Sinusitis is inflammation of the lining of the sinuses, caused by a viral or bacterial infection. The sinuses are small, air-filled spaces behind your cheekbones and forehead, and sinusitis is a very common condition that can affect people of any age.
There are four pairs of sinuses in the head, these are: behind the forehead, either side of the bridge of the nose, behind the eyes and behind the cheekbones. They open into the cavity of the nose and help control the temperature and water content of the air reaching the lungs. These channels can become blocked when the sinuses are infected and inflamed, with the sinuses behind the cheekbones (the largest ones) being most commonly affected.
The main symptom of sinusitis is pain, particularly if the condition is severe, and the pain can be in different parts of the face, depending on which of the sinuses are affected. The main areas where pain can be experienced are the forehead, the top of the jaw, teeth and cheeks, between the eyes, the top of the head and in the ears.
Usual symptoms of sinusitis are:
- a blocked or runny nose
- facial pain and tenderness
- a high temperature (fever)
- a sinus headache – an uncommon type of headache caused by infected sinuses and can be recognised as a dull, throbbing pain in the upper face.
- loss of sense of smell
Your GP will usually be able to diagnose sinusitis from your symptoms. However if it is severe or recurring sinusitis, your GP may refer you to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist who will try to determine the underlying cause. However, around two thirds of people with sinusitis don’t need to see a GP and in most cases the viral infection clears up by itself in about two-and-a-half weeks.
Here at The New Malden Diagnostic Centre we have highly experienced ENT consultant surgeons that can investigate, diagnose and treat a wide range of ear, nose and throat conditions in both adults and children.
If you feel you need advice and help managing an ENT condition or you are yet to be diagnosed but feel you have symptoms, please do not hesitate to get in touch, by calling 020 8942 6555 or visiting our website.