A Comprehensive Guide To Sphenoid Sinus
There are four types of sinuses enclosed in the human skulls. These are named according to the bones where they are located.
Ethmoid sinuses, for example, are located on both sides of the ethmoid bone, the bone that separates the brain from the nasal cavity. The frontal sinuses are situated in the region of the forehead, thus the name, and the maxillary sinuses are those that are located in the cheekbones on either side of the nostrils. The sphenoid sinuses, being located within the body of the sphenoid bone, can be found in the inner sections of the nose, behind the eyes.
Functions of the Sphenoid Sinus
Although the functions of the sinuses are not entirely understood, these are presumed to help in lightening the weight of the skull, providing cushion to the brain in case of impact, resonating the voice during speech, and providing a route for mucus to drain. The last function is particularly true for the sphenoid sinus. The sphenoid sinuses allow mucus produced in its lining to drain into the back of the nose. The size of a grape, sphenoid sinuses only fully develop during adolescence.
Sphenoid Sinus Infection
Because sphenoid sinuses are lined with cells that produce mucus, these are susceptible to bodies and foreign materials that can cause them to swell or become inflamed. This condition is called sphenoiditis, otherwise known as sphenoid sinusitis or sphenoid sinus infection.
Causes of Sphenoid Sinus Infection
Sphenoiditis is caused by conditions observed in other types of sinusitis. These include causative agents like bacteria, viruses, and foreign materials that irritate the lining of the sphenoid sinuses.
Symptoms of Sphenoid Sinus Infection
The following are the symptoms of sphenoid sinus infection:
- Upper Respiratory Tract Infection or URTI
- Rhinorrhoea or runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Headache that is localized to the area behind the nose and the cheekbones
- Facial pain which worsens when bending forward
- Pressure that radiates from cheekbones and the nose
- Redness of the skin surrounding the eyes and the cheeks
- Sore throat and bad breath
- Lacrimation or watery eyes
- Swelling of the muscles surrounding the eyes
Treatments for Sphenoid Sinusitis
Fortunately, inflammation of the sphenoid is curable. You can apply virtually all the treatment methods that are commonly used with other types of sinusitis. If you have sphenoid sinusitis, your doctor may recommend a combination of antibiotic, painkiller, and antihistamine. You may also use nasal decongestants for reducing the blockage of mucus in your nasal passages, although this will not help with the inflammation of the sphenoid sinuses.
Holistic treatment solutions may also be applied. The most effective with this particular type of sinusitis are steam inhalation, nasal rinse, and nasal spray to induce relief from symptoms. Surgeries may also be warranted if you are suffering from an extremely stubborn sphenoid sinusitis. These are aimed at creating a hole to promote mucous drainage.
Special care is needed in curing sphenoid sinusitis. This is because the location of the sinuses is harder to reach than the outlying sinus cavities. Although this type of sinus infection is very rare, it often lasts longer than all other types since the location of the sinuses are isolated, making it difficult for even antibiotics to deliver treatment.
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