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Sinus Treatment: What are Your Options?

Before deciding on a course of treatment, your doctor will want to examine your nose and throat to determine that you have a sinus problem in need of treatment.  During this check, the doctor is looking to see if there are redness and swelling in tissues in the nasal passages. The doctor will also feel your sinuses to determine if there is swelling and whether the buildup of mucus is causing you any pain. In the final stage of the examination, your doctor will ask about the color and texture of your nasal discharge, as well as any other symptoms you might be experiencing.

From this examination, the doctor can make an informed decision about the best course of treatment.

Antihistamines are effective in stopping the inflammation that may affect the sinuses caused by an allergic reaction. If your sinuses are infected, the doctor will prescribe an antibiotic to kill the bacteria in the nasal passages and sinus cavities.

Nasal treatments include the use of nasal corticosteroids, saline washes, and decongestants. Nasal corticosteroids come in the form of sprays that act against inflammation and swelling in the nasal passages and sinus ducts. These sprays cannot be used indefinitely and should be discontinued after a maximum of 5-7 days. Saline washes help to loosen thick mucus, allowing it to drain more easily. Nasal decongestants will treat a runny nose. However, they contain a thickening agent that will cause mucus to solidify, preventing adequate drainage.

Many nasal sprays can be bought over the counter at your local drugstore. Always speak to a pharmacist and make sure you are clear on how to use them. Ask about medication combinations and whether these treatments will interfere with any chronic medication you take.

If no drug therapies improve your sinus problems, you might need surgery. The otolaryngologist will repair any structural problems in the bone that are obstructing the sinuses. The surgeon clears the sinus passages and removes any nasal polyps present.