In order to diagnose chronic sinusitis, a healthcare provider will begin by asking a number of questions and performing a physical exam. He or she will also recommend tests in order to help make a diagnosis. This can include x-rays, a computed tomography (CT) scan, and/or a magnetic resonance image (MRI) of the sinuses.
It may also include a procedure that uses a camera to look inside of the sinuses. A small piece of tissue (biopsy) may also be taken to help in diagnosing the type of chronic sinusitis (see Sinusitis Types).
Most cases of chronic sinusitis cannot be cured. Instead, healthcare providers focus on decreasing symptoms and improving quality of life.
The specific treatment recommended will depend on a number of factors, including:
- The type of chronic sinusitis
- Whether medicines have been tried in the past
- Other medical conditions present (such as allergies)
- Symptoms that are present.
Current treatment options for chronic sinusitis include nasal irrigation, medications, and/or surgery.
Medicines prescribed may include steroids (nasal spray and/or oral steroids), antibiotics, leukotriene modifiers (medicines approved to treat allergies and asthma), and/or antifungals.
Research scientists continue to study what the best treatment options are for this type of sinusitis.
(Click Chronic Sinus Infection Treatments for more information.)
As was mentioned earlier, most cases of chronic sinusitis cannot be cured. Also, it is not uncommon for people with this condition to have acute sinus attacks. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including:
- Stopping or decreasing medicines
- An upper respiratory infection
- Exposure to heavy allergens or inhalants
- A bacterial sinus infection.