Does Chronic Sinusitis Ever Go Away?

Does Chronic Sinusitis Ever Go Away?

Living with chronic sinusitis (sinus infection) can be incredibly frustrating and leave you asking, “Will this ever go away?” If you are at your wit’s end with chronic sinusitis, you’ll be glad to know that most cases can be effectively treated with a long-term care plan established by your primary care doctor or an ENT. The right treatment approach can help you breathe easier and return to the activities you enjoy.

What Is Chronic Sinusitis, Exactly?

A sinus infection develops when the sinuses—the small, hollow cavities behind the bones of the face—are unable to drain properly and become infected or swollen. Chronic sinusitis is defined as a sinus infection that persists for more than 12 weeks. Comparatively, the typical acute sinus infection usually results from a cold and lasts for about 10 days. Some people may experience multiple acute sinus infections before developing chronic sinusitis.

The signs of chronic sinusitis are the same as an acute sinus infection, with the exception that symptoms may last for months at a time instead of a week or two. Possible symptoms include:

  • Lingering pressure and pain behind the cheeks, eyes and nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Mucus drainage that is yellow or green
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Ear pain
  • Dull aching around the jaw and upper row of teeth

Promptly speak with a doctor if your sinus infection symptoms persist for more than 10 days, don’t respond to at-home treatment or become severe. It’s especially important to seek immediate medical attention if you are displaying signs of a serious infection, which may include:

  • Fever
  • Forehead swelling
  • An intense headache
  • Confusion
  • Double vision or other vision changes
  • Stiff neck

What Does Chronic Sinusitis Treatment Involve?

If you have frequent sinus infections or have been dealing with disruptive symptoms for 12 weeks or longer, it’s best to visit an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor for specialized treatment. Unlike the average sinus infection that usually develops from a cold, chronic sinusitis may require a more diverse and long-term treatment plan.

Talk with your doctor to learn what treatment options may be best for you. A few common treatment approaches that might be discussed include:

Nasal corticosteroids

Steroid drugs can reduce bothersome inflammation and promote healing in the sinuses. Some people experience side effects, so it’s important to speak with a doctor prior to giving them a try.


In some cases, doctors may prescribe a combination of antibiotics and other medications to treat infections that are caused by bacteria or have an unknown cause.

Surgical Procedures

Minimally invasive sinus procedures are often the most viable treatment option for people with chronic sinusitis. There are various procedures that are performed to clear sinuses and restore proper drainage.

At-Home Remedies

There are several steps you can take to help keep chronic sinusitis symptoms at bay. For example, flushing the sinuses with saline sprays or nasal irrigation methods like neti pots often prove helpful. Keeping your sinuses moisturized by taking hot showers and getting plenty of rest can also improve symptoms.

Our Approach to Sinus Care

Tufts Medical Center Community Care—a multispecialty medical group with ENT specialists and other seasoned professionals—is pleased to provide a full spectrum of advanced care to patients with chronic sinusitis in the north suburban Boston area. To learn more information or to schedule an in-person or telemedicine appointment, contact our friendly team today.

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