Chronic sinus pain - what are my options?

13 August 2015
 Categories: , Blog

If you have chronic sinusitis, it can become debilitating and get in the way of your day-to-day life. Here are some of the situations where surgery may be recommended:

Severe infection

If you have a severely infected sinus, surgery may be the only way to let it drain properly. This will only be assessed after a period of treatments with progressively stronger antibiotics. Surgery tends to be recommended if there is a blockage that is limiting the flow from the sinus, such as polyps. If your sinus infection cannot be controlled it can spread to the surrounding bones and facial structure, which can be painful as well as dangerous for the patient. In extremely severe cases sinusitis can lead to a brain abscess.

Recurrent sinus infections

If you exceed the number of courses of antibiotics your ENT specialist is comfortable with you having in a year, which can change between ENTs, your ENT may decide it makes sense to operate. In some cases, shaving the adenoids, removing small bones and any soft tissues growths can help the sinuses to drain more effectively. Recurrent sinus infections, even if relatively mild, can lead to discomfort and time off from school and work as well as affecting the patient's ability to participate in sports and social activities.

If you are regularly visiting your GP for sinus infections, be sure to ask for a referral to an ENT surgeon to see if surgery could help you.

If sinus infections are leading to other issues

Due to the interconnection of the Eustachian tubes to the ears, and the drainage of the sinus into the throat chronic sinus infections can lead to issues with infections that stem in the sinuses creating issues in the other nearby areas. If you are having problems with recurring tonsillitis or ear infections that carry on from your sinus infections, it can make sense to visit an ENT to see if surgery can help.

Highly swollen sinuses can also affect sleep, with the congestion making it hard to comfortably sleep at night and often causing people to wake up. It can make it hard to participate in some activities including scuba diving as it leads to problems adjusting the pressure as your head underwater. For some people swollen sinuses can also affect speech which can be embarrassing and cause social issues particularly for children.

If any of these issues affect you or someone you care for, be sure to ask for a referral to an ENT surgeon to see if surgery could help you. Contact a professional such as Allan W Forrest with any questions you have.