If you deal with block sinuses frequently, you know how annoying they can be. It becomes difficult to breathe through your nose, and you may get sinus headaches. You may feel like you have pressure on your eyes and face, and your ears may pop as your sinuses try to drain into them. Your throat may become sore from thick mucus drainage. If you have had these symptoms for more than three months, you may have what is called chronic sinusitis.
If you have chronic sinusitis or blocked sinuses, you may have postnasal drainage, that is, drainage from your nose into the back of the throat. You may have nasal congestion, which makes it difficult to breathe through your nose. You may have difficulty smelling or tasting things, or you might have a cough. Your forehead, around the eyes, nose, and cheeks may be tender to touch.
Other symptoms associated with blocked sinuses include ear pain and congestion, a cough that becomes worse at night, sore throat, and bad breath. The teeth and upper jaw may be tender, and you may feel tired all the time. Sometimes, people also get nausea from post-nasal drainage.
Not surprisingly, one of the classic causes for chronic sinusitis is infections. Both bacterial and viral sinus infections can cause blocked sinuses. If you have a bacterial infection, your doctor may put you on a course of antibiotics. If your infection is from a virus, antibiotics will not treat the infection. The best course of action is to treat the symptoms and make yourself as comfortable as possible.
If you have allergies, chances are you're very familiar with blocked sinuses. Allergies can cause your sinuses to become inflamed and clogged. In this case, finding out what you're allergic to and getting treated for allergies will help alleviate the symptoms. Some over the counter allergy medications may help.
Sometimes, you can get blocked sinuses from growths known as nasal polyps. Nasal polyps grow in the lining of your nasal passages, often where your sinuses open into your nasal passages. Although they are typically not cancerous, if they block your nasal passages, polyps can become infected due to a build-up of mucus.
Sometimes misalignment of the nasal passages causes blocked sinuses. Injuries and accidents such as a broken nose can also cause a deviated septum. An ear, nose, and throat specialist may be able to correct the problem with surgery.
Other, less likely causes of blocked sinuses include HIV, immune related illnesses, gastroesophageal reflux, and cystic fibrosis. If a doctor has ruled out the more common causes of blocked sinuses, you may wish to have him or her investigate to determine whether one of these conditions could be to blame.
If your sinuses are blocked, you can try to open them in several ways. Taking long, hot showers will allow the steam to make your nasal passages feel better and will help them unclog. You can also stand over a pot of warm water and breath in the vapor. Drinking warm beverages will get the warm, moist air into your nasal passages. You can also use a humidifier or vaporizer in your home.
Irrigation therapy is a great, natural way to clear blocked sinuses. Use a neti pot, bulb syringe, or a nasal irrigator filled with a saline solution. Be sure to use only water that has been boiled and allowed to cool or distilled water -- otherwise, you might be introducing unwanted bacteria or other infectious organisms into your already-problematic sinuses. Saline nasal sprays can have a similar effect to irrigation.
If the previous methods don't work or you want to try something different, there are a few other natural ways you may be able to clear your blocked sinuses. Putting a warm, wet towel on your face directly over the sinuses can decrease the pain and pressure. Sleeping with your head elevated may reduce the swelling and promote the draining of your sinuses. Finally, stay away from chlorinated pools or hot tubs, as these vapors can cause further irritation.
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