A blocked sinus occurs when an obstruction in your sinus openings prevents air from entering your paranasal sinuses. When your sinus is blocked, it can be hard to breathe and you may also experience sore throat, facial pain, and nasal discharge. If you want to find out more about sinus blockages, then you have come to the right place. This article has everything you need to know about sinus blockages. Continue reading to find out more about the treatments, symptoms, and causes of sinus blockages.
Blocked Sinus Cause
In your nasal passages, there are 4 pairs of sinus cavities assisting in the filtering and warming of the air that enters your nose. Each of these sinus cavities has a tiny opening called Ostium. The ostium is attached to your nasal passages and allows for free exchange of mucus and air. When thick infected mucus or excess mucus blocks the ostium, the mucus linings in your nasal passages become irritated.
The mucus linings in your nasal passages contain cells with fine hairs called Cilia. The cilia are responsible for sweeping the mucus from your sinus cavities down your nasal passages for a proper drainage. When harmful bacteria irritate the cilia, it becomes dysfunctional and allows infected mucus to stagnate in your sinus cavity. The infected mucus causes an irritation of your nasal linings. The irritation causes your membranes to swell and results in a blocked sinus.
Blocked Sinus Symptoms
The most common symptom of a blocked sinus is having difficulty breathing through your nose. When your sinuses are blocked, the air that you can breathe in is limited. Therefore, your body requires extra energy to breathe and you become fatigued because of it. If both of your nasal passages become clogged, then you are forced to breathe through your mouth in order to maintain a sufficient supply of air in your body. Sleeping also becomes more difficult and unsatisfying because of the difficulty to breathe.
Another common symptom of a blocked sinus is nasal discharge. There is a relatively thin amount of mucus inside your nasal passages. The mucus filters the air passing through your nasal passages without blocking it. However, when the mucus is deprived of moisture and air, it becomes thick and leads to blockage. When your sinuses become blocked by mucus, thick, darkened mucus may come out of your nose.
Facial pain is also a symptom of a blocked sinus. Your sinus chambers are located under your eyes, behind your nose, and in your cheeks and foreheads. When sinus blockages occur in these areas, they become more prone to bacteria. When there are bacteria present in these areas, it results in swelling and inflammation. The swelling and inflammation cause facial pain or head pressure. The head pressure or headaches usually occur in the back of your head or in your forehead. The area around your cheeks and eyes may also become sensitive to touch.
Sinus blockage may also cause sore throat. When your sinuses are blocked, the thickened mucus that needs to be discharged through your nose may seep down your throat. The thickened mucus irritates your throat and causes it to become reddened, dry, and sore.
Blocked Sinus Duration
Unlike common colds which disappear after a few days, sinus blockages can last for a few weeks or a few months. The symptoms can be treated using home remedies, nonprescription medications, and prescription medications. However, if the sinus blockage becomes infected, the treatment might take more than a week. There are medications that provide immediate relief from the symptoms, but the relief is only temporary. Unblocking the passage that is causing the symptoms requires a continued treatment that takes time. You need a continued effort to completely heal a blockage in your sinuses.
Natural Treatments for a Blocked Sinus
If you don’t like taking medications to treat your sinus blockage, then try these natural treatments that you can do at home:
- Increasing the humidity is one of the natural ways to treat a sinus blockage. According to medical experts, increasing the humidity in your room or apartment may help you recover from a sinus blockage faster. Sinus infections and blockages are more common during the winter months. During this time of year, the heating is on and your windows and doors are closed, making the air inside your home very dry. The dry air makes you more prone to sinus blockages and may worsen an existing sinus blockage. To increase the humidity in your home, buy a whole-house humidifier or a small room-sized humidifier. If you don’t want to spend money on a humidifier, you can also increase the humidity in your home by boiling water on a large pot. The vapor caused by the boiling water adds more humidity to the air inside your home.
- A warm compress can also help treat sinus blockages. You can buy a warm compress that you can heat up in your microwave oven. Pharmacies and health food stores sell microwaveable warm compresses for a very low price. You can also use a heated wet washcloth or towel as a warm compress. The warm compress softens the mucus blocking your sinuses and allows it to drain out more easily.
- Steam inhalation with menthol oil or eucalyptus oil is also an effective way to treat a blocked sinus. Using menthol oil or eucalyptus oil in a steam inhalation relieves nasal and sinus congestion by reducing the pressure in your nasal passages and draining the mucus. To create a steam inhalation with eucalyptus or menthol, pour boiling water into a large bowl and add three drops of menthol or eucalyptus oil. Cover the bowl with a towel and place your head over it. Close your eyes and slowly inhale the steam for about ten minutes. If you don’t like inhaling steam, you can just drop some menthol or eucalyptus oil on your handkerchief and sniff it periodically. The vapor from menthol oils is an incredible decongestant with germicidal properties. Eucalyptus is a powerful antiseptic and has antibacterial properties.