Sinusitis (or rhinosinusitis) is a common condition in which the linings of the sinuses (the cavities behind your nose, cheekbones and forehead) become inflamed.

Your sinuses are small, air-filled cavities which are located behind your cheekbones and forehead, and are connected to your nose. The sinuses produce mucus which usually drains into your nose through small channels. If you have sinusitis, the lining of your sinuses becomes inflamed and swollen, causing these channels to become blocked.

There are two main types of sinusitis; acute sinusitis which clears up completely within a few weeks; and chronic sinusitis which lasts for two or three months, or recurs a number of times during a year.

Acute sinusitis is usually caused by a viral infection and may occur immediately after a cold. It usually clears up on its own, within two or three weeks without any treatment.

Chronic sinusitis sometimes begins as acute sinusitis which doesn’t improve within a few weeks. It can also be caused when the structure of your sinuses is not quite right, or perhaps nasal polyps are blocking them and preventing them from draining correctly. Depending on the exact cause of your condition, nasal surgery may be recommended to treat chronic sinusitis.

The symptoms of sinusitis include a blocked nose with a discharge which can be green or yellow. There may be pain or tenderness around your cheeks, eyes or forehead, and you may have a fever. You may also have toothache, bad breath (halitosis) and a reduced sense of smell.

Symptoms can include:

  • pain/tenderness around cheeks, eyes or forehead
  • a blocked nose
  • a discharge from your nose (may be yellow or green)
  • a fever
  • toothache
  • bad breath (halitosis)
  • a reduced sense of smell

Your doctor will be able to diagnose sinusitis after discussing your symptoms and examining the inside of your nose. You may be recommended to see an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist for further tests and diagnosis.

Nasal surgery

We offer a wide range of nasal surgery procedures to treat conditions affecting the nose, nasal passages and sinuses. Many of these are treatments for a blockage of the nose and include; straightening of the cartilage (septoplasty); removal of polyps (polypectomy); reduction of the side wall of the nose (turbinates); and draining of the sinuses (Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery, FESS).

What next?

If you are suffering with a suspected condition, you should seek the advice of your doctor who will be able to refer you to Benenden Hospital for diagnosis and treatment.

There are four ways to access treatment at Benenden Hospital which include self-funding, using private medical insurance or your Benenden membership, or through the NHS e-Referral scheme.