Sinusitis: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

Sinusitis is a common condition in which the inner lining of the sinuses or the nasal passage gets inflamed or swell. Sinus cavities produce mucus that nasal passages need to work efficiently. This condition develops when mucus builds up, and the sinuses become inflamed and swollen. There are two types of sinusitis: Acute and Chronic. 

Causes of sinus inflammation can be an autoimmune reaction, viruses, bacterial infection, allergies, or fungi. Sinusitis is also referred to as rhinosinusitis by doctors due to the fact that the inflammation of the sinuses always occurs with rhinitis, which is the inflammation of the nose.

Although irritating and painful, the condition often goes away without the need for medical attention. However, if symptoms are severe or last for up to 2 weeks, a person needs to seek medical attention. 

A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the diagnosis of chronic sinusitis for million people in 2016. In 2018, at least 28.9 million Americans reported a sinusitis diagnosis throughout the year.


Symptoms may vary depending on how long the condition lasts and how serious it is.

Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Nasal discharge, usually green or yellow
  • Blocked or runny nose
  • A postnasal drip, where mucus runs down the back of the throat
  • Headaches
  • Facial pain or pressure
  • Sore throat
  • Toothache
  • A reduced sense of taste and smell
  • Inflammation and swelling around the eyes, forehead, nose, and cheeks


Sinusitis can be a result of several factors but it always stems from fluid becoming trapped in the sinuses, which gives germs a possible ground to grow. 

The most common cause is a virus, but it can also cause because of a bacterial infection. Besides, people with asthma and allergies can also trigger sinusitis. Air pollutants such as chemicals or other irritants can also result in the inflammation of the sinuses and nasal passages.

On the other hand, fungal infections and molds can also result in fungal sinusitis.


A doctor can make the right diagnosis through the following factors:

  • Asking you to undergo a physical examination
  • Asking about symptoms
  • Carrying out an allergy test to determine possible triggers
  • Using an endoscope to see the inside of the nasal passages
  • Asking you to undergo an MRI or CT scan to identify structural problems, in some cases

The doctor may also visually study the nasal cavity with a light source or a tiny, handheld device with a light attached known as an otoscope. Doctors mostly use this device to examine the ear.

If symptoms last longer, an individual may need to visit an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist for a more thorough examination.

Risk Factors

Given below are some of the factors that may increase a person’s risk of developing sinusitis:

  • Seasonal allergies
  • Having a weak immune system because of medication or an underlying health condition
  • Having a previous respiratory tract infection, most commonly cold
  • Having a deviated septum
  • Nasal polyps — the small benign growths in the nasal passage that can cause inflammation and obstruction
  • Sensitivity to substances such as animal hair, dust, and pollen

The septum consists of the bone and cartilage that separates the nose into two nostrils. When the septum bends to one side, because of injury or growth, it can increase the risk of developing sinusitis.


Treatment for sinusitis depends on how long the condition persists.

Chronic Sinusitis

This condition does not usually occur due to bacteria; hence antibiotics are unlikely to make it better. Limiting exposure to triggers such as pollen, dust, animal hair, and other allergens may help provide relief from symptoms.

Corticosteroid sprays or tablets may help provide relief from inflammation, but these often require acute medical supervision and prescription. Remember that these medications can cause adverse effects on long-term usage.

Acute and Subacute Sinusitis

If symptoms last longer or are severe, a doctor may prescribe medication. In case of a bacterial infection, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics. If symptoms persist longer, the person should visit the doctor again until the condition subsides.


A doctor may ask you to undergo surgery if other treatment options do not work. 

In any case, surgery may not always resolve the problem completely. The person may need to continue with the treatments after surgery to prevent it from happening again. 

In children, surgery should not be preferred initially. If a doctor recommends surgery to treat sinusitis in a child, it is recommended to get a second opinion before proceeding with surgery.

In children, insurers may need a parent to provide thorough evidence that the surgery is to treat sinusitis and not a cosmetic procedure to improve the appearance of the nose.

Home Remedies

Almost 70% of cases get resolved without treatment or medication. Various home remedies and OTC medications can provide relief from symptoms.

Given below are some of the home remedies and treatments:

  • Rest: Get proper sleep or rest with the head and shoulders raised on a pillow. Sleeping with the pain-free side of the face on the pillow is recommended.
  • Essential Oils: Adding a few drops of essential oils such as eucalyptus oil or menthol to the towel or hot water may help provide relief from the symptoms. Never ingest any essential oil or apply it directly to the skin.
  • Pain Relief: Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help reduce inflammation and fever.
  • Warm Compresses: Apply lightly to the inflamed area to relieve discomfort and irritation.
  • Steam Inhalation: Place a moist, hot towel on the face or inhale steam from a hot water bowl.
  • Nasal Irrigation: Rinse and clean the nasal passages with a saline solution or just saltwater. Always use clean water and disinfected equipment.
  • OTC Nasal Corticosteroids: This is a type of nasal spray that may help reduce inflammation and discomfort.

Grocare’s Natural Ayurvedic Treatment for Sinusitis

In a recent study involving Grocare India, the drug named Absogen helped fight the inflammatory response during sinusitis, thereby decreasing the expression MUCAC5 which is a mucosal inflammation marker.