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Sinusitis Overview

Sinusitis (also called rhinosinusitis) refers to the condition in which the lining of your sinuses becomes inflamed. The sinuses are air filled cavities behind the bones of the upper face, between the eyes and behind the forehead, nose and cheeks.

Normally, the sinuses drain through small openings into the inside of the nose. Anything that blocks the flow may cause a buildup of mucus in the sinuses. Blockage is most commonly caused by inflammation from allergies or viruses. This blockage can sometimes lead to overgrowth of pathologic, non-native, bacteria which causes a bacterial infection, also known as acute bacterial rhinosinusitis (ABRS).

The symptoms caused by sinusitis may be quite uncomfortable. The signs and symptoms may include:

  • Facial pain, pressure, congestion or fullness
  • Difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Discharge of yellow or green mucus from the nose
  • Teeth pain
  • Loss of the sense of smell or taste
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Bad breath
  • Fever
  • Coughing


You may hear your doctor refer to a certain type of sinusitis. These are the specific classes of sinusitis and are categorized according to symptom duration or number of infections. The table below defines these classes:


Symptom Duration

Acute Sinusitis:

Symptoms occur acutely and last less than 4 weeks

Acute Recurrent Sinusitis:

Four or more episodes of sinusitis per year with no symptoms in-between episodes

Chronic Sinusitis:

Symptoms that last longer than 12 weeks despite medical treatment


Southern ENT & Sinus Center
1809 Gadsden Highway
Birmingham, AL 35235
Phone: 205-838-3755
Fax: 205-661-0127

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