Chronic Sinusitis | Tampa General Hospital

Chronic Sinusitis 

Chronic sinusitis is a common condition that occurs when sinusitis symptoms last for 12 weeks or longer. Sinusitis is a condition characterized by inflammation or swelling of the mucous membranes of the sinuses, which are air-filled spaces between the eyes, behind the cheekbones and in the forehead. Chronic sinusitis is diagnosed in patients who have been experiencing the symptoms of sinusitis for 12 weeks or longer.  

Chronic Sinusitis Causes  

The most common causes of chronic sinusitis are: 

  • A deviated septum 
  • Nasal polyps  
  • Respiratory tract infections 
  • Seasonal allergies 
  • Complications from an immune system disorder, such as cystic fibrosis or HIV 
  • Asthma 

Chronic Sinusitis Symptoms  

The symptoms of chronic sinusitis are the same as acute sinusitis, the only difference being that you’ll experience these symptoms for a lot longer, which can impact your quality of life. You may experience: 

  • Cough 
  • Difficulty breathing due to nasal congestion 
  • Ear pain 
  • Fatigue 
  • Halitosis 
  • Headaches 
  • Nasal congestion 
  • Postnasal drip 
  • Reduced sense of taste or smell 
  • A runny or stuffy nose 
  • Sinus pain or pressure 

Chronic Sinusitis Diagnosis 

This condition is typically diagnosed after it’s been 12 weeks with no relief from your symptoms. At this point, your physician may: 

  • Use an endoscope to look at your sinuses to determine if you are dealing with nasal polyps, a deviated septum or some other identifiable reason for your symptoms 
  • Conduct allergy testing to discern if there is a specific allergen contributing to your symptoms 
  • Recommend imaging tests, like a CT scan or MRI, that can provide a deeper analysis of your sinuses and help your physician diagnose problems like nasal polyps or tumors 

Chronic Sinusitis Treatment  

Tampa General Hospital’s otolaryngology specialists provide many kinds of treatments for patients suffering from chronic sinusitis, including: 

  • Medication – We typically recommend patients start with medication to clear up their sinusitis. This may involve corticosteroids, antibiotics, nasal irrigation or allergy medication. 
  • Injections – If nasal polyps are to blame for your chronic sinusitis, an injection of dupilumab or omalizumab may be used to reduce the size of the polyps. 
  • Endoscopic sinus surgery – If medications aren’t enough, we may suggest endoscopic sinus surgery. This minimally invasive procedure can remove tissue or polyps that are causing blockages as well as enlarge the openings that drain the sinuses.