Dr. Tamer Fawzy Answers Commonly Asked Questions
CWM: What are the main causes of sinus problems?
Sinus problems are most commonly secondary to allergies and other factors like smoking and pollution. We have to differentiate between the two forms of sinus problems. One is acute sinusitis, which is usually caused by infections, either bacterial or viral. This is when someone is really sick, feverish and needs to stay home and skip work or school.
The other form is the chronic form, which is very common, where the patient suffers from various symptoms like headaches, sneezing, runny nose or blocked nose that are present on a daily basis without being actually sick. This can really affect the quality of life and sleep.
What other factors can cause a sinus problem?
Previous nasal trauma during road traffic accidents and contact sports may also predispose to sinus disease as they affect the air entry of the nose.
What are the usual symptoms?
A blocked or runny nose, but the most alarming symptom is the loss of sense of smell. It needs proper management, and should not be ignored. It may be a sign of a serious sinus disease.
What foods should be avoided, especially with children?
With children it is a bit different, they don’t get sinus disease, but rather allergies and intolerances, from milk and various foods. Also an enlarged adenoid may cause similar symptoms especially in asthmatic children.
How can a problem be diagnosed?
Usually examination in the outpatient clinic helps in identifying the problem, however, a CT scan of the sinuses is the most accurate method to diagnose sinus problems.
Is there a surgical solution for sinus problems?
Yes, depending on the cause we can use an endoscopic approach, which means through the nose, without skin scars or stitches. If sinusitis is secondary to previous trauma this can be treated surgically by what we call a Septo Rhinoplasty. It is basically a nose job, but a functional one that treats both sinus disease and the aesthetics of the nose.
By improving air entry into the nose, the symptoms usually disappear.
Dr. Tamer Fawzy
Consultant of ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery