What Is Sinusitis?

Sinusitis is inflammation or swelling of the sinus cavities that blocks air flow and drainage

Ongoing inflammation lasting more than 12 weeks is known as chronic sinusitis or chronic rhinitis.

When the sinuses don’t drain properly and mucus stops flowing, the sinuses get backed up. This is the ideal breeding ground for bacteria, viruses and fungi.

diseased sinus

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Despite it being a chronic condition, many doctors treat it like an acute condition when symptoms flare up, particularly when it occurs due to a cold or allergies. This diagnosis can be confusing, frustrating and depressing for sufferers.

Understanding the Sinuses

The sinuses are four pairs of air-filled cavities in the bones surrounding the nose and eyes. The four sinus types are ethmoid, frontal, maxillary and sphenoid.

The sinuses work together to warm or cool inhaled air, humidify it and remove dust and allergens. After that, the air moves to the connecting nasal pathways.

Sinus Anatomy


Several factors can inflame or block the sinuses. They include:

  • Colds and respiratory infections
  • Allergies (fungal, pollen, dust mites and other allergens)
  • Bacterial infections
  • Nasal polyps (harmless, non-cancerous growths)
  • An anatomical problem such as a deviated septum (when the bone or cartilage separating the nasal cavity is crooked or off-center)