Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why do I get sinus infections so often?"
I feel like I get sinus infections all the time. I have like 4 every year it seems like. Why might I get them more often than most people? Should I have surgery on my nose or is my immune system messed up?
I am sorry that you are having such frequent sinus infections. There are various etiologies and treatments for sinus infections so you should follow up with an Ear- Nose- Throat specialist (otolaryngologist) to discuss your symptoms, evaluation, and possible management. A sinus infection, also known as sinusitis, 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. It sounds like you may be having recurrent episodes of acute sinusitis when symptoms last for less than four weeks. Causes of acute sinusitis include bacterial and viral (most common) infections. Allergies can also play a role in sinusitis, so often treatment of nasal symptoms with allergy medications or decongestants can help with symptoms. It is important to be followed by your physician because complications can include meningitis, orbital cellulitis, and brain abscess. Evaluation could include rhinoscopy (visualization of the nasal cavities), sinus CT scan or MRI, sinus culture, and allergy and immunology evaluations to determine if there are other causes that may predispose you to recurrent sinusitis. Treatments include nasal irrigations, intranasal and oral steroids, antibiotics, allergy medications, antifungals, and occasionally sinus surgery (Functional endoscopic sinus surgery - FESS). You should follow up with an Otolaryngologist to help evaluate and manage your symptoms.
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