Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"I am 20 and have always been prone to sinus problems, allergies and colds. What are the options?"

ZocdocAnswersI am 20 and have always been prone to sinus problems, allergies and colds. What are the options?


In the past, doctors have speculated that it can be due to oversized adenoids or because one of my tonsils is very big. Is it worth having them removed? What are the risks/pros and cons?


Sinus disease and related problems can be difficult to manage and frustrating for a patient. An Otolaryngologist (ENT) can help you with management. Sinusitis, also known as rhinosinusitis, is caused by inflammation in the nasal and sinus cavities and can result in headache, sinus facial pain, nasal congestion, rhinorrhea (runny nose), and occasionally tooth pain. It affects about 30 million people in the US every year. If symptoms last for less than 4 week, it is termed acute, between 4-12 weeks it is subacute, and greater than 12 weeks it is considered chronic sinusitis. Acute causes include bacterial and viral infections. There are various factors that can exacerbate sinusitis and your physician can help discuss these factors with you. They include environmental allergies, smoke inhalation, immunodeficiency, viral infection, and systemic diseases. Treatments include nasal irrigations, intranasal and oral steroids, antibiotics, allergy medications, antifungals, and occasinoally sinus surgery (Functional endoscopic sinus surgery - FESS). Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy (T&A) can also be considered depending on your specific history and symptoms. The most common complications from a T&A include throat pain, ear pain, bleeding and anesthesia related adverse effects. Infection and airway obstruction are rare complications. If after your evaluation, your physician determines a T&A is necessary, you should also discuss the risks and benefits of this procedure. You should follow up with an Ear-Nose-Throat physician to help evaluate and manage your sinus symptoms.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.