Your sinus cavities, also referred to as paranasal sinuses, are found in the bones of your face and are there for a variety of purposes. These sinuses are unique and can only be seen on x-rays. Also, the location of these sinus cavities is what gives them their names. For instance, those that are found on the upper bridge of your nose are called ethmoid sinuses while those that are located above your eyebrow are called frontal sinuses.
Each of your sinus cavities are lined with cilia, little hairs that move and force contents of your sinuses through the cavity, and mucus membrane. A major purpose of these sinus cavities is to drain the mucus which is used to trap dangerous substances in your body. Your sinuses facilitate the collection and drainage of mucus so they can no longer accumulate and cause infection. Mucus is very important as it traps viruses, bacteria, and allergens.
In addition, your sinus cavities warm and filter the air that you inhale. They also lighten your skull. Just think of it, if these cavities are filled in with your bones, your skull will be dense and heavy; hence, making it very difficult for you to move. Your sinuses also add resonance to your voice as well as help protect your skill during times that your face receives strong impact from certain objects or factors.
Nonetheless, you should realize that your sinuses can also develop problems that may lead to dangerous conditions if not attended to as soon as possible. One of the most common sinus problems is sinusitis or the condition in which the sinus cavities become inflamed. When your sinuses fail to drain mucus, they can cause you pain and uneasiness. You will start to feel heavy and uncomfortable.
Sinusitis is basically an inflammation of the air cavities within the nose passages. It can be caused by allergies, infections, and chemicals. It is classified into acute sinus infection, chronic sinus infection, subacute sinus infection, noninfectious sinusitis, and infected sinusitis. In case a rare fungal infection of the sinuses occurs, you may need a medical emergency. Zygomycosis is an example of a rare fungal infection of the sinuses.
Sinus infections are common and are typically caused by infections from viruses, bacteria, and fungi. They grow within a sinus and cause intermittent sinus ostium blockage. The usual symptoms of sinus infection are coughing, sore throat, feeling of nasal stuffiness, and cloudy or discolored nasal drainage. Headache or increased sensitivity may also be experienced when you lean forward since your sinuses receive additional pressure.
Chronic sinusitis condition can be irritating, and you may need to undergo surgical procedures to enlarge your sinuses and improve their ability to reduce fluid and mucus buildup. Moreover, sinus cancer can develop if symptoms are not noticed and taken cared of immediately. Sinus cancer is a lot more serious than sinusitis. It can be very painful, uncomfortable, and even life threatening.
Cysts in the sinus cavity or nasal polyps are also major problems. They are more common in people with asthma or allergies, though. They are usually treated with surgery or nasal sprays. Nasal obstruction and nasal discharge in the form of postnasal drip or runny nose are common symptoms of this condition. If left untreated, it can lead to difficulty in breathing, loss of taste, and loss of smell.
Cysts that are minor to moderate are usually treated with oral and nasal corticosteroids. Sinus cancer, however, is treated with surgery, therapy, and alternative medication. Radiation therapy, chemotherapy, yoga, acupuncture, and massage therapy are recommended to patients. On the other hand, those who want to focus on increasing comfort instead of curing the disease can resort to hospice care.
If you are experiencing sharp pains in your head or face, recurring headaches, constant sore throat, bad breath, pressure above and below your eyes, and toothache, you may have sinus problems. Before you head and out toward the nearest hospital or clinic, however, you may want to do a personal assessment first. You should first determine where the pain is. If you know where your sinus cavities are located, this should be easy for you to do.
You should feel them so you can tell if you have an allergic reaction or infection. Use two of your fingers to apply light pressure on your forehead, between the eyes, and cheeks. If there is any tenderness, swelling, or pain, you might have an infection or similar problem with your sinuses. Then, you should feel your tooth and part of your face near the sinus cavity. If the pain arises when you feel the part of your face near the sinus cavity, you may have a sinus problem.
It is also recommended to observe if there is blockage or mucus inside your nose. Try closing your mouth and taking a deep breath through the nose. If you experience difficulty in breathing, your nose may be congested. However, if the passages are clear but there is a burning sensation when you inhale, you may have a sinus problem. You should have your sinus cavities checked.
Another way to determine if you are having sinus problems is to look at the color of your mucus. Normal mucus is white or clear. A sinus infection is present if the mucus is green or yellow. You can check the color of your mucus by blowing your nose on a handkerchief or tissue paper. Just make sure that you blow lightly so as not to create more buildup of excess pressure in your sinus cavities.
Keep in mind that your nerves extend beyond your cavities, so what seems like a simple headache or toothache may actually be a problem with your sinus cavities. Hence, you should consider if the pain your face or head is due to sinus problems. If the pain dramatically increases, persists for over a week, or interferes with your work, studies, and lifestyle in general, you should consult a physician so you can be prescribed with the necessary medication.