Most people suffer from sinus infections on occasion. But after a week or two of rest and perhaps a round of antibiotics, the sinus trouble goes away and they feel better. What if your sinus trouble keeps coming back again and again — or if it never really fades away entirely? Chances are, there's something a bit more sinister going on than a standard sinus infection. Here are three possible explanations.
Nasal polyps are basically tissue growths that grow in the nasal passages and sinus cavity. They are generally benign, not cancerous, but that does not mean they don't cause issues. Their presence can interfere with airflow through the sinus, making you always feel stuffy and congested. Mucous and debris can get caught behind and around them, which can cause further irritation and increase your risk of sinus infections.
Your doctor can detect nasal polyps by guiding an endoscope up your nasal passage and into your sinus. If polyps are detected, the doctor may seek to minimize them using steroids. If this does not work, they may perform a minor surgery to remove the polyps.
It is possible that what you think are the symptoms of a sinus infection are actually the symptoms of seasonal allergies. Do your symptoms get worse when you go outside? Do they seem to almost disappear on some days, only to return with a vengeance a day or two later? These are indications that you could be suffering from allergies.
Talk to your doctor about medications to alleviate your allergy symptoms. There are plenty of over-the-counter drugs, like loratadine, that can give you relief without making you drowsy. Also, take steps to avoid seasonal allergens. Stay inside when the pollen count is high, keep your windows closed, and leave your shoes outside.
A Deviated Septum
Have you ever injured your nose? If so, the septum, which is the piece of cartilage that runs down the middle of your nose, may have been pushed to one side. Known as a deviated septum, this injury can make it tough to breathe and can contribute to constant sinus congestion since mucus cannot drain well down one of your nasal passages.
Your sinus doctor should be able to tell whether you have a deviated septum simply by looking at your nose. If this is the problem you're dealing with, they may recommend a minor surgery to put your septum back in its proper place.