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What Is Ethmoid Sinusitis?

A cross section of the head, including the sinuses.
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  • Written By: Nat Robinson
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 16 August 2014
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The ethmoid sinuses are one of four sets of sinuses found inside the human skull. Ethmoid sinuses are located between the eyes. They are air-filled cavities that secrete an antibody mucus to prevent the entrance of bacteria and germs into the nasal passage. Sometimes, the sinuses become inflamed, leading to an infection. An infection of the ethmoid sinuses is known as ethmoid sinusitis.

Small interconnected bubbles make up the ethmoid sinuses. Mucus is drained into the nasal cavity though an opening in each of these bubbles. The introduction of certain substances into the nasal passageway can cause the sinuses to become inflamed. If the sinuses swell, bacteria-filled mucus can build up. A sinus infection can result from this lingering bacteria.

A cold can commonly contribute to the onset of ethmoid sinusitis. Germs already in the nasal passageway can spread into the sinuses and lead to an infection. Nasal tumors, polyps or other duct obstruction can block the cavity and prevent adequate draining of mucus. Some people get sinus flare-ups with the change of the seasons. Additionally, pet dander, smoke and pollen can also cause sinus inflammation.

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Symptoms of ethmoid sinusitis will vary from person to person. Generally, sinus pain may be most prevalent around and between the eyes with this type of infection. This may be especially difficult for people wearing glasses, as the pressure may become quite tense. Individuals may also experience a headache, overall facial pain and varying degrees of both a runny and stuffy nose. As with most infections, it is not uncommon to run a fever.

A family doctor may initially be seen for treatment of this condition. An individual experiencing several bouts of ethmoid sinusitis in a short period of time may seek more advanced treatment and schedule an appointment with an otorhinolaryngologist. This is a doctor specializing in otolaryngology, which is the study of diagnosing and treating diseases of the ear, nose and throat. A full examination will be done by the doctor, a proper diagnosis can be made and adequate treatment can be prescribed.

If a fever is present, treatment will generally involve taking an antibiotic. Other common treatment methods for this condition can include nasal sprays, decongestants and anti-inflammatory medications. In rare cases, ethmoid sinusitis can lead to other serious health problems, such as the formation of a blood clot or abscess in the area of the infected sinuses. For this reason, it is important to see a doctor for lingering problematic symptoms that fail to improve within a couple of days.

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Discuss this Article

serenesurface
Post 3

I wonder what causes the sinuses to get inflamed and infected?

I never had any sinus problems my whole life and all of the sudden I was diagnosed with ethmoid sinusitis.

literally45
Post 2

@ankara-- I wouldn't exactly call this a remedy, but there is an all natural nasal spray on the market that's very effective for sinusitis. It has capsaicin and several other natural ingredients in it. Capsaicin is a beneficial ingredient found in red peppers.

I used it several times when I had a stuff nose due to a cold. It works really well, it clears up mucus and post-nasal drip. It burns a little bit in the beginning but that's why it's effective. I'm sure it will also work for an ethmoid sinus infection.

If you don't want to use this, you can always do nasal irrigation with a neti pot and saline solution (or just salt water). Those are always great at clearing up the sinuses.

bluedolphin
Post 1

I experience ethmoid sinusitis several times a year. I'm going through one right now. I've had the worst headache for the past two days, as well as a runny nose and post-nasal drip.

I'm tired of trying medications that don't work. Are there any natural ethmoid sinusitis treatments for this condition?

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