Would you benefit from sinus relief?
At Penn Medicine Becker ENT & Allergy, our specialists are highly-trained sinus experts who provide individualized treatment plans for patients who need help with their nose, allergies, and sinuses. We combine our experience and training with cutting-edge technology to be true Leaders in Sinus Relief
Many treatment options are available for those who suffer from:
Nasal sprays and oral medications may provide partial or complete relief
Allergy testing to show if you can benefit from allergy shots or drops
New technologies allow for short, in-office procedures designed to address sinus-related symptoms
With minimally-invasive oupatient surgery, patients can reclaim normal sinus function
Why choose a sinus specialist?
Many people live with sinus-related issues and don’t realize that effective treatment is available. While you have the option to use over-the-counter medications to help ease your symptoms, you may find greater relief if you can identify and methodically treat the underlying source of your problem. A quick but thorough evaluation is the starting point for a comprehensive treatment plan to provide maximum, sustained relief for your nose, sinus and allergy-related symptoms. Patients are often surprised to learn that what has become a normal way of living can be relieved through something as simple as allergy treatment, or a mild in-office procedure like Balloon Sinuplasty.
Without a thorough evaluation, it is impossible to understand exactly what is causing your sinus-related issues. Schedule an appointment with a sinus specialist, and ask about allergy testing if you have not recently been tested.
When should I see my doctor?
If you are suffering from a cold for more than 10 days, or if your symptoms worsen after the first 7 days, you should consider seeing a sinus specialist. Man sinus doctors reserve spots for same-day appointments to accommodate sick patients. If you are not feeling better 3 to 5 days after starting antibiotics for a sinus infection, you should let your prescribing physician know.
What is sinusitis, and what causes it?
Sinusitis (or technically Rhinosinusitis) refers to inflammation of the nose and sinuses. Contrary to popular belief, sinusitis is an inflammatory – not infectious – disease. While patients may get sinus infections, it is the underlying inflammation that sets the stage for an infection to occur.
There are a number of common causes of nasal irritation and inflammation, including allergens, non-allergic pollutants, cigarette smoke and viruses. These can often lead to obstruction of the osteomeatal complex (sinus drainage pathway) from mucosal swelling and this leads to secondary bacterial sinusitis, which causes additional inflammation.
In addition, anatomic abnormalities such as polyps, tumors, foreign bodies (especially in children), enlarged adenoids, deviated nasal septum, and aerated middle turbinates (concha bullosa), may cause initial obstruction with the same result. It is common to see more than one contributing factor.
Other factors that may contribute to sinonasal inflammation include hormonal reactions associated with pregnancy, aging, medication misuse, medication reactions, and acid reflux.
What are the symptoms of acute sinusitis?
Acute sinusitis can last up to 4 weeks and may be viral or bacterial in origin. Recurrent sinusitis refers to the situation where a patient has repeated acute sinus infections but is relatively symptom free between these infections. Symptoms of acute sinusitis can include:
What are the symptoms of chronic sinusitis?
Chronic sinusitis sufferers may have the following symptoms for 12 weeks or more:
What over the counter medications can help me?
For patients suffering from sinus issues for fewer than 7 days, here is a list of some over the counter medications that can help alleviate symptoms:
As always, these medications must be used with care, and in accordance with recommended uses and precautions.
Topical decongestants are not recommended for chronic sinusitis. When topical decongestants are used for more than three to five days, a “rebound effect” with worsened symptoms will typically result.
Oral decongestants may raise blood pressure, and patients and their doctors should monitor blood pressure and may need to discontinue oral decongestants if blood pressure is affected. Oral decongestants may also impact other conditions such as prostate hypertrophy, and glaucoma, and the medication labels must be carefully adhered to.
Since higher concentrations are present in the bloodstream, systemic decongestants are more likely to produce side-effects. These include high blood pressure, anxiety and sleeplessness, and the “jitters.” Decongestants can also cause blurry vision (in patients who suffer from glaucoma) and difficulty urinating in patients with prostate problems.
Patients should let their doctor know if they are currently taking any medications for depression, since these medications can have serious adverse effects when they interact with either topical or systemic decongestants. Mucolytics, Anti-Fungals and Macrolides, and others.
What’s the difference between allergies and sinus problems?
An allergy describes a specific way that your body reacts to certain foreign substances. For example, if you are allergic to dust mites, then when you breathe in “dustmite particles” they are recognized by specific allergy receptors in your nose. When they recognize the “intrusion” of dustmite particles, they cause the release of substances that are meant to fight the presence of these particles. These include the release of histamine and other substances that create an inflammatory response. These responses were designed as a defense against the “foreign intruder” – that is to say, the dustmite particles. However, this allergy response has the unfortunate consequence of causing unpleasant symptoms such as a scratchy throat, watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing (to expel the intruder) and so forth. Therefore, we often take anti-allergy medicines to tone down this response and relieve the symptoms of allergy and allergic response.
If you have allergies, your nose may react to allergy-inducing substances in the air, such as dust, grasses, weeds, or mold. Allergic nasal and sinus swelling may in turn lead to sinusitis.
Sinusitis is a bit more generic, it is simply inflammation in your nose and sinus cavities from any cause. Allergy can be one cause of inflammation, hence the term allergic rhinosinusitis, or sinusitis with an allergic component. However, there are a number of other factors that can contribute to sinusitis such as sensitivity to pollution, cigarette smoke, infection, and so forth.
What happens if I don’t treat infected sinuses?
By leaving your infected sinuses untreated, you will live with unnecessary discomfort and pain. In rare cases, patients with untreated sinus infections have suffered from meningitis, brain abscess, and eye infections.