Causes of Sinus Pain

You don't have a cold or allergy–you have a sinus condition. What does that mean?

An ear, nose, and throat specialist will determine if your sinus pain results from:

Allergic rhinitis: This condition is an inflammatory nasal response, most commonly to inhalant allergens. Symptoms include sneezing and itchy eyes, nose, and palate. Allergic rhinitis can induce sufficient inflammation to obstruct the openings to the sinuses. Consequently, the sinuses can become infected and a bacterial sinus infection occurs.

Infectious sinusitis: This bacterial disease produces nasal secretions that are yellow or green and contain bacteria. Patients may feel pain and pressure in the involved sinuses and may be ill with fever, malaise, and other symptoms. The classic symptoms of this condition are nasal obstruction, congestion, facial pain, and post-nasal drip.

Septal deviation: A nose that is not properly aligned may result in an airway obstruction, potentially sinus problems.

Other conditions that may result in sinusitis include:

Vasomotor rhinitis: This disorder is caused by stress or a psychological disorder, manifesting as congestion, obstruction, and nasal secretion. Unlike other sinus disorders, this condition “comes and goes,” presenting itself episodically with stress.

Nasal polyps: Nasal polyps are a consequence of inflammation that results from a wide range of sinus disorders. Treatment should entail addressing the root causes of the polyps as well as excising the growths.

Fungal sinusitis: An allergic response to fungi can result in chronic sinusitis. This condition affects approximately seven percent of those suffering from chronic sinusitis.

HIV illness: Those diagnosed as HIV-positive will often have thick nasal secretions, which become increasingly sticky as the disease progresses. This often presents as chronic sinusitis.

Aging rhinitis: As one ages, the nasal mucus loses its water content and becomes increasingly thick and sticky. Patients complain of post-nasal drip, cough, and hoarseness; the condition is best treated with nasal irrigation and increased hydration.

Tumors: The presence of tumors in the sinuses is relatively uncommon. They are discovered with a nasal obstruction, often with heavy nosebleeds. Upper Respiratory Infection: Any type of infection in the upper airway, bacterial or viral, can irritate the mucosal membranes and develop into sinusitis. Most cases of sinusitis begin as upper respiratory infections.

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