What are sinuses?
The sinuses are cavities, or air-filled pockets, that are near the nasal passage. There are four different types of sinuses:
- ethmoid sinus – located inside the face, around the area of the bridge of the nose. This sinus is present at birth, and continues to grow.
- maxillary sinus – located inside the face, around the area of the cheeks. This sinus is also present at birth, and continues to grow.
- frontal sinus – located inside the face, in the area of the forehead. This sinus does not develop until around seven years of age.
- sphenoid sinus – located deep in the face, behind the nose. This sinus does not develop until adolescence.
The inside of the sinuses is similar to the inside of the nose.
What causes sinusitis?
Sometimes, a sinus infection happens after an upper respiratory infection (URI) or common cold. The URI causes inflammation of the nasal passages that can lead to obstruction of the opening of the paranasal sinuses, which can lead to infection in the sinuses. Allergic disease can also lead to sinusitis because of the swelling of the nasal tissue and increased production of mucus. There are other possible conditions that can block the normal flow of secretions out of the sinuses and can lead to sinusitis. These may include:
- abnormalities in the structure of the nose
- enlarged adenoids
- diving and swimming
- infections from a tooth
- trauma to the nose
- foreign objects that are stuck in the nose
- gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- secondhand smoke
After the blockage of the flow of secretions from the sinuses, bacteria will sometimes begin to grow. This leads to a sinus infection, or sinusitis. The most common bacteria that cause sinusitis are:
- Streptococcus pneumonia
- Haemophilus influenzae
- Moraxella catarrhalis
Treatment for sinusitis:
Specific treatment for sinusitis will be determined by your physician based on:
- your age, health, and medical history
- extent of the disease
- your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- expectations for the course of the disease
- your opinion or preference
- medications to treat GERD