A fungal sinusitis infection is, as implied, an infection in the sinuses caused by fungi. It is a relatively known fact that a fungus is a microorganism that causes several diseases when it gets inside a living body, including humans. Fungal sinusitis has become a very prevalent disease especially since at this time and age, there are more and more triggering factors. This kind of infection in the sinuses has similar symptoms with other types of sinusitis such as chronic sinusitis and allergic sinusitis. Although the symptoms are similar, the treatment for fungal sinusitis is completely different.
Before going deep into the details of fungal sinusitis, it is good to know more about fungi since these microorganisms are the reasons behind this infection. A fungus is a plant-like organism that does not contain much chlorophyll. Since it does not have chlorophyll, it does not process food and therefore, it needs to absorb food from dead matters. However, there are cases wherein these fungi no longer eat dead organisms but also feed themselves on living things.
Fungi are believed to be opportunistic, which means, these microorganisms take advantage of a weak living body. This mostly happens to individuals who have diabetes, AIDS, and those who are overusing antibiotics. Fungi that invade those who have low body defense mechanism are believed to be invasive. However, healthy individuals are still not off the hook in catching diseases due to fungi. There are some cases where fungal infections occur to those who do not have immune deficiency but these infections are said to be non-invasive and benign.
No matter how gentle fungi may seem, the fact still remains that these microorganisms can be destructive if not treated early. When a human being gets plagued with fungi, these microorganisms will live in a dark area of the body as they do not need light for food production. Sinuses, on the other hand, consist of dark and moist cavities. With this, fungi will most likely live in these dark parts of the human body and thus, fungal sinusitis infection may take place. The two most common microorganisms that cause fungal sinusitis are known as Mucor and Aspergillus.
According to studies, there are four types of fungal sinusitis and one of these is the mycetoma fungal sinusitis. This kind of infection produces bunches of spores within a sinus cavity. This is most frequently found in maxillary sinuses. The mycetoma fungal sinusitis commonly occurs to individuals who have strong immune system but went through an injury or trauma involving the sinuses. As mentioned above, fungi affecting healthy individuals are non-invasive and thus, those who are afflicted by mycetoma fungal sinusitis will not experience significant inflammation. However, there will still be minor sinus discomfort, unless it will be treated immediately. Treatment for this fungal sinusitis infection only requires simple scraping of affected sinuses. A treatment options known as an anti-fungal therapy is rarely prescribed.
The allergic fungal sinusitis is another type of fungal infection on sinuses. This kind of infection is said to be due to allergic reactions to environmental fungi, which are found scattered in the air. Like the previous kind of fungal infection, the allergic fungal sinusitis also affects those have competent immune system. Studies show that a patient with a history of allergic rhinitis is most likely to experience the allergic fungal sinusitis. With this infection, the sinus cavities of the patient will have thick fungal debris and mucin, which is a discharge that contains carbohydrate-rich glycoproteins. These substances should be removed through a surgery so that recurrence of this infection will less likely to happen. In addition, unlike mycetoma, the allergic fungal sinusitis is often treated with anti-inflammatory medical therapy and immunotherapy. Corticosteroid nasal sprays are also known to be effective in treating this infection.
The third type of fungal sinusitis infection is called the chronic indolent sinusitis. This is unlike the first two described since the fungi triggering this infection are known to be invasive, which means that this mostly occurs to those who have weak immune system. The chronic indolent sinusitis can develop from months to years, where symptoms on chronic headache are evident. Furthermore, facial swelling is also apparent, which can lead to visual problems. One of the general rules to avoid this fungal sinusitis infection to occur is to make sure that the immune system is in perfect shape by staying physically healthy. Although this can be achieved, there are instances when increasing the immune system is not enough. Thus, aggressive surgical procedure is needed to remove the fungal material.
The last type of fungal sinusitis infection is known as the fulminant sinusitis. This infection is similar to the chronic indolent sinusitis since the fulminant sinusitis is also common to those who have low immune system. This last type of fungal sinusitis is believed to be very destructive as this disease can break through the sinuses, as well as the cavities consisting of the eyeball and the brain. When this happens, there will be a big possibility that the patient can have further damages consisting of his or her eyes and brain, which entails more treatment. The fulminant sinusitis also needs an aggressive surgical operation to avoid further damages. Anti-fungal therapy is also often prescribed for this infection.
Aside from the abovementioned treatments for each type of fungal sinusitis infection, one of the reliable diagnosis tools is the CT scan. With today’s technology, specialists or surgeons are equipped with materials that can examine the inner part of the affected area, as well as the discharge found from the sinuses. For the last two types of fungal sinusitis, long term treatment can take place. There will be a number of check-ups required for the patient to fully recover.
Since both a healthy and weak human being can be afflicted by fungal sinusitis infection, one is never safe from any harm that this infection can bring. However, educating oneself with all of these facts about fungal infection may help in lessening the probability of catching this disease.