Ear Nose & Throat Sydney
Dr  Narinder Singh  MBBS (Syd) FRACS (ORL-HNS) - Consultant ENT Specialist Surgeon - Clinical Lecturer University of Sydney
Ear Nose & Throat Sydney, Dr Narinder Singh
Ear Nose & Throat Sydney, Dr Narinder Singh Ear Nose & Throat Sydney, Dr Narinder Singh
 
Ear Nose Throat

Sinus Problems

  • Do you suffer from sinus symptoms (blocked nose, congestion, facial pressure/ pains, headaches, nasal discharge, post-nasal drip, reduced sense of smell)?
  • Are sinus problems affecting your work, family and social life?
  • When you catch a cold/ flu are you unwell for weeks afterwards?
  • Would you like to be free of sinus problems?

Read this page to find out how your sinus problems may be fixed

What else can cause sinus problems?What causes sinus problems?



Sinus problems that last for 3 or more months are usually caused by a condition known as "Chronic Rhino-Sinusitis"



What else can cause sinus problems?

Although Chronic Rhino-Sinusitis is the commonest cause of sinus problems, there are many other less-common causes of sinus problems. These include:

What else can cause sinus problems?
  • Acute Sinusitis (Infections lasting less than 3 months)
  • Allergic rhinitis (Allergy/ Hayfever)
  • Non-allergic rhinitis
  • Auto-immune disorders/ blood disorders (rare)
  • Tumours/ cancers (rare)
  • Problems due to structures near the sinuses (eye, brain, mouth, adenoids, etc)
  • Other rare causes (birth defects, objects stuck in the nose, etc)

What is Chronic Rhino-Sinusitis?

Sinus Problems - GP Chronic rhino-sinusitis is defined as follows:

  • A condition lasting at least 3 months or more
  • With at least 2 of the following symptoms:
    • Blockage of the nose (obstruction/ congestion)
    • Discharge from the nose
    • Facial pains/ pressure
    • Post-nasal drip
    • Reduced sense of smell

Chronic rhino-sinusitis is very common. It affects around 15% of the Australian population (3 in every 20 people)

What causes Chronic Rhino-Sinusitis?

Chronic rhino-sinusitis is due to one or more of a number of conditions. Possible causes include:

  • Anatomical problems:
    • Deviated septum
    • Narrow sinus openings
    • Enlarged Inferior turbinates
    • Polyps in the nose
  • Allergic Rhinitis (hayfever/ allergy)
  • Infection
  • Pollutants in the atmosphere, at home or in the workplace

How can I find out what is causing my sinus problems?

Always see your GP first. Your GP will look inside your nose and may order some tests or prescribe some medications. If your GP cannot fix your sinus problems, he or she will give you a referral to see Dr Singh.

What tests can my GP order?

Sinus Problems - GP

Some tests that your GP may order include:

  • CT scan - This can show the anatomy of your sinuses
  • Skin prick tests - These can show if you have allergy (Allergic Rhinitis)
  • RAST blood tests - These can show if you have allergy (Allergic Rhinitis). Blood tests are not as accurate as skin prick tests but are easier to perform.

What if my GP can't find the cause of my sinus problems?

Ask your GP for a referral to see Dr Singh.

What treatments can my GP prescribe?

Some treatments that your GP may prescribe include:

Sinus Problems - GP
  • Nasal saline rinse - This washes out the inside of the nose and sinuses
  • Nasal steroid sprays - These shrink the lining of the nose and sinuses. They are most useful in patients with allergy (Allergic rhinitis)
  • Antihistamine tablets/ sprays - These can be useful in patients with allergy (Allergic rhinitis)
  • Antibiotics - These can treat infection. In addition, certain antibiotics have special anti-inflammatory properties if taken for a long time at a low dose.
  • Other tablets - Other strong medications are available that can help relieve sinus problems. However, they must be used with caution as they have potentially very serious side-effects. Talk to your GP or ask for a referral to see Dr Singh.

What if the treatment from my GP doesn't work?

Ask your GP for a referral to see Dr Singh.

How can Dr Singh find out what is causing my sinus problems?

Dr Singh is a nose and sinus specialist. Dr Singh uses special tests to find out exactly what is causing your sinus problems.

What tests can Dr Singh perform?

Sinus Problem - Dr. Singh can PerformDr Singh may order a CT scan, allergy tests and blood tests, just like your GP.

In addition, Dr Singh will examine your nose using special instruments.

Dr Singh will also pass a special super-fine camera into your nose to look at the septum, turbinates and sinus openings (the nose is made numb first using a special numbing spray). You can watch the camera on a TV monitor and see for yourself exactly what is causing your blocked nose.

Despite all the tests and high-technology available, the most accurate tool is your doctor's knowledge, training and experience!

Sinus Problems - Tretement
Can my sinus problems be treated?

Yes.

In most people with sinus problems, the cause can be found and treated.


How are sinus problems treated?

The treatment used will depend on the cause.

Anatomical problems can be fixed with surgery. In most cases, this is "day-surgery" (you will return home on the same day as the procedure). You will be asleep during the procedure (general anaesthetic). Please follow the links to find out more about each procedure:

  • Narrow sinus openings: These are fixed with a FESS (Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery) operation
  • Deviated septum: This is fixed with a Septoplasty operation
  • Large Inferior Turbinates: These are fixed with a Turbinoplasty operation
  • Nasal polyps: These are fixed with a Polypectomy operation

Are there any alternative treatments to surgery?

Yes. There are always options and it is always your choice as to whether to have surgery. In general, you can try other options first and choose surgery if nothing else works. Non-surgical options include:

Sinus Problems - Alternative Treatment
  1. Do Nothing. If your problem is not severe, you may choose not to have any treatment at all.
  2. Simple treatments (Saline rinse). Try rinsing the nose 2-4 times a day with salty water from your pharmacy.
  3. Medications. Try Nasal steroid sprays and antihistamine tablets/ sprays from your pharmacy or from your GP. They work best for people with allergy but may sometimes help people without allergy.
  4. Strong Medications. These tablets require a prescription and can only be ordered by your GP or Dr Singh.

We recommend that you see your GP first and consider trying these non-surgical options. Then see Dr Singh when you are ready for surgery. There is a long waiting list to see Dr Singh and it is best if you see Dr Singh for surgery after the non-surgical treatments have failed. In general, Dr Singh will recommend a trial of strong medications for around 4-6 weeks. If, after 6 weeks, your symptoms are not controlled, surgery may be recommended, depending on Dr Singh's assessment.

  • It is always your choice as to what treatment you would like to have.
  • Some patients prefer to go straight to surgery as they have tried many medications already.
  • Some patients prefer not to have surgery at all.
  • The treatment you have will depend on your individual circumstances, Dr Singh's recommendation and your personal choice.

Are there any risks to surgery?

Yes. Everything we do in life has risks. Even something as simple as crossing the street has risks... but we still cross the street. Dr Singh will explain the risks of your operation and provide you with an information pamphlet that explains the risks in detail. If you have any questions about risks, ask Dr Singh during your consultation.

How are other causes treated?

The treatment used will depend on the cause. Please follow the links to find out more about each condition:

Sinus Problems - Treatment
  • Allergic rhinitis (Allergy/ Hayfever)
  • Non-allergic rhinitis
  • Acute Sinusitis
  • Auto-immune disorders/ blood disorders (rare)
  • Tumours/ cancers (rare)
  • Problems due to structures near the sinuses (eye, brain, mouth, adenoids, etc)
  • Other rare causes (birth defects, objects stuck in the nose)

What should I do next?

See your GP. If your GP is unable to fix your sinus problems, ask your GP for a referral to see Dr Singh

I have already seen a doctor - I was told nothing could be done for my sinus problems. What should I do?

Most people with sinus problems can be treated or improved. Dr Singh is a nose and sinus specialist and has expertise in difficult and complex cases.

Consider asking your GP for a referral to see Dr Singh.

I have already seen a surgeon and had an operation on my sinuses. It didn't work! What should I do?

Even patients who have undergone previous surgery can often be treated or improved.

Dr Singh is a nose and sinus specialist and has expertise in performing revision sinus surgery.

Dr Singh uses the most advanced and modern computer surgical navigation system available (Medtronic Fusion Electromagnetic at Westmead Private Hospital) to perform revision sinus surgery with the utmost precision and safety.

We recommend that you return to see your original surgeon first. If nothing further can be done and you still have symptoms, consider asking your original surgeon or your GP for a referral to see Dr Singh. Dr Singh always works together with your GP and your other specialists to achieve your best health outcome.



DISCLAIMER: The material on this page represents general information only and is NOT medical advice. For specific medical advice about your individual circumstances you must consult a trained medical practitioner. Always see your GP first. If your GP is unable to fix your nose or sinus problem, ask your GP for a referral to Dr Singh. Dr Singh always works together with you and your GP to achieve your best health outcome. IMPORTANT: Do not try to diagnose your medical problem by yourself! Do not rely solely on information found on the internet. Always see your GP first.



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