Nose and Sinus Conditions
Augusta Health otolaryngologists, also known as ENT doctors, care for people with a variety of nose and sinus conditions, offering treatments that provide the best possible quality of life. Some of the most common conditions we treat are included in this information sheet. If you have any questions about your nose and sinuses, we are here to answer them.
Nose and sinus conditions and treatments
The nose and sinus cavities are an important body of the body’s respiratory system. When we inhale, oxygen enters the nasal cavity, where it is humidified and warmed. Hairs inside the nose trap debris, acting as a barrier to infection. Cells in the nose produce mucus, which also traps debris before it can enter the lungs.
Our ENT specialists are skilled in treating a variety of conditions that can keep the nasal system from performing its job effectively. They treat a variety of conditions affecting the nose and sinus cavities.
An inflammation of the nasal cavity, allergic rhinitis is caused by allergens, including pollen, dust, mold and the skin cells of some animals.
Symptoms of allergic rhinitis include:
- Stuffiness of the nose (congestion), sneezing, runny nose
- Extra mucus in the nose
- Itchy nose
- Sinus pressure, pain, headache
- Lack of energy
If you suspect you are experiencing allergic rhinitis, one of our specialists can talk with you about your symptoms and will conduct an examination before recommending the best treatments for you. Though we do not conduct allergy, we can refer you to an allergy specialist.
When the mucus membranes inside the nose become inflamed and infected, the condition is known as sinusitis or rhinosinusitis. Because the sinuses are connected to the nasal passages behind the nostrils, they also can become inflamed and infected.
Symptoms of sinus infection include:
- Pressure and pain, often felt behind the eyes or in the face or teeth
- Congestion and difficulty breathing
- Cough and bad breath
- Loss of smell and taste
- Lack of energy
- Postnasal drip in the throat, sore throat
An ENT specialist will talk with you about your symptoms and conduct an examination. Generally speaking, acute sinusitis (an infection lasting less than four weeks), often does not need to be treated as it will go away on its own. Most sinus infections are caused by a virus, which means antibiotics are not an effective treatment. Your ENT will, however, offer suggestions for treating uncomfortable symptoms, including saline nasal spray, decongestants and pain relievers.
For chronic sinusitis (an infection lasting more than 12 weeks), in addition to the treatments recommended above, your ENT specialist may discuss surgical options with you. Advances in sinus surgery have made these procedures less invasive, less painful and, in general, more effective. Before you decide whether surgery is right for you, your ENT specialist will take the time to answer your questions thoroughly so that you can make an informed decision about your care.
The septum is made of bone and cartilage, and it separates the two nasal passages. Differences in the position of the septum, called deviations, can affect the way your nose and sinuses work. A person might be born with a deviated septum, or it might be caused by injury.
The most common symptoms of a deviated septum are:
- Nasal congestion
- Difficulties breathing
- Nasal discharge
A deviated septum may also prevent the sinus from draining properly, which can cause sinus infection.
After talking with you about your symptoms and conducting an examination, your ENT specialist will talk with you about available treatments. Depending on the severity of your condition, your specialist may recommend surgery to correct the deviated septum, which is called septoplasty. You will have the opportunity to ask questions about this procedure, its benefits and possible side effects, which will help you make the best decision about your care.
Nasal fractures, nosebleeds, other conditions
If you have experienced a broken nose, have frequent nosebleeds or have other concerns about your nose and sinuses, our ENT specialists are available to make an accurate diagnosis after listening to you and conducting a thorough exam. They will take the time to discuss the available treatments options and help you determine what will work best for you and your lifestyle.