How Is Sinusitis Treated?

Nasal Steroid Spray

- After diagnosing sinusitis and identifying a possible cause, your health care professional can suggest various treatments, including nasal steroid spray which can be very effective.

Acute Sinusitis

If you have acute sinusitis, your health care professional may also recommend the following:

  • Antibiotics to control a possible bacterial infection
  • Pain relievers to reduce any nasal or sinus pain
  • Decongestants are medicines that shrink the swollen membranes in the nose and make it easier to breathe

Even if you have chronic or acute sinusitis, your doctor may choose not to use an antibiotic because many cases of acute or chronic sinusitis will end on their own. However, if you do not feel better after a few days, you should contact your health care professional again.

Follow your health care professional's instruction on how to use over-the-counter or prescription decongestant nose drops and nasal sprays. You should use these medicines for only a few days, as longer term use can lead to even more congestion and swelling of your nasal passages.

If you suffer from nasal allergies, such as hay fever, along with sinusitis, your doctor may recommend medicine to control your allergies. This may include a nasal steroid spray that reduces the swelling around the sinus passages and allows the sinuses to drain.

If you have asthma and then get sinusitis, your asthma may worsen. You should contact your doctor, who may change your asthma treatment and medications.

Chronic Rhino-Sinusitis

Doctors often find it difficult to treat chronic rhinosinusitis successfully. They have two options to offer patients: medicine and surgery.

Medicine for Relief of Symptoms

  • A nasal steroid spray is quite helpful for many people, but most people still do not get full relief of symptoms with these medications.

  • A long course of antibiotics is occasionally recommended by physicians, but results from clinical research do not support this kind of antibiotic use.

  • Saline (saltwater) washes or saline nasal sprays can be helpful in chronic rhinosinusitis because they remove thick secretions and allow the sinuses to drain.

  • Oral steroids, such as prednisone, may be prescribed for severe chronic rhinosinusitis. However, oral steroids are powerful medicines with significant side effects, and these medicines typically are prescribed when other medicines have failed.

Research is needed to develop new, more effective treatments.

Nasal Surgery

When medicine fails, surgery may be the only alternative for treating chronic rhinosinusitis. The goal of surgery is to improve sinus drainage and reduce blockage of the nasal passages. Nasal surgery usually is performed to accomplish the following:

  • Enlarge the natural openings of the sinuses
  • Remove nasal polyps
  • Correct significant structural problems inside the nose and the sinuses if they contribute to a sinus obstruction

Although most people have fewer symptoms and a better quality of life after sinus surgery, problems can still occur, sometimes even after a period of time.

In children, problems can sometimes be eliminated by removing the adenoids. These gland-like tissues, located high in the throat behind and above the roof of the mouth, can obstruct the nasal passages.

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