Sinusitis is the medical name for sinusitis. Every 7th person in Germany has sinusitis once a year – often as a remnant of a cold. More about the symptoms, causes, and treatment of sinusitis. Sinusitis is the technical term for sinusitis. Sinusitis can be acute or chronic. Depending on the inflamed sinus there are:
- Frontal sinusitis: inflammation of the frontal sinuses (right and left above the bridge of the nose above the eyebrows)
- Maxillary sinusitis: inflammation of the maxillary sinuses (to the right and left of the nose)
- Ethomidal sinusitis: inflammation of the ethmoid labyrinth (between the nose and the inner corner of the eye)
- Sphenoid sinusitis: inflammation of the sphenoid sinus (right and left behind the ethmoid cells).
Complications arise when sinusitis spreads to neighboring structures, for example, the meninges, the brain, ears, and eye sockets. Then it comes to dangerous suppurations with meningitis, seizures, visual impairment, and otitis media.
Typical symptoms of acute sinusitis are headaches and a feeling of pressure in the face – depending on the cavity affected, in the forehead, jaw, and nose area as well as around the eyes. The feeling of pressure often increases when stooping, sneezing, and coughing, as well as vibrations. Sometimes the sense of smell and nasal breathing is restricted.
In some patients, the nose feels “blocked” – like blocked. Sometimes the nasal secretions run down the throat permanently. Fever and fatigue as well as flu-like symptoms are also possible. Symptoms can be unilateral or bilateral.
Sinusitis usually heals after a few weeks (a maximum of eight weeks). If it persists or if sinus infections increase (more than four times a year), doctors speak of chronic sinusitis.
Symptoms of Chronic Sinusitis
Chronic sinusitis often results from an acute sinus infection that has not healed. The symptoms are much weaker than in acute sinusitis. Long-lasting loss of smell and permanent, dull pressure on the face are typical of chronic sinusitis. Inflammatory polyps often grow in the sinuses. Endoscopy often shows only a slight swelling of the nasal mucosa and a thin, clear secretion in chronic sinusitis.
Sinusitis is often preceded by a cold. This increases the production of nasal mucus and the mucous membranes swell. Sometimes the small connecting ducts between the nose and paranasal sinuses swell up. If they are completely blocked, the sinuses are no longer ventilated, the secretion cannot drain away and backs up. This warm, moist environment is an ideal breeding ground for germs such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
Viral sinusitis often develops as a result of bacterial colonization with influenza, parainfluenza, or rhinoviruses. In bacterial sinusitis, Haemophilus influenza, pneumococci, staphylococci, and streptococci are often the triggers. Fungi can also cause sinusitis.
Non-Infectious Causes Of Sinusitis
Ventilation disorders of the paranasal sinuses and thus impaired drainage of secretions can also have non-infectious causes. These are, for example, anatomical features such as nasal polyps (benign mucous membrane growths), a crooked nasal septum (so-called septal deviation), large nasal concha, cystic fibrosis (cystic fibrosis), or tumors.
Sinusitis can also occur in the course of an allergic illness (such as hay fever or house dust allergy). There is also the so-called dentogenic, i.e. tooth-related sinusitis. Pathogens get into the sinuses, for example after dental interventions, tooth root inflammation, or maxillary sinus fistulas.
Samter syndrome (also known as analgesic intolerance syndrome) is a special form of sinusitis. Sinusitis occurs at the same time as intolerance to acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin, ASA), bronchial asthma, and nasal polyps.
As a rule, the doctor makes the diagnosis of sinusitis based on the typical symptoms. To secure it, he taps and squeezes certain areas of the face and inspects the mouth, throat, and throat. Blood and secretion tests, allergy tests, and imaging procedures (such as nasoscopy, X-rays, and computed tomography) are sometimes used.
Usually, the doctor will recommend decongestant nasal drops with active ingredients such as naphazoline, oxymetazoline, tramazoline, and xylometazoline. However, these should not be used for too long and should be used as directed. Sometimes medical treatment for sinusitis also includes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and piroxicam or glucocorticoids (cortisone preparations).
For purulent sinusitis, antibiotics (especially tetracyclines and cephalosporins) are the means of choice.
Short and microwave radiation can help heal sinusitis.
In some cases, for example with anatomical peculiarities, nasal polyps, or curvature of the nasal septum, an operation can help.
Home remedies for sinusitis
Home remedies for sinusitis support drug therapy and help relieve symptoms. The most important home remedy is an adequate intake of fluids. You should drink at least 2 liters a day. In this way, you liquefy viscous secretions that can drain away more easily when diluted. You can support the drainage of secretions with moist room air and steam baths with herbal additives. Anise, chamomile flowers, myrtol, primrose root, thyme herb, and eucalyptus oil are particularly suitable.
No steam baths and essential oils in infants and young children
Caution: Due to the risk of scalding, babies and toddlers should not take any steam baths and, above all, should not use any substances containing menthol or strong-smelling essential oils. Red light and warmth are better for this age group. Warm linseed or cherry stone pillows on the forehead are often felt to be beneficial.
More home remedies for adults
- inhale with Emser salt or sea salt or suck up the salty liquid with the nostril or rinse the nose
- Heat-increasing foot baths with salt water (start with water at around 34 degrees and increase to 41 degrees)
- Eat a teaspoon of fresh horseradish or drink horseradish juice three times a day
- Place horseradish and lemon toppings on the forehead or quark toppings on the forehead and cheeks
- Warm potato wraps on the forehead and nose several times a day
- Secure the garlic and lemon wedges under the soles of the feet with warm woolen socks
- Drink herbal teas throughout the day (for example made from anise, fennel, and thyme)
- Place a bowl of finely chopped onion on the bedside table
- Eat chicken soup when you approach flu-like infections.
Homeopathy For Sinusitis
The following homeopathic medicines are recommended for sinusitis:
- Cinnabaris: with pressing pain at the bridge of the nose, radiation to the eye, severe tenderness when stooping
- Hepar sulfuris: in patients who are sensitive to the cold and to touch, complaints are made worse by drafts
- Hydrastis canadensis: large amount of secretion, headache over the left eye, complaints worsen in a warm room
- Kalium biochromicum: for thick yellow-green secretions, feeling of pressure at the root of the nose, flow of mucus in the throat
- Luffa operculata: for forehead headache, dry and sensitive nasal mucous membranes, and crusts in the nose
- Mercurius solubilis: with purulent-green nasal secretions, bad breath, and coated tongue, complaints are aggravated by warmth in the bed.
To prevent sinusitis, you should avoid colds, get enough sleep, strengthen your immune system, not smoke, eat a balanced and fresh diet, exercise a lot, and aim for a normal weight.
Pay attention to correct blowing your nose. It works like this:
- On no account trumpet with pressure on the handkerchief. This is how you press the nasal mucus back into your sinuses. Better to blow your nose carefully and with little pressure.
- Give in to the urge to sneeze, not suppress it
- Even if it is not supposed to: preferably “pull up your nose”, the secretion is transported into the pharynx and swallowed.