DAN Medical Frequently Asked Questions

Back to Medical FAQ List
Bookmark and Share

Sinus Congestion

Doc, I got sinus!

Sinus is a term used by lay people to categorize a wide spectrum of conditions, the chief characteristics of which are nasal congestion and nasal discharge, either from the front of the nose or the back. Actual sinus disease is uncommon, but the nasal congestion of allergic and non-allergic rhinitis is very prevalent. Certainly, if congestion is significant and affects the sinus openings and the Eustachian tubes, sinus and/or ear squeezes can be a consequence.

The sinus ostea, or openings, are usually open. They are blocked only by severe congestion or mechanically by mucous or polyps. The Eustachian tube is usually closed, and requires some effort to open.

To prevent congestion, you should treat allergies. This consists of using antihistamines, decongestants and nasal sprays, and allergy desensitization. Newer antihistamines do not cross the blood-brain barrier and do not produce drowsiness. They are only available by prescription.

Decongestants may have side effects such as speeding up your heart rate, keeping you awake and sometimes produce a rebound effect causing greater congestion. Over-the-counter nasal sprays can definitely produce this rebound congestion. They might also affect you if you have any cardiovascular diseases. Newer steroid nasal sprays do not have this side effect and are very useful. Again these are only available by prescription.

Combinations of the same drugs are useful in non-allergic rhinitis. After discussion your condition with your physician, these medications can be very useful in controlling the "sinus" problem.