When you breathe in air, mucus in the sinuses humidifies the air and collects bacteria and pollutants.
What are the sinuses?
The sinuses have a self-cleaning mechanism, called mucociliary clearance.
How do healthy sinuses work?
Tiny hairs lining the sinus move the mucus (with pollutants) out of the sinus, into your throat. You then swallow the mucus, and your stomach acid destroys the bacteria and pollutants.
Tiny hairs, or cilia, on the lining of the sinuses and nose sweep out material to keep the sinuses and nose continually clear. The material is swept out of the nose, you swallow it, and stomach acid destroys the bad stuff.
How it can break down
What is Sinusitis?
Normally, sinuses are filled with air.
Sinus pathway becomes swollen.
Blocked sinuses fill with fluid.
Pathogens can grow and cause infection.
Sinusitis is the condition of inflammation of the lining of the sinuses. This is caused by the blockage of the sinus opening and growth of organisms that are trapped inside. Once the sinus opening gets blocked, bacteria tend to grow and create pressure inside the sinus. This turned into a pressure cooker. Symptoms of sinusitis are a headache, facial pressure, nasal congestion or blockage, nasal drainage, post-nasal drip or runny nose, fever, fatigue, bad breath, cough, and pain in the upper teeth. Sinus headaches are very common. Headaches are the reason for many missed days of work and school.
Causes of Sinusitis
Diagnosing Sinus Problems
There are also numerous over-the-counter medications in pharmacies or grocery stores for sinus conditions. Hot or cold packs may help.
Many things can help with secretions, to clear mucus up and get rid of it. Steaming, either through a store-bought facial steamer or home-made version may help. Nasal rinsing with saline, a mist or a jetted spray, a Neti pot, a nasal cleaner or irrigator such as Navage may help.
Treatment for sinus headaches is aimed at trying to get the sinus to open up. Decongestants or nasal steroid sprays help in opening up a blocked sinus. If the condition is prolonged, an antibiotic might be necessary to help to eliminate the bacteria inside the sinus.
Keeping your air filter clean in y our house or replacing reduces exposure to dust and pollutants. You may also buy a portable air filter unit.
Medications help with symptoms but do not treat the underlying cause. This is the first approach taken and, for most people, will allow them to live their normal lives.
If medications don’t adequately control the sinus problems, it may be necessary to treat the underlying cause by improving the sinus outflow. Learn more about Balloon Sinuplasty.
Traditional Sinus Surgery
If neither medication nor balloon sinuplasty addresses the sinus problems, it may be necessary to perform surgery to correct the sinus structural issues.