General Practice 2022

Sinusitis: what é, symptoms, types, causes and treatment

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Sinusitis: what é, symptoms, types, causes and treatment
Sinusitis: what é, symptoms, types, causes and treatment

Sinusitis is inflammation of the sinuses, which are small cavities in the skull, around the nose and eyes. Sinusitis generates symptoms such as headache, runny nose and a feeling of heaviness in the face, especially in the forehead and cheekbones.

Generally, sinusitis is caused by the Influenza virus and, therefore, is very common during flu attacks, but it can also arise due to the development of bacteria in nasal secretions, which are trapped inside the sinuses, such as happens after allergies.

Sinusitis is curable and its treatment should be guided by a general practitioner or otolaryngologist, usually including the use of nasal sprays, analgesics, oral corticosteroids or antibiotics, for example.

How to identify symptoms

The main symptoms of sinusitis are the appearance of thick, yellowish nasal discharge, accompanied by a feeling of heaviness or pressure on the face.

To find out if you may have sinusitis, check in the following test which symptoms of sinusitis you have:

  1. 1.Pain in the face, especially around the eyes or nose Yes No
  2. 2.Constant headache Yes No
  3. 3.Heaviness in the face or head especially when bending down Yes No
  4. 4.Nasal congestion Yes No
  5. 5.Fever above 38ยบ C Yes No
  6. 6.Bad breath Yes No
  7. 7.Yellow or greenish nasal discharge Yes No
  8. 8.Cough that gets worse at night Yes No
  9. 9.Loss of smell Yes No


Make an appointment with a specialist

Symptoms of sinusitis can be difficult to distinguish from symptoms of allergy, and therefore, when the allergy lasts longer than 7 days, it should be evaluated by a general practitioner or otolaryngologist to initiate appropriate treatment.

What are the main types of sinusitis

Sinusitis can be divided into several types, depending on the sinuses affected, the duration of symptoms, and the type of cause. Thus, when sinusitis affects only the sinuses on one side of the face, it is known as unilateral sinusitis, while when it affects sinuses on both sides, it is known as bilateral sinusitis.

When talking about the duration of symptoms, sinusitis is known as acute sinusitis when it lasts less than 4 weeks, being mainly caused by a virus, and chronic sinusitis when it lasts more than 12 weeks, being more common to be produced by bacteria.It can also be classified as acute recurrent when there are 4 or more episodes in a year.

What causes sinusitis

When evaluating sinusitis for its causes, it can be known as viral sinusitis if it is caused by a virus; as bacterial sinusitis if caused by bacteria, or as allergic sinusitis if caused by an allergy.

Allergic sinusitis cases are usually the most difficult to treat because it is often difficult to identify what is causing the allergy. In these cases, it is common for the person to have chronic sinusitis, which happens when symptoms last for more than 3 months. Understand better what chronic sinusitis is and what treatment options are available.

How to confirm the diagnosis

The diagnosis of sinusitis must be made by an otorhinolaryngologist and, normally, it is only made by observing the symptoms and palpating the sinuses to assess whether there is sensitivity in this region.However, the doctor may also order other more specific tests such as:

  • Nasal endoscopy: a small tube is introduced through the nose to observe the inside of the sinuses, being able to identify if there are other causes, such as nasal polyps, that may be causing sinusitis;
  • Computed tomography: evaluates the presence of a deep inflammation that may not be identified with nasal endoscopy and also allows observing the anatomy of the sinuses;
  • Collection of nasal secretions: the doctor collects a small sample of nasal secretions to send to the laboratory and evaluates the presence of microorganisms such as bacteria or viruses;
  • Allergy test: Allergy tests are used to identify an allergic cause, when the doctor cannot find viruses or bacteria in the secretion exam, for example. See how an allergy test is performed.

Although it was widely used, the X-ray exam is no longer requested by doctors, as computed tomography is more accurate to confirm the diagnosis, in addition to the diagnosis being mainly clinical.

How to treat sinusitis

Treatment for sinusitis is usually done with the use of medicines such as:

  • Nose sprays: help relieve stuffy nose;
  • Anti-flu remedies: help relieve pressure on the face and headache, for example;
  • Oral antibiotics: are used only in cases of bacterial sinusitis to eliminate bacteria.

To complement the treatment, there are some home remedies for sinusitis such as nasal washing with s alt water or saline, or steam inhalations to help reduce symptoms, for example.Know some home remedies that help in the treatment of this problem by watching the video:

In more severe cases, when there are complications such as abscesses, the doctor may recommend surgery to open the sinus channels and facilitate the drainage of secretions.

See a complete list of commonly used remedies at: Remedy for Sinusitis.

Cares that help you recover faster

In addition to the prescribed remedies, you should also take some precautions that help sinusitis symptoms to disappear more quickly, such as washing your nose with saline solution 2 to 3 times a day, avoiding staying in closed places for a long time, stay away from smoke or dust and drink between 1, 2 and 2 liters of water a day.

To learn more about treating sinusitis see: Treatment for sinusitis.

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