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Long-term sinusitis

Pokenga pakohu ihu karioi

sinusitisIf you have problem with your sinus for more than three months, it is called long-term or chronic sinusitis.

If you have long-term sinusitis, you will have a blocked or runny nose. You will also have pain or a feeling of pressure in your face. You may also have other symptoms including:

Most long-term sinusitis is caused by inflammation in your nose and sinuses rather than an infection. Hay fever, asthma, allergies and being a smoker makes getting long-term sinusitis more likely. Having polyps (growths) inside your nose and sinuses also makes long-term sinusitis more likely.

Treating long-term sinusitis

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

As well, your health professional may suggest you:

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

Seeing a specialist

If your treatment is not working, your general practice team may refer you to see a specialist. A specialist may suggest you have a CT scan to look at your sinuses. They might also 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 while you are under a general anaesthetic. This means the surgeon works through a fine tube (the endoscope) passed up through your nose. If there are any blocked passages or openings in your sinuses, the surgeon can open these up. They will also 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 drain better. But it is important to continue using nasal saline rinses and nasal steroids or your symptoms will come back.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created October 2023.


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Review key: HISIN-86153