Chronic sinus infections are a widespread problem in Salem and across the country. An estimated 37 million Americans are diagnosed with chronic sinusitis, defined as an infection that persists for longer than eight weeks.

Medications are often ineffective, leaving people with few options other than surgery. Researchers from the University of Cincinnati recently completed a study that found a regimen of oral and topical corticosteroids could offer a solution for the millions of patients seeking relief from chronic sinus infections.

A Non-Surgical Solution for Sinus Infections

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What is sinusitis?

Sinusitis is an inflammation and infection of the sinuses that produces cold-like symptoms such as congestion, runny nose, postnasal drip, sore throat, loss of smell and taste, fever, fatigue, facial pain and pressure and bad breath.

These persistent symptoms can significantly impact a patient’s quality of life and well-being.

What causes sinusitis?

Causes of sinusitis vary. It frequently occurs following a cold or allergies, but is also associated with immune system disorders, facial trauma, physical abnormalities (deviated septum, nasal polyps) and benign tumors.

Do OTC medications help sinusitis?

Over-the-counter and prescription medications might provide short-term relief but are often insufficient in managing symptoms for their full duration, which often lasts 12 weeks or longer. Many doctors recommend sinus surgery for their patients, especially those with severe symptoms, but procedures are often invasive and require an extended recovery period.

What did the UC study entail?

The University of Cincinnati research team’s clinical study focused on treating more than 60 chronic sinusitis patients with a combination of oral and topical corticosteroids.

All patients were experiencing severe sinus infections accompanied by nasal polyps—growths in the nose and sinuses that cause breathing trouble and affect the sense of smell.

Ahmad R. Sedaghat, MD, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the UC College of Medicine and one of the study’s authors said:

“These patients with the most severe symptoms and the large polyps are the ones for whom many doctors may say, ‘You need sinus surgery,’ rather than struggling through presumably ineffective medical therapy.”

How was the study carried out?

Patients were administered a regimen of short-course oral corticosteroid taper and topical intranasal corticosteroid irrigation.

What were the results?

Half the group’s symptoms were so drastically reduced they did not need to undergo sinus surgery. While not all patients benefited and some still required surgery for long-term relief, the study showed that a significant number of people suffering from severe chronic sinusitis and nasal polyps can end up bypassing a surgical procedure.

“These patients’ disease is the worst of the worst,” Dr. Sedaghat said. “With this regimen, we alleviated their symptoms, helped them avoid surgery and improved their quality of life.”

What should you do if you have a chronic sinus infection?

If you are plagued by chronic sinus infections and haven’t found relief from medications, visit a local Salem ENT doctor to learn whether a non-surgical solution might be an effective treatment option.

Learn More about Common Sinus Issues