Living with Chronic Sinusitus or Rhinitis and Post Nasal Drip

2010-04-09 | |
Last updated: 2019-11-17

As a key point of entry into our bodies, our nose and nasal passages are regularly exposed to many foreign invaders. Viral, fungal and bacterial exposure in these passages can readily make us ill. Frequently when we are young or when our immune systems are already taxed and do not stop these invaders, we can get a nasal or sinus infection. Though this can be very uncomfortable and sometimes painful. However, these infections will generally clear up on their own or with antibiotics. This is not always the case however. For a large percentage of the population, such infections can be a chronic nuisance.

Sinusitis is an infection of the sinuses that leads to nasal congestion, sinus pressure and fluid or mucous draining into the throat that can cause a lasting, annoying cough. Similarly, Rhinitis is an infection of the nasal passages. More specifically, these infections involve the mucous membrane in these areas.

Such infections often occur following a cold because the tissues in the nose are most vulnerable at this point.

How Many People Experience Runny Noses without a Cold?

In the US, almost 37 million people, or 12% of the population will experience Sinusitis each year. At the same time, somewhere between 16 and 32 million suffer from the condition chronically, making it one of the most common forms of disease experienced. Furthermore, because it is so prevalent, the condition, in combination with bronchitis, accounts for more than 30 million missed workdays annually in the US alone.

Also due to its common occurrence, sinus and nasal infections represent 2 of the top 3 reasons for coughs lasting more than 3 weeks as well as chronic coughs. Such coughs result from excess fluid creation called post nasal drip. This results in irritating liquids constantly dripping into the throat. Whether the cause is viral, bacterial or fungal in nature, the symptoms will usually look the same. In many cases, patients receive no diagnosis as to the reason for the chronic cough. They will suffer needlessly with such coughs for long periods of time.

What are Some Health Effects of Chronic Sinusitis and Rhinitis?

Worse than the chronic cough itself, however, Chronic Sinusitis and Rhinitis can also lead to increased bodily pain. Research published by the American Academy of Otolaryngology concluded that the bodily aches and pains experienced by those with these conditions are similar to the levels felt by those with depression or arthritis. This can make someone in their 40s feel regular pain equivalent to the pain felt by those in their 70s.

Even when these infections are treated, however, 10% of people with such chronic infections develop another infection. These infections may start within weeks or at most a few months. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University studying these cases suspect that for these individuals, genetics plays a part. The patient’s genetics reduces the ability of the immune system to identify foreign invaders. As a result, other components of the immune system fail to attack and remove these invaders.

What Is The Cause Of Chronic Sinusitis And Rhinitis?

Other research into Chronic Sinusitis by the University of Buffalo and the Mayo Clinic determined in 2004 that chronic Sinusitis and Rhinitis result from fungal infections that cause the immune system to overreact. Their research found that treating patients with antifungal remedies caused a significant reduction in symptoms.


Regardless of the reasons for the condition, at present, the condition cannot be eliminated, but only managed. This makes detection of the condition very important. To aid in such diagnosis, research conducted at the Medical College of Georgia has created a blood test that detects specific proteins that identify people who have Sinusitis. With the test, people who might not otherwise know they have the condition can find out earlier. Wit this option, they may be able to get appropriate treatments to reduce the symptoms.

With any medical condition that medical science has not yet eliminated, the key to incremental success is in reducing the symptoms of the condition. This provides hope for making life the most livable for patients. For sufferers of chronic Sinusitis and Rhinitis, the situation is no different. Thus, it is important that patients are aware of their condition so that they can get the best treatments currently available.

Do you suffer the effects of Chronic Sinusitis or Rhinitis? Does it affect your daily life? Share your experiences in the forums.

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Category: General Health, Symptom Information

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