Tiny cavities that are located in the bones near the nose are known as sinuses. An inflammation of the sinuses results in a condition described as a sinus attack, or more popularly, sinusitis. But what exactly is a sinus? What are the causes of a sinus infection? Read on to know more.
The sinuses act as protectors of the skull. They make the skull lighter. They also give the characteristic of echo to voice. Four pairs of sinuses link the nostrils to the nasal passages. Any infection or bacterial invasion of the sinuses leads to sinusitis.
The primary cause of a sinus infection is an inflammation of the nasal membrane lining. Sinuses help in evacuation of mucus and dry air from the nasal passage. An inflammation of the same leads to a blockage in the membrane which traps the mucus and dry air in the sinuses.
The most frequent cause of sinus infections is cold. It congests the nasal membrane. Thus, the evacuation process of the sinuses is prohibited and leads to inflammation. Other causes of sinus infections include scuba diving, owing to the pressure changes involved, and the condition of pregnancy which leads to hormonal changes and inflammation of nasal membrane.
Severe headache, softness in the areas around the eyes and nose, discharge from the nose, fever are some of the symptoms of sinusitis. A sinus infection can be acute, lasting around three weeks, chronic, lasting between three to eight weeks, or recurring, that relapses frequently within a span of time.
The sinus pain is felt in different areas depending on the area affected by the sinus. To illustrate, while getting up from the bed in the morning, a pain is felt in bending the head forward. This is known as frontal sinusitis and it affects the area over the eyes. The pain experienced in the jaws and cheekbones is referred to as maxillary sinusitis. Pain in the bridge between the eyes and the nose is known as ethmoid sinusitis. And a pain in the ears and nose and eyes is referred to as sphenoid sinusitis.
Thus, the causes of sinus infection are manifold and the treatment depends on the on the cause and severity of the infection.