What is chronic sinusitis?

19 January 2024
Sinusitis is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. While most cases of sinusitis are acute and resolve within a few weeks, there are certain individuals who experience a persistent form of this condition, known as chronic sinusitis. Chronic sinusitis, which is also called chronic rhinosinusitis, occurs when there is inflammation and swelling of the nasal passages and sinuses that lasts for longer than three months despite treatment.

Causes of chronic sinusitis

Chronic sinusitis can be caused by several different factors that trigger inflammation of the sinuses, including:
• Nasal polyps (growths in the sinuses) can obstruct the airways, preventing drainage and causing inflammation.
• Allergies, such as hay fever, may make one more susceptible to chronic sinusitis due to ongoing nasal inflammation and increased mucus production.
• Asthmatic individuals are more likely to develop chronic sinusitis as this condition involves chronic inflammation of the airways.
• Frequent respiratory infections, such as recurrent colds or bacterial infections. An estimated 90 – 98% of colds, flu and sinusitis are caused by viral infections.
• Structural abnormalities of the nose, such as a deviated septum impedes proper airflow and drainage of the nasal passages.

Symptoms of chronic sinusitis

Chronic sinusitis can display many different symptoms, but these are the most common:
• Runny nose
• Persistent blocked or stuffy nose
• Headache
• Chronic cough
• Fatigue
• Post-nasal drip
• Pain or pressure around the eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead
• Bad breath
• Facial pain
• Reduced sense of taste or smell

While acute sinusitis and chronic sinusitis have very similar symptoms, the distinguishing factor between acute and chronic is the amount of time the symptoms last while using treatment. Chronic sinusitis occurs when symptoms continue for longer than 12 weeks despite using treatment.

Treatment of chronic sinusitis

Treatment options for chronic sinusitis aim to reduce inflammation, improve nasal drainage, and alleviate the symptoms. Depending on the cause of the condition, over-the-counter medications like Sinupret Forte can be used for the treatment of chronic sinusitis. This medication gets to work in no time to treat chronic sinusitis. To find out more about Sinupret Forte, click here.

In cases where a bacterial infection is present, a course of antibiotics may be prescribed to target the specific bacteria causing the infection. However, this only occurs in 2% - 10% of cases. For individuals with structural abnormalities or nasal polyps that do not respond to other treatments, surgery may be considered. This can help improve nasal drainage and alleviate symptoms.

Chronic sinusitis can be very disruptive to an individual’s daily routine, and therefore, can have a significant impact on their quality of life. Therefore, it requires a diagnosis and treatment for the underlying cause. If you do experience chronic symptoms of sinusitis, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide appropriate guidance and develop a tailored treatment plan.