Everyone has sinuses. These air-filled spaces around your eyes are thought to help humidify air to keep the inside of your nose and your respiratory tract moist. Sometimes, they’re known as paranasal sinuses because they connect to the nose.
A sinus infection, or what doctors call sinusitis, happens when one or more of your paranasal sinuses becomes inflamed or irritated. When all your paranasal sinuses are inflamed or irritated, you have pansinusitis.
Read on to learn more about how doctors treat pansinusitis and what signs to watch out for.
Pansinusitis causes the same issues as sinusitis, but because all your sinuses are affected, your symptoms might be more severe.
Common symptoms include:
- pain or pressure around your eyes, cheeks, or nose
- sore throat or cough
- toothache or jaw pain
- bad breath
- problems smelling or tasting
- ear pressure
- difficulty breathing
- yellow or green discharge from your nose
- drainage down the back of your throat
Pansinusitis can be acute or chronic. Acute pansinusitis usually gets better within about 10 days. Chronic pansinusitis means you have the infection for at least 12 weeks even though you’re being treated for the condition. If acute pansinusitis isn’t properly treated, it can turn into a chronic condition and can have many complications.
A bacterial, viral, or fungal infection can cause pansinusitis. Sometimes, allergies are to blame for the problem.
You might have an increased risk of developing pansinusitis if you have:
- hay fever
- allergies or asthma
- a deviated septum, which means the wall between your nostrils is crooked
- nasal polyps or tumors
- cystic fibrosis, which is a genetic disease that affects the lungs
- a respiratory tract infection
- a condition that affects your immune system, such as HIV
- aspirin sensitivity
Being around cigarette smoke or other pollutants may also increase your risk of having pansinusitis.
If pansinusitis is suspected, your doctor will likely do a physical exam first to feel for tender spots and look inside your nose.
There are several ways to diagnose pansinusitis, which may include:
- Nasal endoscopy. A thin tube, called an endoscope, is inserted through the nose, so your doctor can view your sinuses.
- CT or MRI. These scans can help your doctor see inflammation or physical abnormalities in your sinuses.
- Nasal cultures. Tissue cultures can help determine what’s causing your sinusitis, such as a bacterial or viral infection.
- Allergy testing. If allergies are suspected, your doctor might recommend having an allergy skin test.
It’s important to see your doctor if you think you have pansinusitis, so you can receive proper treatment. Your treatment will depend on what’s causing your condition.
If a bacterial infection is the culprit, you might be given antibiotics. Typically, antibiotics won’t help a viral infection, but your doctor might still suggest you take them if the source of your infection isn’t known.
Sometimes, oral, injected, or nasal steroids are prescribed to treat the inflammation.
If allergies are causing your pansinusitis, your doctor might recommend allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots) to improve your condition.
Surgery is sometimes an option for people who have polyps or nasal blockages. In some cases, procedures to enlarge a narrow sinus opening might also help.
Over-the-counter (OTC) and home remedies can be used to relieve symptoms of pansinusitis. Some of these include:
- performing nasal irrigation, which is done by rinsing your nasal passages with a saline solution
- using saline nasal drops
- drinking plenty of fluids
- getting plenty of rest
- breathing in warm air
- applying warm compresses to your face
- following a healthy diet
If you have acute pansinusitis, you should recover within a couple of weeks.
People with chronic pansinusitis may deal with unwanted symptoms for several weeks or more.
Tell your healthcare provider if your symptoms don’t improve or get worse.
Sometimes, pansinusitis can lead to other problems. Possible complications may include:
- meningitis, a serious infection that causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord membranes
- other infections
- loss of smell
- vision problems
Although rare, pansinusitis can lead to serious problems if it’s not diagnosed and treated early on. It’s best to see your doctor if you think you have this condition.
You might experience unpleasant symptoms, but most of the time, pansinusitis can be managed with proper and timely treatment.