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What are the Symptoms of Chronic Sinusitis?

Sinusitis (also called rhinosinusitis) is the name of the condition in which the lining of your sinuses becomes inflamed. The sinuses are air spaces behind the bones of the upper face, between the eyes and behind the forehead, nose and cheeks.

photo of good and bad sinuses

Normally, the sinuses drain through small openings into the inside of the nose. Anything that blocks the flow may cause a buildup of mucus in the sinuses. The blockage and inflammation of the sinus membranes can be infectious or non-infectious.

The symptoms caused by sinusitis may be quite uncomfortable. The signs and symptoms may include:

  • Facial pain, pressure, congestion or fullness
  • Difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Discharge of yellow or green mucus from the nose
  • Teeth pain
  • Loss of the sense of smell or taste
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Bad breath

Types of Sinusitis

There are two main categories of sinusitis: acute and chronic.

Sinusitis is usually preceded by a cold, allergy attack or irritation from environmental pollutants. Often, the resulting symptoms, such as nasal pressure, nasal congestion, a "runny nose," and fever, run their course in a few days. However, if symptoms persist, a bacterial infection or acute sinusitis may develop. Most cases of sinusitis are acute (or sudden onset); however, if the condition occurs frequently or lasts three months or more, you may have chronic sinusitis.

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Patricia Gilroy, MD
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