Do You Have Pansinusitis?
The sinuses are divided into four sections based on their location in the skull. They’re all connected, but when inflammation occurs it’s usually isolated to one section. In the case of pansinusitis, all four sections of the sinus become inflamed. This usually occurs when one section becomes infected and leads to a backup of mucus that inflames the remaining sinuses.
Widespread inflammation leads to symptoms similar to sinusitis, but with greater severity. Symptoms include:
- Facial pain or pressure
- Sore throat
- Post nasal drip and discharge
What Causes Pansinusitis?
The severity of these symptoms make it hard to get through your day to day tasks. Even then, it can be hard to tell if you have a standard sinus infection pansinusitis. If your symptoms don’t get better after about 5 days it may be time to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis. They can better discern between sinusitis and pansinusitis using lab tests and imaging.
From there you can come up with a plan for treatment. If you have a bacterial infection, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to help you heal faster. In the case of viral or allergic sinusitis, you will instead be recommended over the counter medications and home remedies. Acute pansinusitis tends to pass in about 12-14 days, so these methods will help make the illness more tolerable.
Chronic Pansinusitis Complications
Because of the extended duration of pansinusitis, the inflammation it causes can easily become a chronic problem. Inflamed tissue and backed up mucus creates an environment that prevents healing, leading to a vicious cycle of recurring inflammation.
When this happens, symptoms can become debilitating and complications can occur in the area surrounding the sinuses. The sinuses are surrounded by brain and eye structures that can be affected by sinus inflammation. Many people with pansinusitis develop vision problems as a result. Swelling begins pushing on the muscles and nerves that control the eye leading to double vision, drooping eyelids, and even complete vision loss.
The bone surrounding the sinuses can become misshapen or infected. When the bone behind the forehead becomes inflamed or infected, swelling worsens as the body tries to heal itself. This can cause a disorder known as Pott’s puffy tumor, where the immune response to frontal bone inflammation creates a growth on the forehead.
Chronic Pansinusitis Treatment
In some cases, pansinusitis can be treated with prescription medications, but surgery is the most effective treatment. Endoscopic sinus surgery, where doctors remove inflamed tissue, is the traditional, invasive choice.. There’s also a noninvasive procedure called balloon sinuplasty where the nasal passages are reshaped to allow drainage. You can learn more about these procedures here.
Treating pansinusitis can be difficult since one set of sinuses can improve, but others stay inflamed causing recurrent inflammation in healed sinuses. This is why proper diagnosis is important, even if symptoms are mild. You can easily go from mild congestion and headaches to more draining symptoms of fatigue and facial pain. Learn more about when to see a doctor here.