The sinuses are air-filled cavities near the nasal passage. When the sinuses become infected and/or inflamed, you may experience discomfort. Swollen sinuses create pressure that can lead to a sinus headache. Problems with your sinuses can also trigger asthma.
Common symptoms of sinusitis include congestion, stuffiness, yellow-green mucous discharge, and headache or facial pressure. Fever can also accompany sinusitis. Depending on how long symptoms last, sinusitis is classified as acute (less than 4 weeks), subacute (4 to 12 weeks) or chronic (more than 12 weeks). There are many conditions that can mimic “sinus headache,” so it is best to be evaluated by an ENT doctor if you suspect you may have this problem.
Epistaxis (Nose Bleeds)
Nose bleeds most often occur due to a combination of trauma in the setting of blood thinner use, but can also be due to variations in anatomy and/or dryness in the nasal cavity. Often times, a nose bleed will stop with gentle pressure alone. Frequent nosebleeds should warrant an evaluation with possible endoscopy to determine if further intervention can help lessen the problem, such as in-office cauterization or alteration of medications.
Also referred to as allergic rhinitis or hay fever, rhinitis is the inflammation of the nasal membranes. Common symptoms include a runny nose, congestion, sneezing, and clear mucous. It can also include itchy, watery eyes. Rhinitis can be either seasonal or perennial, depending on your exposure to specific allergens.
Polyps are soft growths, in this case, on the lining of your nose. When they are small, you might not notice them, but if they are large or you have a cluster of them, polyps can block your nasal passage, making it difficult to breathe. Symptoms can also include stuffiness that won’t go away, decreased sense of smell, loss of sense of taste, and nosebleeds.
Problems with the nose can lead to additional health issues if they remain untreated. Allergies and infections affect the nasal passages and sinuses, but these problems can trigger asthma and snoring and lead to sleep apnea. Because symptoms of sinusitis, rhinitis and nasal polyps can overlap, it’s a good idea to have an ENT doctor diagnose the cause of your problem. You’ll breathe easier if you do.