What is frontal sinusitis?

Frontal sinusitis is an inflammation of the frontal sinuses, cavities located above the nose and just behind the eyes. In people with frontal sinusitis, these sinus cavities become inflamed, usually as a result of the presence of microorganisms or irritants, and the patient experiences pain, unpleasant discharge, and headaches as a result of the inflammation and blockage. There are several treatments available to relieve frontal sinusitis.

Patients develop frontal sinusitis when sinus drainage is impaired, most commonly as a result of overproduction of mucus. Instead of draining freely, the sinus begins to be affected by material, making it an ideal incubator for some viruses and bacteria that like warm, moist environments. It's also possible that irritants such as pollen, pet dander, and smoke can irritate the sinus, causing it to overproduce mucus and causing a blockage of the ducts that normally drain the sinus.

Frontal sinusitis is characterized by pain and a feeling of pressure in the forehead, cough, headache, and thick discharge from the nose. Patients may also find that they have a fever and tiredness. In very severe cases, patients may develop an altered level of consciousness.

A general practitioner can often provide treatment for frontal sinusitis. In other cases, a patient may visit an otolaryngologist, a doctor who specializes in treating the ears, nose, and throat. For mild cases, treatment usually includes pain relievers to control pain, decongestants to break up mucus and allow the sinus to drain, and medications to kill bacteria or viruses that live inside the sinus. Home care techniques such as applying warm compresses and standing in a wet bath can also help loosen mucus and drain the sinus to relieve pressure and pain.

If a patient has severe frontal sinusitis or experiences recurrent episodes, surgical treatments may need to be considered. In surgery, the sinuses and passageways are reshaped to promote more even drainage. Sometimes recurrent sinusitis is also the result of an abnormality in the structure of the sinus cavity or skull and correcting this can relieve sinus problems. Doctors will not recommend surgery unless it is considered the best option for the patient, and the patient will have ample opportunity to discuss the potential risks and benefits of surgery. They may also be encouraged to seek second opinions to confirm that surgery is a good option and to learn more about the procedure.

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