What is Frontal Sinusitis?
Frontal Sinusitis is a pathological condition of the sinuses in which there is inflammation of the frontal sinus which prevents drainage of mucous appropriately resulting in symptoms. Common cold is the most common cause for Frontal Sinusitis. The best way to treat Frontal Sinusitis is by nasal decongestants. Coming to the anatomy of the frontal sinuses, these are pair of air filled cavities immediately behind the eyes. The Frontal Sinus along with three other sinuses produces mucous which drains out through the nasal passage. When there is excess of mucous formed, it results in inflammation which does not allow appropriate drainage of the mucous resulting in nasal congestion and what we call as Frontal Sinusitis.
What Causes Frontal Sinusitis?
The root cause of Frontal Sinusitis is excessive mucous buildup in the frontal sinus as a result of inflammation of the sinus. There are several factors which may cause this mucous buildup in the sinuses. These factors are:
Frontal Sinusitis Caused Due to Viral Infection: Common cold or the virus most prevalent in the winter season causing colds and coughs are the most common cause of mucous buildup in the frontal sinus resulting in Frontal Sinusitis. When an individual has cold or influenza then the amount of mucous produced by the sinuses increases significantly and as a result the sinuses get clogged.
Bacterial Infection Causing Frontal Sinusitis: This is yet another cause of Frontal Sinusitis. The sinonasal cavity is filled with what we term as cilia which are tiny strands of hairs. Their function is to prevent any foreign debris from the entering the sinuses but these strands of hairs are not effective always and sometimes bacteria infiltrate through these cilia and enter the sinuses. It is easier for bacteria to enter the sinuses immediately following a viral infection as there is already rich build up of mucous within the sinuses and it provides a breeding ground for the bacteria. The symptoms of Frontal Sinusitis as a result of a bacterial infection are the most severe.
Frontal Sinusitis Caused Due to Nasal Polyps: Polyps are abnormal growths that can occur anywhere in the body and the Frontal Sinus is no exception. A Polyp in the frontal sinus tends to block free air passage to and from the sinus resulting in buildup of mucous and Frontal Sinusitis.
Deviated Nasal Septum Causing Frontal Sinusitis: Under normal conditions, the nasal septum in an individual is straight but in some individuals this becomes deviated. People who have this condition are not able to breathe through the nose properly. This in turn results in lack of passage of free air to and from the sinuses resulting in Frontal Sinusitis.
What are the Symptoms of Frontal Sinusitis?
The most common symptom of Frontal Sinusitis is intense facial pain localized around the eyes and forehead Facial pain around your eyes or forehead. Some of the other symptoms of Frontal Sinusitis are:
- Persistent nasal discharge
- Pressure sensation behind the eyes
- Difficulty smelling objects
- Persistent cough which worsens at nighttime
- General feeling of being sick
- Low grade fever, but in children with Frontal Sinusitis the fever is unusually high
- Persistent lethargy
- Sore throat.
How is Frontal Sinusitis Diagnosed?
In order to diagnose Frontal Sinusitis, a detailed history of the patient will be taken as to the duration of the symptoms so as to differentiate between a common cold and Frontal Sinusitis. The physician may feel the frontal sinuses looking for any areas of pain and tenderness. If Frontal Sinusitis is suspected, the patient will be referred to an ENT specialist who will further check the nasal cavity to look for conditions like nasal polyps.
Some amount of mucous may also be collected for analysis to rule out any sort of infection. Additionally, a nasal endoscopy may be performed to look at the interior part of the frontal sinus to see if there is excessive buildup of mucous. Advanced imaging in the form of MRI scan or a CT scan may also be done of the frontal sinus to look for any other cause for the symptoms. Finally, a blood test will be done to check for other possible causes for the symptoms. The results of all of these tests will confirm the diagnosis of Frontal Sinusitis.
How is Frontal Sinusitis Treated?
The treatment for Frontal Sinusitis depends on what is causing the condition whether it is viral, bacterial, or some other source. If it is found that the condition is caused by a viral infection then nasal decongestant or a nasal spray is good enough to free the blocked sinuses and treat Frontal Sinusitis. For facial pain, an over the counter pain medication is good enough to treat it. If the symptoms of frontal sinusitis do not resolve within a week of taking the decongestant then the condition may most likely have been caused by a bacteria infection for which the most preferred treatment is antibiotics.
The patient will be prescribed antibiotics for a period of a week which will be good enough to get rid of symptoms of Frontal Sinusitis. In order to treat Frontal Sinusitis caused due to a deviated septum or nasal polyps then surgery is recommended to treat the underlying cause which in this case is the deviated septum and the nasal polyps. Once the underlying cause is corrected then the pressure in sinus is relieved and the patient gets relief of symptoms of Frontal Sinusitis.
Recovery Period of Frontal Sinusitis
Normally, it takes at least a week for the sinuses to clear with treatment and the symptoms to disappear but it is important to take the medications as directed to fasten the recovery process. In case if the symptoms of frontal sinusitis are not relieved and go on for more than a couple of months despite treatment then that condition is termed as chronic and that is a problem which is much difficult to treat and requires more aggressive interventions in order to treat Frontal Sinusitis which becomes chronic.
How Can Frontal Sinusitis be Prevented?
Practicing good hygiene is the best way to prevent Frontal Sinusitis. Keeping a clean environment where there is no room for bacteria and viruses both at home and at work is the best method to prevent Frontal Sinusitis. Wash hands before eating lunch or dinner and after using the restroom. Also drink plenty of water to keep the immune system healthy and prevent Frontal Sinusitis.