Silverstein Institute
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Common Causes and Symptoms of Sinus Disease

Written by Silverstein Institute
Published: 14 Sep 2020

Sinusitis—sinus disease—affects 31 million Americans who spend over $1 billion each year for over-the-counter treatments, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Some people might mistake a common cold or other affliction for a sinus infection which is understandable; the symptoms are similar.

However, in some cases, sinusitis that goes untreated, can lead to serious conditions. Here, Dr. Seth Rosenberg explains the causes of sinusitis and how it is treated.

What Are The Causes of Sinus Disease

Sinus disease is caused by the blocking of the sinus passages, preventing the sinuses from draining properly. When mucus is unable to drain, it will cause sinus diseases.

What causes these diseases varies. It can result from polyps, viruses, or bacteria. Most often, sinusitis will clear up on it's own but sometimes doctors will prescribe antibiotics, depending on the type and severity of a sinus disease.

What Are Common Symptoms of Sinusitis?

Individuals suffering from a sinus disease will experience some or all of these symptoms:


In the case of a sinus headache, patients will feel pain around the eyes, forehead, and cheeks that is often increased when leaning forward or downward.

Nasal obstruction

Simply put, nasal obstruction is the inability to breathe or blow out mucus through the nose.


When sinus passages are blocked, patients may experience postnasal drip; the drainage of mucus to the back of the throat, particularly when laying down. Nasal drainage in the case of sinusitis may also be thicker and more discolored than usual.

Facial pressure

This can vary from person to person, and depending on the severity of the sinusitis. Generally, patients will feel pressure around the nose, eyes, or forehead and, in severe cases, can also experience facial swelling.

Loss of smell

In some cases, patients will experience loss of smell, although there are other reasons why loss of smell might be experienced.

Types of Sinusitis

There are different types of sinusitis that can help you and/or your doctor determine what kind(s) of treatment would be best for you.

Acute Sinusitis

Harvard accurately explains that acute sinusitis lasts three weeks or less, and adults should not have any more than three episodes per year. While acute sinusitis is usually caused by an upper respiratory viral infection, it can also be brought about by:

  • Viral infections, such as a common cold
  • Allergies
  • Air pollution and cigarette smoke
  • Dental infections
  • Narrowed nasal passages from nasal polyps

Chronic Sinusitis

Unlike acute sinusitis, chronic sinusitis is a type of inflammation that lasts more than twelve weeks and, for some, may require surgery for treatment.

The Cleveland Clinic reports that chronic sinusitis can be brought on by:

  • Blocked airways from asthma or allergies
  • An infection
  • A fungus
  • Deviated nasal septum (the nose is shifted to the side, creating a blockage)
  • Polyps (growths)
  • A weak immune system

Subacute Sinusitis

This type of sinusitis lasts from four to 12 weeks.

Recurrent Sinusitis

As the name suggests, recurrent sinusitis is a diagnosis that is associated with sinusitis that happens four or more times per year with no symptoms in between each episode.

When To See A Doctor

If you or someone you love are experiencing sinus pain and pressure - especially if it is for a long period of time - it is important to seek medical attention to avoid further complications. In some cases, surgery may be the best course of action for long-term, long-lasting relief. 

The body is a complex thing and having professionals who understand the intricacies of the ears, nose, and throat can be pivotal in finding the right solution for your sinus problems. We invite you to contact us today to find out how you can begin to experience relief from your sinus pain and pressure.

Allergy Guide


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