviated septum or nasal polyps.
Treating a Sinus Condition
If you test positive for allergies, we can prescribe appropriate medications to control your allergies, possibly reducing your risk of developing an infection. Management may include environmental controls for allergies, nasal saline rinses, steroid nasal sprays, and an antibiotic if infection is present. Allergy shots, or desensitization, often results in resolution of the recurrent sinus infections. Even if you are not allergic, our doctors are trained to medically treat sinus conditions and prevent the need for surgical intervention. For example, in patients with nasal polyps, surgery is not the only treatment. Treatment with biologics, such as Dupixent which an injectable monoclonal antibody and very safe, has been shown to shrink polyps.