Sinusitis is inflammation of the sinus cavities. The sinus cavities are air-filled spaces in the skull. It is usually associated with infection.
Sinusitis is called acute if it lasts for less than 4 weeks, subacute if it lasts 4-12 weeks, and chronic if symptoms last for more than 3 months. You may have recurrent sinusitis if you have repeated bouts of acute sinusitis.
Infectious sinusitis is caused by a bacterial, viral, or (rarely) fungal infection of fluid in the sinus cavities.
Factors that may increase your chance of sinusitis include:
Sinusitis may cause:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Sinusitis is diagnosed based on its symptoms and tenderness of the sinuses when pressed.
Tests may include:
You have may acute sinusitis when the following occurs:
Surgery is a last resort for people with very troublesome, serious chronic sinusitis. It includes:
To help reduce your chance of sinusitis:
American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Allergy Asthma Information Association
Calgary Allergy Network
Acute sinusitis in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T902952/Acute-sinusitis-in-adults. Updated August 4, 2014. Accessed September 9, 2016.
Acute sinusitis in children and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T902949/Acute-sinusitis-in-children-and-adolescents. Updated October 31, 2014. Accessed September 9, 2016.
Allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, and rhinosinusitis. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: http://www.entnet.org/content/allergic-rhinitis-sinusitis-and-rhinosinusitis. Accessed September 29, 2014.
Aring AM, Chan MM. Acute rhinosinusitis in adults. Am Fam Physician. 2011;83(9):1057-1063.
Chronic rhinosinusitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115673/Chronic-rhinosinusitis. Updated July 25, 2016. Accessed September 9, 2016.
Okuyemi KS, Tsue TT. Radiologic imaging in the management of sinusitis. Am Fam Physician. 2002;66(10):1882-1886.
Sinusitis (sinus infection). National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, National Institutes of Health (NIH) website. Available at: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/sinusitis/Pages/index.aspx. Accessed September 29, 2014.
Stewart AE, Vaughan WC. Balloon sinuplasty versus surgical management of chronic rhinosinusitis. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2010;10(3):181-187.
1/10/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com: Williamson IG, Rumsby K, Benge S, et al. Antibiotics and topical nasal steroid for treatment of acute maxillary sinusitis: A randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2007;298(21):2487-2496.
12/11/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com: Zalmanovici A, Yaphe J. Intranasal steroids for acute sinusitis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009;(4):CD005149.
Last reviewed September 2016 by David Horn, MD, FACP
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.