Cause of Chronic Sinusitis

Continuing our video series, Dr. Jerome Hester explains “Causes of Chronic Sinusitis”.

There are numerous causes for chronic sinusitis. Basically, all of us have four sets of sinuses located in the head. These sinuses are not actually in the nose, but rather drain into the nose through small passages. We’re unclear what the real cause or usefulness of the sinuses truly is.

As this mucus is being produced on a daily basis from the sinuses, it flows out of the sinus, into the nasal cavity, and then is washed down the back of the throat. Material from the environment, whether they could be bacteria, viruses, allergy particles, dust particles, land on top of this mucus, and then is cleared to the back area.

However, in some occasions, this material can sit around for a while, and lead to more formations, causes swelling, which then causes obstruction of flow of mucus. If this obstruction continues, and perhaps even leads to a cause of obstruction of the sinus opening itself, the mucus then is trapped within the sinus, and an infection can develop, because trapped mucus is a perfect growth medium for both bacteria and viruses.

Therefore, the treatment options in order to break this cycle are either to prevent it from occurring in the first place, or once it occurs, trying to open up the sinus drainage pathways, so that it can drain unobstructed. As far as trying to prevent the occasion from happening, the use of nasal rinses, the use of decongestants and antihistamines, and even nasal steroid sprays, can assist in this.

Once the obstruction has occurred, however, these mechanisms are usually inadequate. Although nasal irrigations can help clear the mucus that is in the nasal cavity, and perhaps lessen the inflammation, usually the use of either topical decongestant nasal sprays, such as Afrin, which unfortunately can only be used for three to five days at a time, or even the use of antibiotics in order to clear the infection is necessary.

In some cases, if this occurrence continues, either in its duration or in its frequency, surgical mechanisms to open the sinus are necessary, to allow the re-introduction of normal mucus flow through the nasal cavity.