Tag: sinusitis

Does an ENT Specialist Treat That? All About Sinuses

ENT specialist Dr. Davis diagnosing sinus problem.

ENT Specialists

 

When was the last time that you had a cold? You probably battled nasal congestion, but luckily, your stuffy nose cleared up with the virus, right? If not, then you may be one of the many people who suffer from persistent nasal congestion or irritation. Breathing is an essential feature of life, but one that many of us take for granted. Whether you’re suffering from a sinus infection or are thinking about sinus surgery, it’s time to find an ENT specialist who can help you breathe easy.

In this article, we’re sharing some of the sinus therapies and surgeries that we offer at Excel ENT. We assist our patients in everything from at-home nasal rinses to surgeries and innovative, non-invasive procedures to improve their breathing.

What is sinusitis?

Sinusitis is inflammation and swelling of the sinuses, which are a connected system of small, hollow cavities in your head. Everyone experiences sinusitis throughout their lives. For most people, the sinusitis is acute, or short-lived. Usually, it accompanies a cold, and the inflammation goes away when you recover.

Symptoms of acute sinusitis are:

  • Facial pain or pressure
  • A “stuffy” or runny nose
  • Reduced sense of smell
  • Cough and congestion

Chronic sinusitis is persistent swelling from conditions such as a sinus infection, allergies, nasal polyps, or a deviated septum. When the sinuses are chronically inflamed, they trap mucus, which makes them more susceptible to bacteria growth and infection.

Symptoms of chronic sinusitis are:

  • Congestion or “fullness” in the face
  • Blockage in one or both nasal passages
  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Discolored postnasal drainage (drainage at the back of your throat)
  • Pus in the nasal cavity
  • Headaches and fatigue

Treating chronic sinusitis can be challenging. Often, it takes a combination of several methods, including nasal irrigation, decongestants, or antibiotics. Patients who do not find relief from those methods may require treatments such as endoscopic sinus surgery or balloon sinuplasty.

The benefits of nasal irrigation

Your nose is like a filter that uses layers of mucus to trap particles so that they don’t get to your lungs. Unfortunately, dryness and inflammation make it harder for the sinuses to drain properly. Using nasal irrigation, also called a nasal rinse, can help thin the mucus so that it flows out of the nose, rinsing bacteria and irritating particulates away with it.

Using a saline rinse is simple, especially if you use a premixed solution like NeilMed. You should mix distilled water and a NeilMed sterile packet to create a saline (saltwater) solution. Lean your head over the sink and flush the saline into one nostril. The water will flow through your sinuses and out the other nostril, taking allergens and bacteria with it.

You can perform nasal irrigation daily, as your cold, allergy, or chronic sinusitis symptoms warrant it.

What is a deviated septum?

Your septum is the wall between your nostrils that separates the nasal passages. When a septum is deviated, it is bent or crooked, which causes blockage in one of the nasal passages. Some people are born with a deviated septum, and others sustain an injury that damages it.

The surgery to repair and straighten the septum is called septoplasty. It’s an option for patients who have not had success with non-invasive treatments. Results vary from person to person, but many people experience an improvement in their breathing after the procedure.

Vivaer® nasal airway remodeling

People who suffer from chronic nasal obstruction may benefit from a new, in-office procedure called Vivaer®. The treatment uses low-temperature radiofrequency energy to gently and permanently reshape the nasal valve. It can be an excellent procedure for patients who have narrow nasal valves and who either aren’t interested in or wouldn’t benefit from a septoplasty.

After the Vivaer® procedure, patients immediately begin to experience improved breathing. If you’re tired of nasal strips and nasal sprays then you may be interested in speaking with Dr. Davis about whether you’re a candidate for Vivaer®.

Balloon sinuplasty promotes sinus drainage: a minimally invasive technique

Dr. Davis is excited to offer patients a revolutionary office treatment for mild to moderate chronic and recurrent sinusitis called balloon sinuplasty. During the procedure, Dr. Davis threads a small catheter through the sinus opening and inflates a balloon with water. The balloon dilates the sinus opening and widens the outflow tract, which encourages it to drain.

The procedure is a quick, non-invasive way to improve drainage, reduce the potential for bacterial infections, and improve breathing. Numerous studies have shown that 90-95% of balloon sinuplasty patients benefit from the procedure for at least two years.

Is it time to consider functional endoscopic sinus surgery?

Functional endoscopic sinus surgery is a procedure that your ENT surgeon can use to treat moderate to severe sinus surgery. If you’re no longer responding to treatments like nasal irrigation, antibiotics, and decongestants, then you may be a candidate for sinus surgery.

During the procedure, Dr. Davis uses an endoscope to locate and remove bone and tissue in the sinuses that are preventing drainage. Sinus surgery creates larger drainage pathways to reduce the chances of mucus buildup after recovery. In addition, medicated sinus rinses can better penetrate the opened sinuses to help reduce inflammation. Patients will need to undergo general anesthesia for the procedure, which usually takes between one and three hours. However, recovery is typically quick, with very little pain.

SINUVA: An innovative treatment for nasal polyps

Nasal polyps are soft, painless, benign growths in the nasal passages. Prolonged inflammation and swelling of the sinuses from infection and allergies may increase a person’s likelihood of developing polyps. For many people, nasal polyps are a chronic problem that persists throughout their lives.

Common nasal polyps symptoms are:

  • Runny nose
  • Persistent congestion and sinus pressure
  • Postnasal drip
  • Reduced senses of smell and taste
  • Pain in the upper teeth and face
  • Snoring
  • Nosebleeds
  • Headaches

Common treatments include anti-inflammatory, steroid nasal sprays, nasal irrigation, and surgery to remove the polyps. Unfortunately, surgical removal of polyps isn’t always permanent, and the polyps may grow back.

SINUVA is an innovative, non-invasive nasal implant that delivers an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid (mometasone furoate) directly to the polyps. An ENT doctor can place the SINUVA implant in the office if the patient has had previous endoscopic sinus surgery. The implant stays in place for approximately 90 days, after which the doctor will remove it. SINUVA successfully reduces polyp inflammation without surgical intervention.

We’re passionate about sinuses!

The team at Excel ENT of Alabama is passionate about sinus health and helping patients breathe better. Whether you’re having a bout of acute sinusitis or suffering from persistent nasal blockage, get in touch with Dr. Davis. He’ll get you feeling better in no time!

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Spring into Allergy and Sinus Relief

Spring into allergy and sinus relief

There are so many things to enjoy about the spring season. Baseball season, gardening, and just being able to spend more time outdoors are just a few of the things that make the spring season amazing!

But, want to know one thing that doesn’t make spring so great? The wonderful pollen that falls from the sky and onto our cars and clothing, causing us to sneeze, cough and feel just plain awful.

Fortunately, our team at Excel ENT of Alabama wants you to know that your spring season can still be an enjoyable one—even if you do suffer from spring allergies, and here’s how:

 

But First—What Are Allergies?

 

It is very common for allergies and sinus infections to be mistaken for one another. As a result, it is important if you are unsure whether your symptoms are related to allergies or a sinus infection that you seek medical treatment from an ENT specialist to ensure you are given the right treatment plan for your condition.

Check out our post about how you can tell the difference between allergies and sinus infections.

Many times allergy symptoms can turn into a sinus infection if not treated properly. Therefore, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with allergies, it is important to schedule an appointment with an ENT to prevent your condition from turning into a more serious problem like sinusitis (sinus infection) or chronic sinusitis.

 

Take Action Against Allergies

 

Of course, the best way to treat allergy symptoms is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Let’s take a look at some ways you can reduce your risk of suffering from allergies this spring, starting with:

  • Avoiding exposing yourself to things you know will cause allergy symptoms.
  • Getting exercise on a regular basis.
  • Making sure you wash your hands frequently.
  • Quitting smoking if you are a smoker.
  • Showering when you are home for the night.
  • Taking over-the-counter allergy medications like Xyzal, Zyrtec, Claritin, etc.
  • Trying a humidifier at night to assist with any congestion.
  • Using nasal spray (saline solution) or a neti pot.

However, if symptoms are still strong after trying these home remedies and over-the-counter allergy medications, it is time to seek treatment from a knowledgeable and experienced ENT specialist.

 

When to See an ENT for a Sinus Infection

 

Sinus infections can happen from time to time, especially when allergens are at their worst (i.e., spring and summer). But, there is a difference between a sinus infection here and there and constant sinus infections (also known as “chronic sinusitis”) that last for months.

Symptoms of chronic sinusitis include:

  • Decreased sense of smell
  • Discolored nasal discharge
  • Facial pain (including pressure and/or fullness)
  • Nasal congestion
  • Nasal obstruction
  • Thick nasal discharge

If you have been fighting off sinus infections for more than three months, it is time to seek medical attention to regain your quality of life. Especially if antibiotics have been of no relief, it is time to discuss other treatment methods available.

 

We Are Here to Help!

 

Depending on the severity of symptoms, sometimes avoiding the allergens that cause you problems and a prescription nasal spray or other sinus medication can be helpful. However, if your symptoms turn into chronic sinusitis, surgical procedures like balloon sinuplasty might be a better option.

Contact our office today to schedule an appointment so you can find relief sooner rather than later to start enjoying a wonderful spring season!

Am I a Good Candidate for Sinus Surgery?

Doctor Explaining ENT

Do I need Sinus Surgery?

 

Headache, runny nose, nasal congestion, oh my!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 26 million Americans are diagnosed with sinusitis. Are you one of them?

What Is Sinusitis?

Sinusitis, also known as a sinus infection, occurs when the nasal passages become inflamed. There are two main types of sinusitis—acute sinusitis and chronic sinusitis.

Symptoms of sinusitis include:

  • Bad breath
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Loss of smell
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Teeth pain

Depending on the type of sinusitis, treatment options vary.

For acute sinusitis, treatment includes saline nasal washes, over-the-counter medications (like a decongestant), and a possible antibiotic. However, if despite treatment, your symptoms continue for 12 weeks or more, chronic sinusitis is most likely the culprit.

In this case, sinus surgery might be the best answer for relief.

Will Sinus Surgery Help?

In most cases, physicians will give patients time for other treatment methods to work to improve your sinus infection symptoms.

However, if after three months, pain and other symptoms continue, chances are great that there is an obstruction of the sinuses. Therefore, sinus surgery might be recommended.

“If other medications for sinusitis leave the patient without relief, surgery is the next best option,” says J. Christopher Davis, MD, FACS, an otolaryngology (ear, nose & throat) specialist at Excel ENT of Alabama. “Sinus surgery, including balloon sinuplasty, can help patients find relief from their condition, as well as lower their risks of suffering from sinus infections in the future.”

Good candidates for sinus surgery include patients who have:

  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Deviated septum
  • Nasal or sinus polyps
  • Sinus disease due to a fungal infection

When Sinus Surgery Is an Option

Fortunately, if your condition calls for a medical procedure, there are a number of sinus surgery options available. Balloon sinuplasty is one option.

“During a balloon sinuplasty, a catheter with an inflatable balloon attached to it is inserted into the patient’s sinuses and a balloon is inflated to widen the sinus outflow tracts,” Dr. Davis explains. “Since balloon sinuplasty is a less invasive treatment option than the traditional endoscopic sinus surgery, it is beginning to be the method of choice in mild to moderate cases of chronic sinusitis.”

Another sinus surgery option includes a functional endoscopic surgery. It’s important to talk to an ENT to decide which option is best for you and your medical condition.

 

Are you tired of suffering from chronic sinus infections? Contact the team at Excel ENT of Alabama today to schedule an appointment to discuss your treatment options, including sinus surgery.

Allergies vs. Sinuses – What’s the Difference?

Woman with arms outstretched

Allergies vs Sinuses

 

Hello, allergy and sinus season! Between a stuffy nose, headache, and everything in between, it can seem as though the symptoms keep coming on in different ways, which can confuse you as to what you might be suffering from.

Fortunately, the team at Excel ENT of Alabama has some “tricks of the trade” when it comes to finding out whether or not you are suffering from allergies or sinuses.

AHH-CHOO!

As soon as the weather changes, it seems as though the sniffles and coughs come with it. But, who is the culprit? Allergies or a sinus infection?

While the answer sometimes cannot always be clear, the team at Excel ENT of Alabama wants you to know there are signs that might point in one direction or the other.

Is It a Sinus Infection?

A sinus infection is a very common medical condition that affects more than 30 million people living in the United States every year. As a result, it makes it one of the most commonly diagnosed medical conditions among Americans.

Symptoms of a sinus infection include:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Facial tenderness and/or swelling
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Pain in back of eyes, ears, and/or forehead
  • Loss of smell
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Sinus pressure
  • Sore throat

While sinus infections can be taken care of with plenty of rest, fluids, and over-the-counter medications (like decongestants and antibiotics), there can come a time where more medical intervention is needed.

Therefore, if you continue to suffer from a sinus infection for more than 4 to 6 weeks, you might want to speak to an ear, nose, and throat physician who can guide you through other treatment options, including surgery.

What About Allergies?

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, allergies are one of the most chronic diseases in the United States. While more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year, as stated by the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, most symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, and allergy shots, if necessary.

The following are the most common signs of allergies, including:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Hives
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Rash
  • Runny nose
  • Skin irritation
  • Sneezing

Because more serious allergies (like to certain foods and drugs) can cause life-threatening symptoms in patients, it is important for people who suffer from allergies undergo allergy testing in case an EpiPen is needed.

Are you tired of suffering from sinus infection after sinus infection? We don’t blame you! Contact the experienced team at Excel ENT of Alabama today to schedule an appointment to discuss  the right treatment option for you!