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Long-term sinusitis

sinusitis If you have problem with your sinus for more than three months (12 weeks) this is known as long-term or chronic sinusitis.

People with long-term sinusitis have a blocked or runny nose, and pain or a feeling of pressure in their face.You may also have other symptoms including:

Most long-term sinusitis is caused by inflammation in your nose and sinuses, rather than infections. Conditions that make you more likely to get long-term sinusitis include hay fever, asthma, or allergies, having polyps (growths) inside your nose and sinuses, and being a smoker.

Treating long-term sinusitis

You can help reduce your symptoms by stopping smoking, treating your hay fever, treating your asthma, reducing any irritants or pollutants in your environment, and treating any dental infections.

As well, your doctor may suggest you:

You may need to use nasal sprays or saline rinses long-term. If you do, make sure you regularly see your doctor to check how the treatment is working and whether they recommend something else.

Seeing a specialist

If your treatment isn't working, your GP may refer you to see a specialist. A specialist may suggest you have a CT scan to look at your sinuses, or they might examine your sinuses by passing a tube through your nose. If they find you have polyps, they may recommend you take a course of oral steroids.

They can then decide if surgery is likely to help or not.

Surgery is usually done with an endoscope. This means the surgeon works through a fine tube (the endoscope) passed up through your nose while you are asleep under a general anaesthetic. If there are any blocked passages or openings in your sinuses then the surgeon can open these up or remove any polyps. Sometimes the bones in your nose might need to be straightened if they are causing problems.

Surgery can remove any polyps and help your sinuses to drain better. However, it is important to continue using long-term nasal saline rinse and nasal steroids or your symptoms will come back.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created May 2020.

Page reference: 704107

Review key: HISIN-86153