Chronic Sinus Problems and What it Could Mean

Has your nose been stuffy for a long time? Do you have pressure around your nose, eyes, and cheekbones? Do you frequently get sinus headaches? You may have chronic sinusitis. Today we share the symptoms, causes, and treatments for chronic sinusitis.

What Is Chronic Sinusitis?

Chronic sinusitis is a condition where the sinuses are swollen and blocked for longer than 12 weeks – even after receiving treatment. Chronic sinusitis gets in the way of how the mucus drains, which can cause you to feel stuffy and have difficulty breathing through your nose. You may also experience discomfort and pain around your nose and eye area. With acute sinusitis, you may experience the same symptoms, but they typically only last for a week and are often brought on by a cold or virus.

What Are the Symptoms of Chronic Sinusitis?

Common symptoms of chronic sinusitis include:

  • Soreness or discomfort in your forehead, eyes, and cheeks
  • A congested nose that makes it difficult to breathe
  • Trouble smelling or tasting
  • Discolored mucus
  • Nasal inflammation
  • Post-nasal drip

Other symptoms may include:

  • Sore throat
  • Ear pain
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Coughing or throat clearing
  • Bad breath
  • Teeth and jaw pain

Causes of Chronic Sinusitis

The following are the causes of chronic sinusitis:

  • Allergies due to hay fever or the environment can cause inflammation in your nasal passages.
  • A deviated septum – when the tissue wall between your nostrils is uneven, limiting airflow in one or both nostrils.
  • Respiratory tract infections like the common cold.
  • Weak immune system.
  • Nasal polyps, which can cause a blockage in your nasal passages or sinuses.
  • Other medical conditions like asthma, GERD, HIV, and cystic fibrosis.

Treatment of Chronic Sinusitis

There are many treatments for chronic sinusitis. Some will help relieve symptoms, while others will help treat the cause.

  • Over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help with swelling and headaches.
  • Nasal sprays containing corticosteroids can help with inflammation and reduce the size of a nasal polyp.
  • If a bacterial infection is causing your sinusitis, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
  • If the sinus is due to allergies, your doctor may refer you to an allergist for treatment.
  • Saline solution can help the mucus drain better and reduce swelling.
  • A humidifier can help drain the mucus and reduce swelling.

If the treatments above do not work, your doctor may recommend surgery.


  • Endoscopic Sinus Surgery: First, your doctor will insert a thin tube into your sinuses with a camera and light to see if there are any signs of polyps, mucus, or tissue blocking your sinuses. The doctor will then remove whatever is causing the blockage. The doctor can also increase the space of your sinuses so that you can breathe better.
  • Nose Surgery (Rhinoplasty) or Deviated Septum Surgery (Septoplasty): Rhinoplasty includes either reshaping the tissue of your nose or straightening it. Septoplasty involves reshaping the walls between your nostrils. These two surgeries are designed to help you breathe better out of both nostrils.

Have you endured acute or chronic sinusitis? Let us know in the comments below.


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