Chronic Sinusitis


Making Sense of Losing Senses

SensesFall is a favorite season for many, especially Connecticut folks, with our senses being stimulated with the classic pumpkin and cinnamon flavors that fill both the air and our stomachs. Sadly, there are some people who don’t have the benefit of smelling and tasting these sweet fall flavors. This loss of two senses can be caused by a number of things, including sinus conditions — none of which are ever any fun.

Allergies and Sinusitis

Whether it’s the fall leaves, the back to school (or work) dust and mold, or even hay fever, fall allergens can be anywhere. Allergies, themselves, can present cold-like symptoms, such as congestion. For more information on fall allergies, check out our previous blog post, “What’s Up with Fall Allergies.” Over time, allergies can turn into a serious case of sinusitis,. which also presents cold-like symptoms when your sinuses (the area around your nasal passages) become swollen, clogged and infected. For more information, see “Sinusitis: Acute vs. Chronic.”

In both conditions, the major pressure and inflammation around your nose and head can seriously affect your sense of smell and taste. But, how does it effect these senses? The olfactory nerves (which allow us to smell) can become blocked by that inflammation. You’ve probably noticed that even with a small cold, your sense of smell is lessened as result of a stuffy nose. When you experience long-term sinusitis or allergies, that sense of smell can be diminished for months, or even longer. The American Rhinologic Society explains: “[T]he chronic inflammation from [sinusitis] can also permanently affect smell by damaging the special cells and nerves of the smell pathway.” Since smell and taste going hand in hand, that means your sense of taste is gone as well.

Nasal Obstruction

The loss of taste and smell can be structural as well. Both nasal polyps and deviated septums can cause a blockage that blocks the “smell nerves,” lessening those senses.

Treatments

There are a few different temporary methods for treating the loss of these senses. These include:

There are also a series of tests that can pinpoint the exact cause of your congestion, whether it be an allergy test or a sinus examination. Knowing your triggers will help you better prepare for your next reaction.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more permanent solution, let our expert physicians at CT Sinus Center help. We offer two cutting-edge, non-invasive procedures that are done in our office, in about an hour, that will open up the nasal passageways that are blocked and inflamed:

Once your nasal passages are cleared, your sense of smell will begin to come back, and so will your sense of taste, restoring your sense of happiness.

Call 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of CT Sinus Center’s four conveniently-located offices. After all, the old adage goes: “All’s well that smells well.”

For more information on sinus– and allergy-related conditions or treatments, read more about CT Sinus Center and take a look at our blog.


Sinusitis: Acute vs. Chronic

SinusitisSinusitis is a common condition in which the area around your nasal passages – the sinuses – become swollen. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites that:

  • Number of adults with diagnosed sinusitis: 29.4 million
  • Percent of adults with diagnosed sinusitis: 12.1%

Having sinusitis is miserable: the mucus, the facial pressure, the congestion and runny nose, not to mention the possible ear pain, coughing, jaw pain, fatigue, sore throat and nausea that can accompany all of it… Quite frankly, it’s horrible and can really put a cramp in your lifestyle. On top of that, sinusitis can last for a while, whether it’s acute or chronic. Let’s look at the differences between the two.

Acute

Acute sinusitis is sometimes referred to as rhinosinusitis, and almost always begins with a common cold or seasonal allergies. The increase of mucus and its inability to drain due to inflammation can cause infection leading to sinusitis.

The good news is that not all acute sinusitis involves bacterial infection; some may be viral. In these cases, over-the-counter remedies, fluids and rest are all you need to feel better after a couple of days. However, if your condition lasts for over 10 days with no improvement, the infection may be bacterial and you’ll need an antibiotic for relief.

Chronic

Chronic sinusitis, on the other hand, can last for more than 12 weeks even with treatment and is often reoccurring. In order to be diagnosed with chronic sinusitis, you must have at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Drainage of a thick, yellow or greenish discharge from the nose or down the back of the throat
  • Nasal obstruction or congestion, causing difficulty breathing through your nose
  • Pain, tenderness and swelling around your eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead
  • Reduced sense of smell and taste

There are various causes of chronic sinusitis listed by Mayo Clinic as:

  • Nasal polyps
  • Deviated nasal septum
  • Other medical conditions (such as cystic fibrosis, gastroesophageal reflux, or HIV and other immune system-related diseases can result in nasal blockage)
  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Allergies
  • Asthma

If you are suffering from either acute or chronic sinusitis, make an appointment at CT Sinus Center to discover the underlying cause and end sinus issues permanently. When you first come in, our expert team will sit down with you to discuss your medical history and sinus symptoms. Your physician may have you undergo the following tests:

  • Nasal endoscopy
  • Imaging studies
  • Nasal/sinus cultures
  • Allergy tests

Once the root of your problem is discovered, we will work with you to find the best solution for your sinus issues. You may eligible for one of our non-invasive, suffering-ending procedures:

  • Turbinate Reductions, in which the tissue in the nose that supports the nasal passages is decreased, decreasing the size of the turbinate and quickly increasing airflow

Call 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of CT Sinus Center’s four conveniently-located offices and say “see ya later” to your sinusitis.

For more information on sinus– and allergy-related conditions or treatments, read more about CT Sinus Center and take a look at our blog.


Diagnosing a Sinus Infection

Sinus infectionWhen you have acute sinusitis, otherwise known as a sinus infection, it’s pretty easy to recognize the symptoms. This is especially true if you have chronic sinusitis, which can happen a number of times a year.  In order to be diagnosed with chronic sinusitis, you must have at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Drainage of a thick, yellow or greenish discharge from the nose or down the back of the throat
  • Nasal obstruction or congestion, causing difficulty breathing through your nose
  • Pain, tenderness and swelling around your eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead
  • Reduced sense of smell and taste

In addition, you may also be experiencing:

  • Ear pain
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Aching in the jaw and teeth
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea

No matter if this is your first or your fiftieth sinus infection, it’s always a good idea to get checked out by a doctor just to be sure. Also if you’ve self-diagnosed correctly, you may need medication.

What should you expect when you go to the doctor?

First, your medical staff should take the time to discuss your medical history and specific symptoms. Next, your physician should do a thorough inspection of your sinuses for diagnosis, and may also check your eyes, ears and throat. To help determine the underlying cause, you may also undergo the following tests:

  • Nasal endoscopy, in which a thin, flexible tube with a fiber-optic light is inserted through your nose.
  • Imaging studies, in which a CT Scan or MRI can show details images of your sinuses.
  • Nasal/sinus cultures, though generally unnecessary, which might help pinpoint a bacterial or fungal cause.
  • Allergy tests, recommended if your doctor suspects the condition may be brought on by allergies.

A sinus infection is such a common thing that experts can often diagnose them without extensive testing. However, while the diagnosis is often correct, without testing, the physician could miss the real cause of the symptoms or prescribe a medication that isn’t actually needed. So if you are looking to get it right the first time, schedule an appointment at CT Sinus Center.

When you first come in, our expert team will talk to you about your symptoms and medical history. Next, through our patient-centered philosophy and up-to-date diagnostic tools, we will find the right treatment for your lifestyle. You may even be a candidate for one of our two outpatient procedures, both of which will end your suffering in around an hour:

  • Balloon Sinus Dilation, which will reshape your nasal passages, promoting draining and natural healing
  • Turbinate Reductions, in which the tissue in the nose that supports the nasal passages is decreased, decreasing the size of the turbinate and quickly increasing airflow

Call 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of CT Sinus Center’s four conveniently-located offices, and put an end to sinus infections once and for all.

For more information on sinus– and allergy-related conditions and treatments, visit the CT Sinus Center website and blog.


Sinusitis, Allergies and Sleep Deprivation

SleepYou’re sure you’d feel better if you just got some sleep. All you’re asking for is just one night, but at this point it seems that you have as much of chance of that as you do winning the lottery.

Why is your sinus condition keeping you up?

Whether you have sinusitis or allergies, there are a number of reasons why you might have trouble sleeping. Let’s take a look at the three most common ones:

 

  • Difficulty breathing. A stuffy or runny nose can be very inconvenient when you are trying to get some shut-eye. If you’ve ever had the experience (and who hasn’t?), you know exactly what we mean. According to the article “Combat Allergy Fatigue” on the Everyday Health site, Dr. Park, author of the book “Sleep, Interrupted,” explains how having a stuffy nose is similar to sleep apnea in the respect that ““When your nose gets stuffy, your tongue starts to fall back, creating a vacuum effect in your throat. So you keep waking up, because you can’t breathe.” And when you keep waking up, you end up exhausted the next day.
  • Pain. Sinus pressure can often cause pain in your forehead and face. A stuffy or runny nose leads to post-nasal drip that can make your throat dry and scratchy. None of these conditions are conducive for a good night’s rest.
  • Sinus medication. Restlessness and inability to sleep are common side effects of many medications. For some people, even the medication intended to make you drowsey can actually keep you up. If you are having trouble sleeping while taking meds, consult your doctor or pharmacist to see they might be to blame. You may have change when you take the medication or even stop taking it completely.

Sleep deprivation is frustrating, for sure, and can actually be dangerous, too. WebMd explains the following effects of chronic sleep deprivation:

  • Decreased performance and alertness
  • Memory and cognitive impairment
  • Stress on relationships
  • Poor quality of life
  • Health issues including heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity
  • Occupational injury
  • Automobile injury

So what can you do if your sinus condition is keeping you awake?

You could continue taking sinus or allergy medication while looking for the one that relieves your symptoms and doesn’t have side effects. Or, you can make an appointment at CT Sinus Center and let us help you find permanent relief and a good night sleep.

When you first come in, our expert team will talk to you about your symptoms and medical history. Next, through our patient-centered philosophy and up-to-date diagnostic tools, we will find the right treatment for your lifestyle. You may even be a candidate for one of our two outpatient procedures, both of which will end your suffering in around an hour:

  • Balloon Sinus Dilation, which will reshape your nasal passages, promoting draining and natural healing
  • Turbinate Reductions, in which the tissue in the nose that supports the nasal passages is decreased, decreasing the size of the turbinate and quickly increasing airflow

Call 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of CT Sinus Center’s four conveniently-located offices, and spend your nights catching z’s instead of counting sheep.

For more information on sinus– and allergy-related conditions and treatments, visit the CT Sinus Center website and blog.


Say “No” to Lifelong Sinus Medication

MedicationIf you are one of the 37 percent of Americans who suffer from sinus issues, you have two options: grin and bear it, or treat your condition. The problem is that, unlike the common cold or flu, sinus problems don’t go away. Sure, they can go into remission for a season or two, but unless you are one of the very few people who actually outgrow their allergies, the discomfort always comes back.

Eventually, even the most resilient sinus sufferer will take some action, whether it be over-the-counter, prescription or both. This treatment can include:

Again, if you only have to resort to these methods once or twice a year at the most, it’s not a big deal. But, if you are constantly seeking sinus relief, you can find that it gets quite costly — and extremely inconvenient. Of course, all of these temporary remedies have side effects as well. Click on the links above for more information on the risks associated with each method of treatment.

Making matters worse is the cost (monetary and otherwise) of constantly treating sinus and allergy problems. A recent study by the Academy of Allergy and Asthma in Primary Care discovered that per year, sinus sufferers (combined):

  • spend $17.5 billion on health costs
  • lose 6 million work and school days
  • make 16 million visits to the doctor

All of these recurrent expenditures can take a toll, and if you’re ready to cut through the repetition and find permanent relief for your sinus condition, come visit us at CT Sinus Center. Our expert physicians will take the time to sit down with you and thoroughly discuss your symptoms, your current treatment regime, and how we can help you find long-lasting relief. You may even be a candidate for turbinate reduction, an out-patient surgery in which nasal tissue is removed to increase airflow, and balloon sinus dilation, a quick in-house procedure done with local anesthesia, that can promote natural drainage and healing, and keep you breathing freely no matter the season.

Calling CT Sinus Center at (860) BALLOON to schedule an your appointment. And then get back to spending that time and money on the things you much rather be spending them on.
For more information on all things sinus and allergy, visit our website and blog.


Top 4 Signs of Sinusitis

For the last couple of weeks, you’ve been feeling congested and have had some swelling just above your cheeks. You keep telling yourself it’s just a cold, and if you give it a few more days, it’ll pass. But a few days later, you’re completely fatigued and feel like someone is pounding on your eyes from the outside in. Deep in your heart, you know you are suffering from sinusitis.

Sinusitis is a common condition wherein the area around your nasal passages, the sinuses, become swollen. Acute sinusitis is a temporary infection that is most often associated with a cold. Usually, in an acute case,  over-the-counter remedies, fluids and rest are all you need to feel better after a couple of days. On the other hand, chronic sinusitis persists much longer — at least eight weeks — and requires help from a doctor.

In order to be diagnosed with chronic sinusitis, you must have at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Drainage of a thick, yellow or greenish discharge from the nose or down the back of the throat
  • Nasal obstruction or congestion, causing difficulty breathing through your nose
  • Pain, tenderness and swelling around your eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead
  • Reduced sense of smell and taste

In addition, you may also be experiencing:

  • Ear pain
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Aching in the jaw and teeth
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea

If we have just described how you’ve been feeling,  it’s time to schedule an appointment with one of our knowledgeable physicians at CT Sinus Center. Depending on your individual symptoms and medical history, your doctor may use a variety of diagnostic methods to determine the underlying cause of your discomfort.

In many cases, your doctor will recommend saline irrigation, nasal sprays to prevent inflammation, decongestant or corticosteroids to relieve inflammation. If you have a bacterial infection, you will likely be prescribed antibiotics.

If these treatments don’t do the trick, or your symptoms keep coming back, CT Sinus Center can help you find the permanent relief that has been eluding you. Schedule a consultation with one of our specialists to see if you are eligible for Balloon Sinus Dilation, a procedure designed to reshape your nasal passages, thereby increasing airflow and drainage and decreasing the chance of mucus buildup and further sinus problems. This non-evasive procedure is done under local anesthesia and takes just under an hour. It is available only at CT Sinus Center.

For more information on how we can help you get permanent relief from sinusitis, schedule an appointment today!


CT Sinus Center – Testimonial: India Nazario

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 11.15.49 AM

“I’ve actually been suffering from allergies and all of the sinus symptoms of the pressure and congestion . . . honestly, since I was a child.”

Like many other adults, India just chalked this suffering up to a normal part of life. It certainly wasn’t pleasant, but it was just something she had to get through.

Then one day she heard about Dr. Loughlin at CT Sinus Center. India finally decided that “enough is enough” and made the appointment to go in for a consultation. She recalls that the minute she walked through the door, she was met with a friendly, smiling staff that immediately put her at ease.

And while India admits that she was nervous about Balloon Sinus Dilation, Dr. Loughlin sat down with her and thoroughly explained the entire procedure. It was then that she was “ready to go through with it and really start living.”

India’s Balloon Sinus Dilation, went seamlessly. The actual procedure usually takes about an hour and is non-evasive and done under local anesthesia. Dr. Loughlin walked her through every step, making her feel comfortable the entire time. As she left the office, just minutes after the procedure, she could breathe more easily than she had for years. And with this permanent relief, India would never have to settle for suffering through her respiratory ailments again.

India’s story is not unique. Hundreds of patients come into CT Sinus Center every year with allergy and sinusitis issues. Dr. Loughlin takes the time to personally consult with each patient to discuss her/his specific needs, concerns, and available treatment options.  

To find out more about CT Sinus Center, visit our website and check into our blog weekly!

 


Loss of Smell and Taste Due to Chronic Sinusitis or Allergies

Sinusitis Dizziness

Loss of smell and taste due to chronic sinusitis or allergies can be quite frustrating, especially when you have a lot going on. Now that the official first day of summer (and Father’s Day) is less than a week away, there could be barbeques, gardening, pool parties and more in your near future. Don’t you want to be able to smell all the smells and taste all the flavors of the summer? Why is it that there can be a loss of smell and taste due to chronic sinusitis or allergies, anyway? Perhaps you think you understand the part about the sense of smell since your nose may be blocked, but what about taste? Your taste buds should be working since that area couldn’t possibly be affected, right?

Well actually, the ability to smell also affects our ability to taste. They work together, so without a sense of smell, our taste buds can only detect a few flavors. As for our sense of smell, in adults, the most common causes of issues are a loss of smell due to an ongoing process in the nose or sinuses (like sinusitis or allergies), or loss of smell due to an injury (affecting the specialized nerve tissue at the top of the nose, or another physical obstruction, such as a nasal polyp). Some people with this problem report their sense of smell coming back shortly after exercise or showering. However, this relief is often just temporary. Some patients also report (temporary) improvement with medication (like antibiotics or corticosteroids).

A person’s sense of smell is very easily taken for granted. It is actually bestowed upon us by a complex system driven by specific processes—and without it, we could unknowingly put ourselves in dangerous situations (such as not being able to smell fire, gas leaks, or food that has gone bad). This can greatly affect quality of life, so if you are experiencing loss of smell and taste due to chronic sinusitis or allergies, please come into your nearest CT Sinus Center and let us help!


When Will It End? How to Stop Chronic Sinusitis for Good

Woman Holding Cup of Water and Lemon

Nobody likes getting a cold. However, when it’s happening all the time, it becomes a bit much. Sinus infections can be more than annoying—they can leave earaches, headaches, and many things beyond the more obvious runny nose in their wake. With chronic sinusitis, some people are left wondering, “When will it end?” Chronic sinusitis can last several weeks for any one case and the postnasal drip can linger thereafter. In some people, it will keep coming back for years.

While there isn’t one single cause of chronic sinusitis, certain things are known to bring it on more frequently. The initial inflammation of the nasal passages when one has a cold or allergies tends to trigger it easily. Especially with people who have compromised immune systems, sinusitis almost feels inevitable once they start to get even a little bit stuffy. Sometimes, chronic sinusitis results from birth defects in the structure of the nasal passages, breathing in mold spores, or developing a nasal polyp—anything that can irritate or block the sinuses and prevent them from draining. The symptoms below may be very familiar to you if you have this recurring condition and have been wishing that you could just stop chronic sinus infections for good:

  • Facial pressure and pressure
  • Cough and congestion
  • Thick, discolored mucous
  • Inability to breathe through the nose

If you’re searching for a way to stop chronic sinus infections for good, your search ends here. Having reached this blog, you have already taken the first step. Countless people have been coming here and putting a stop to their chronic sinus infections. Why are these people beaming with delight? You would be too if you signed on for one of our simple, non-invasive procedures. Since we provide permanent relief, patients typically never even have to come in again. Wouldn’t you like to be one of our patients? You can be! Just reach out.