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Sinusitis: Introduction

Sinusitis, also called a sinus infection, is an infection of the air-filled spaces that are located within the bones in and around the nose. These spaces are called paranasal sinuses, and when they get infected, they become inflamed. This results in swelling of the mucus membranes that line the sinuses and cause pain and pressure in and around the eyes and cheekbones.

Sinusitis is a common condition that results from a viral infection, bacterial infection, or rarely, a fungal infection. Certain conditions, behaviours or injuries make it more likely that sinusitis will develop. These include smoking, hay fever, allergic rhinitis, trauma to the nose, tooth abscess and exposing the deep areas of the nose to bacteria, viruses or fungus through such activities as picking the nose.

An infection occurs when the body's immune system is unable to stop harmful bacteria, viruses or fungi that have been introduced into the sinuses from reproducing. This results in the inflammation of the sinuses and symptoms, such as facial pain and pressure and thick greenish mucus that is discharged from the nose. Severe complications that affect the brain may also occur. For more details on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of sinusitis.

Making a diagnosis of sinusitis begins with taking a thorough medical history, including symptoms, and a physical examination that focuses on the nose and sinuses. Findings include swelling and inflammation of the sinuses and thick greenish nasal mucus. Diagnostic testing may include imaging tests, such as an X-ray or CT, which can confirm a diagnosis and reveal the severity of the condition. Imaging tests may also help to uncover underlying conditions, such as a tooth abscess.

It is possible that a diagnosis of sinusitis can be missed or delayed because the symptoms can be mild or assumed to be associated with other conditions, such as migraine headache or upper respiratory infection. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of sinusitis.

Treatment for sinusitis varies depending on the cause, severity of symptoms, the presence of complications, a person's medical history. Prompt treatment is important to prevent the development of serious complications, such as meningitis and brain abscess. Treatment may include using a humidifier, medications or possibly surgery. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of sinusitis....more »

Sinusitis: This section addresses sinusitis as a symptom or complication of other underlying conditions. See also the symptoms of sinusitis or further information on the condition sinusitis....more »

Sinusitis: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of sinusitis may be overlooked or delayed because symptoms can be nonspecific or common to many other conditions. These include upper respiratory infection, influenza, tooth ache, tooth abscess, migraine headache, allergic rhinitis, hay fever or a cold. Because of the similarity to symptoms of these and other conditions, it is important ...more misdiagnosis »

Causes of Sinusitis:

The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Sinusitis. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.

» Review Causes of Sinusitis: Causes | Symptom Checker »

Home Diagnostic Testing and Sinusitis

Home medical tests possibly related to Sinusitis:

Causes of Types of Sinusitis:

Review the causes of these more specific types of Sinusitis:

Review causes of more specific types of Sinusitis:

Sinusitis: Symptom Checker

Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Sinusitis, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.

Symptom Checker

Symptom Checker

Sinusitis Treatments

The first step in treatment of sinusitis is prevention. Prevention measures include not smoking, adequate treatment of hay fever and allergic rhinitis, avoiding nasal trauma and exposure to infections, and good hygiene practices, such as frequent hand washing and not picking the nose.

The most successful treatment plan for sinusitis uses a multipronged ...Sinusitis Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Sinusitis may include:

Review further information on Sinusitis Treatments.

Alternative Treatments for Sinusitis

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Sinusitis may include:

Stories from Users for Sinusitis

Real-life user stories relating to Sinusitis:

Message Boards for Sinusitis

Symptom specific forums: The following patient stories in our interactive forums and message boards relate to Sinusitis or relevant symptoms:

Sinusitis: Animations

Medications or substances causing Sinusitis:

The following drugs, medications, substances or toxins are some of the possible causes of Sinusitis as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

Sinusitis: Comorbid Symptoms

Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Sinusitis may include these symptoms:

Causes of General Symptom Types

Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:

Causes of Similar Symptoms to Sinusitis

Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Sinusitis:

Sinusitis: Deaths

Read more about causes and Sinusitis deaths.

Misdiagnosis and Sinusitis

Sinusitis is overdiagnosed: There is a tendency to give a diagnosis of sinusitis, when the condition is really a harmless complication of another infection, such as a common more »

Whooping cough often undiagnosed: Although most children in the Western world have been immunized against whooping cough (also called "pertussis"), this protection wears off more »

Mild traumatic brain injury often remains undiagnosed: Although the symptoms of severe brain injury are hard to miss, it is less clear for milder injuries, or even those causing a mild more »

MTBI misdiagnosed as balance problem: When a person has symptoms such as vertigo or dizziness, a diagnosis of brain injury may go overlooked. This is particularly true of more »

Post-concussive brain injury often misdiagnosed: A study found that soldiers who had suffered a concussive injury in battle often were misdiagnosed on their return. A variety of symptoms can occur in post-concussion syndrome more »

Children with migraine often misdiagnosed: A migraine often fails to be correctly diagnosed in pediatric patients. These patients are not the typical migraine sufferers, but migraines can also occur in children. See misdiagnosis of migraine or more »

Pituitary conditions often undiagnosed cause of symptoms: There are a variety of symptoms that can be caused by a pituitary disorder (see symptoms of pituitary disorders). more »

Sinusitis: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

Other ways to find a doctor, or use doctor, physician and specialist online research services:

Sinusitis: Related Rare Diseases

Rare types of medical conditions and diseases in related medical categories:

Sinusitis: Undiagnosed Conditions

Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:

Causes of Sinusitis listed in Disease Database:

Other medical conditions listed in the Disease Database as possible causes of Sinusitis as a symptom include:

Article Excerpts about Sinusitis

Sinusitis simply means your sinuses are infected or inflamed, but this gives little indication of the misery and pain this condition can cause. Health care experts usually divide sinusitis cases into

  • Acute, which lasts for 3 weeks or less
  • Chronic, which usually lasts for 3 to 8 weeks but can continue for months or even years
  • Recurrent, which is several acute attacks within a year
Health care experts estimate that 37 million Americans are affected by sinusitis every year. (Source: excerpt from Sinusitis, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID)

Sinusitis simply means your sinuses are infected or inflamed, but... (Source: excerpt from Sinusitis, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID)

Definitions of Sinusitis:

Inflammatory process of the mucous membranes of the paranasal sinuses that occurs in three stages: acute, subacute, and chronic; results from any condition causing ostial obstruction or from pathophysiologic changes in the mucociliary transport mechanism.
- (Source - Diseases Database)

Inflammation of one of the paranasal sinuses
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)

Inflammatory process of the mucous membranes of the paranasal sinuses that occurs in three stages: acute, subacute, and chronic; results from any condition causing ostial obstruction or from pathophysiologic changes in the mucociliary transport mechanism.
- (Source - CRISP)

Organs affected by Sinusitis:

The list of organs typically affected by Sinusitis may include, but is not limited to:

Detailed list of causes of Sinusitis

The list below shows some of the causes of Sinusitis mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Sinusitis?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Sinusitis. Of the 319 causes of Sinusitis that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 7 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 2 causes are "common" diseases
  • 3 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 1 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 5 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 308 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Sinusitis:

The following list of conditions have 'Sinusitis' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Sinusitis or choose View All.

View All A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P R S T V W X Y Z

















  • Seafood allergy ... sinus pain
  • Selective IgA Deficiency ... frequent sinus infections, recurring sinus infections
  • Sinusitis ... sinus pain, Symptoms specific for ethmoid sinus infection, Symptoms specific for maxillary sinus infection, Symptoms specific for sphenoid sinus infection, tenderness over sinus region, Symptoms specific for frontal sinus infection





Conditions listing medical complications: Sinusitis:

The following list of medical conditions have Sinusitis or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.










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Causes of Sinusitis Based on Risk Factors

This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Sinusitis based on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:

  • Travel - has the patient travelled recently?

    Doctors and specialists: Who should I consult about Sinusitis?

    Depending on the seriousness of the onset of Sinusitis, you may want to consult one of the following medical professionals.

    Important:In extreme cases, always seek advice from emergency services :

    Classifications of Sinusitis:

    Subtypes of Sinusitis:

    Chronic sinusitis (28 causes), Sinus pain (235 causes), Sinus swelling (23 causes), Acute sinusitis (6 causes)

    Medical Conditions associated with Sinusitis:

    Sinus symptoms (292 causes), Head symptoms (10192 causes), Inflammatory symptoms (1736 causes), Infection-related symptoms (1293 causes)

    Symptoms related to Sinusitis:

    Nose symptoms (2080 causes), Throat symptoms (3410 causes), Runny nose (754 causes), Sinusitis (319 causes), Headache (2433 causes), Rhinitis, Frontal sinusitis, Maxillary sinusitis, Ethmoid sinusitis, Fever (2274 causes), Antiobiotics, Antrochoanal polyp (5 causes), Post nasal drip (41 causes), Antral lavage

    Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

    Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

    These general medical articles may be of interest:

    Medical News summaries about Sinusitis

    Our news pages contain the following medical news summaries about Sinusitis and many other medical conditions:

    Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Sinusitis:

    More Ways To Research Medical Signs and Symptoms:


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