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  • Writer's pictureDr. Koralla Raja Meghanadh

What is Sinus? | Problems with sinuses

Updated: Apr 15

Other Related Articles on Sinusitis

Sinuses are saviors of the eye and brain.
What is sinus ? What are sinuses ? Why do we need sinuses ? What is sinus problem ? Problems with sinuses synus signess problem
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What Are Sinuses?

Sinuses are air-filled pockets or cavities near the nose in front of the brain and around the eyes.

The sinuses have openings that allow air to flow in and out, but they can also let in unwanted particles such as dust, viruses, bacteria, and fungus.

To clear out unwanted particles, the lining of the sinuses continually produces fluid that flows from the sinuses, through the nose, and into the throat, effectively cleaning the sinuses.

Functions of Sinuses

Why do we need sinuses? Won’t its absence remove the sinus problem, sinusitis?

These cavities act as bumpers to the brain and eyes. We rarely see a person damaging his eye or brain when he falls forward. Sinuses are positioned to take the hit when we fall forward. Our head is like a car bumper that is designed to shift energy forces from the eye and brain to the sinuses when we fall forward.

What is sinusitis? Problems with Sinuses

Sinusitis is an infection of the sinus walls that causes inflammation of the sinuses. It occurs when fluids build up and become stagnant in the sinus cavity. Stagnant fluids allow viruses, bacteria, and fungi to grow and infect the walls.

A narrowing of the sinus openings or issues with the drainage pathways can cause fluid stagnation in the sinuses. It can also occur when the sinuses produce an excessive amount of fluid, which can be a result of allergies.

How does sinusitis start?

In most cases, sinusitis is caused when the common cold is not treated properly. Common cold progresses into acute sinusitis after 5 to 7 days of the infection. Where worsening of the symptoms happens with the start of acute sinusitis.

Sinusitis can occur when a person has any of the three risk factors. To know more about it, you can refer to our article given below for more details.

What are sinusitis symptoms?

Common sinusitis symptoms

Sinusitis symptoms that occur commonly are

  1. Runny nose

  2. Nose block

  3. Headache

  4. Facial pain

  5. Phlegm oozes from the nose to the back of the throat, thus a need to clear the throat.

  6. Sore throat

  7. Frequent attacks of cough

Rare Sinusitis symptoms

In rare cases where the infection is neglected, we can see symptoms related to the eyes like

  1. Redness of the eye

  2. Watering of the eye

It is not just important to know what the symptoms of sinusitis are but also to understand the behavior of the symptoms.

You can read our article dedicated to sinusitis symptoms by Dr. K. R. Meghanadh. Here you can even read why the above symptoms occur.

Sinusitis Stages

Sinusitis has 4 stages

  1. acute

  2. subacute

  3. chronic

  4. acute on chronic

Sinusitis starts as acute sinusitis and then progresses to subacute sinusitis, followed by chronic sinusitis. It stays in the chronic sinusitis stage for a long time and keeps moving to acute sinusitis for a short time whenever the immunity is low. This stage is called "acute on chronic sinusitis."

Sinusitis treatment

Most sinusitis patients might require gentle treatment, but a few and the neglected ones might require sinus surgery. The earlier you start the treatment simpler it is.

The treatment differs from one stage to another, but the tests for the diagnosis also differ.

Refer to our “Is a sinus infection dangerous?” article to understand why we should treat sinusitis.

But, as said earlier, it is easy to treat sinusitis if we treat it on time, and a few home remedies can come in very handy.

Home remedies for sinusitis

Here are a few home remedies for sinusitis that can give you relief and control your infection.

  1. Small but many workouts daily

  2. steam inhalation

  3. Pinch of black pepper with turmeric and other spices

  4. Stay hydrated

  5. Adequate sleep.

We highly recommend you go through the article Sinusitis relief with home remedies” for more detailed information, as most of the tips here will burst myths and misconceptions and help you lead a healthier life irrespective of whether you have sinusitis or not.


What happens when the sinus gets worse?

Whenever sinusitis worsens, it can lead to complications like

  • Meningitis(infection in the brain coverings)

  • Encephalitis(infection in the contents of the brain)

  • Orbital cellulitis & orbital abscess (infection in the eyes)

  • Bronchitis & aasthama

  • laryngitis( infection in the voice box)

  • Otitis media( middle ear infection) followed by an inner ear infection

These conditions can result in

  • vomiting

  • the rise in blood pressure

  • drop in heart rate

  • high fever

  • seizures

  • coma

  • death

  • pain in the eye

  • swelling in the eye

  • loss of vision

  • restriction in eye movement

  • damage of the optic nerve

  • severe dry cough

  • breathlessness

  • asthmatic attacks

  • noisy breathing

  • chest pain

  • ear block sensation

  • ear pain

  • mild deafness

  • ear discharge

  • vertigo

  • giddiness

  • abnormal sounds in the ear called tinnitus

  • Hoarseness

  • Change in voice

  • Pain in throat

  • Pain while talking

  • Inaudible voice

  • Dry cough

You can read about the complications of sinusitis here.

It can even convert into fungal sinusitis also. So, seeking medical treatment for sinus infections as early as possible is essential to prevent these potential complications.

How to prevent sinusitis?

To prevent sinusitis, we must treat the common cold on time, as untreated colds can lead to sinusitis. Additionally, keeping allergies in control and having good immunity can also prevent sinusitis.

Here are some home remedies which will help you in preventing sinusitis.

What is the main cause of chronic sinusitis?

The main cause of chronic sinusitis is untreated or partially treated acute and subacute sinusitis. We could have avoided this situation by treating the common cold, the root cause of sinusitis.

Please click here to learn about sinusitis stages and their behavior.

How severe is acute sinusitis?

The severity of acute sinusitis varies from person to person. Sometimes, it resolves without intervention, while medical attention is necessary for other instances. Yet, there are rare cases where acute sinusitis can result in brain and eye complications.

Acute sinusitis is characterized by a greater number and severity of symptoms than subacute and chronic. Yet, it can be treated with antibiotics, unlike the later stages, which may need surgery. If left untreated, acute sinusitis can progress to subacute, then chronic.

What is the difference between sinusitis and rhinitis?

Sinusitis and rhinitis are two conditions affecting the sinuses and nose, respectively. The sinuses are a network of 30 to 40 air-filled spaces that connect to the nose through small openings.

The nose and sinuses are connected by a shared lining, making it easy for infections in one area to spread to the other. In the very early stages, a person may only have a condition in one part, but very soon, it will spread to the other part, making sinusitis and rhinitis inseparable. The good news is that the treatment for both sinusitis and rhinitis is the same.

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Jul 21, 2021

Very informative Article for layman like Me, I liked the Article very much

Jul 24, 2021
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