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Sylva, NC Office: (828) 586-7474
Franklin, NC Office: (828) 524-5599
Murphy, NC Office: (828) 835-1014
NOW SCHEDULING: New Asheville, NC Sinus Center: (828) 458-8100

How is Chronic Sinusitis Diagnosed?

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a woman with sinus discomfort

Chronic issues with your sinuses can be difficult to live with. From a stuffed sensation that causes pain and soreness in the face and temples to difficulty breathing, this condition has a number of impacts on your daily life, making it crucial to seek the treatment you need and deserve.

Think that you may have chronic sinusitis? By scheduling an appointment with an ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT), you may be able to get a professional diagnosis. Below is more information on the symptoms and how you can diagnose and treat the condition. 

What is chronic sinusitis?

Chronic sinusitis occurs when our sinuses become inflamed for a long period. Our sinuses are the spaces linking up our ears, nose and mouth – when these become inflamed, it results in a stuffy sensation. Mucus may have difficulty draining, breathing through the nose may be difficult and the eyes may feel swollen. Smell and taste may also be affected. In some cases, there could be pain and discomfort in the ears or throat.

There are many possible causes behind chronic sinusitis. Tissue growths known as nasal polyps may be blocking the sinuses. Another cause could be a deviated nasal septum – in other words, the wall between the nostrils may be crooked or may have partially collapsed. It could even be the result of persistent allergies such as hay fever or a pet allergy. However, in most cases, a sinus infection is likely to be the cause. 

A number of lifestyle factors and pre-existing conditions may put you at greater risk of developing chronic sinusitis. Lifestyle factors include smoking or regular contact with pollutants. Conditions that can increase the risk of chronic sinusitis meanwhile include HIV, cystic fibrosis and asthma.  

Many people will experience episodes of acute sinusitis before experiencing chronic sinusitis. This temporary infection is often associated with a cold and should not be a concern unless accompanied by a fever or severe difficult breathing. Those with lower immune systems or pre-existing medical conditions may have trouble fighting off such infections causing them to return – and in some cases they may return and refuse to go away.

How is chronic sinusitis diagnosed?

Sinusitis is classed as chronic if it persists for more than three months, with symptoms being observed almost daily. If you have been experiencing sinusitis-like symptoms for 12 weeks, it is highly recommended that you see an ENT doctor to get tested and receive an official diagnosis. 

An ENT doctor may recommend a CT scan or MRI scan to check for structural problems if it is not obviously an infection. In other instances, an endoscope may be used – this is a small flexible tool that is used to examine the inside of the nose and sinuses.

Finding the exact cause and condition could be essential for finding the right treatment. You may be asked various questions about your lifestyle in order to get a better idea of possible causes.

How can chronic sinusitis be treated?

There are many forms of treatment that can be used to relieve chronic sinusitis. If the cause of a bacterial infection, it may be a simple case of prescribing you antibiotics. 

Intranasal corticosteroid sprays or antifungal medication could be other options for other types of infections. For preventing allergies, antihistamine sprays may be recommended.

More serious cases involving structural problems may require surgery. An ENT doctor will tell you if they think this is necessary, walking you through each step of the treatment process. This procedure, sinus surgery, typically involves and endoscope being inserted into the sinus cavities, to alleviate obstructions and other physical abnormalities.

If lifestyle factors or habits are to blame, you may be asked to consider making changes to your lifestyle such as giving up smoking, avoiding allergy triggers or taking precautions against pollutants that you may be exposed to on a daily basis.  

Why choose Mountain Ear, Nose & Throat Associates?

When choosing an ENT doctor, you can count on us to provide the highest quality, ethical and state-of-the-art treatment. Our practice has been serving the communities of Western North Carolina for 30 years. All our staff are experts in their field and will help you to get to the bottom of any medical concerns that you may have. Whether you are faced with chronic sinusitis or another ear, nose or throat issue, our team will help you find the relief you need.

To schedule an appointment, you can call us at one of the three numbers: Sylva: 828-586-7474, Franklin: 828-524-5599, Murphy: 828-835-1014