Discussing Chronic Sinus Conditions
If it seems like you’re stuffy all the time, you’re not alone. Allergies, chronic sinusitis, deviated septum, and nasal growths can stop your nose from working like it should. Dr. Douglas Reh, a fellowship trained ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist with ENT Associates at GBMC, talked with Mix 106.5’s Reagan Warfield (who turns out to be Dr. Reh’s cousin) about the many different conditions that can lead to problems with your nose and what you can do to breathe easier.
One of the most common causes of ongoing congestion and trouble breathing through the nose is chronic sinusitis. Unlike a sinus infection, this condition is caused by chronic inflammation of the delicate tissues in the nose. While not being able to breathe through your nose may only seem annoying, people with this condition should see an ENT because, left untreated, it can lead to the development of polyps in your nasal passages, loss of your sense of taste and/or smell, and the development of asthma.
“Treatment of chronic sinusitis starts with medications to decrease inflammation,” explained Dr. Reh. “For more than 80% of patients, simple medication gets symptoms under better control.” There are also surgical options, which are minimally invasive and don’t have any incisions. These are outpatient procedures, which is very different than it was 20 to 30 years ago. You can go back to work in three to four days. “You don’t have any uncomfortable packing in your nose or bruises after the procedure.”
The other big issue that Dr. Reh treats in his practice is allergies. “If you live in Maryland long enough, you’ll have allergies,” he said with a laugh. He shared his advice on which over-the-counter medicines to try and says sinus rinses, like Neti pots, can be a big help for allergy sufferers.
Reagan and Dr. Reh also talked about new treatments that are being developed for patients who have lost their sense of smell, including olfactory retraining, a kind of physical therapy for your nose, and why acid reflux may be an underlying cause of your post-nasal drip.
“If you have ongoing problems with your nose, ears, or throat and your primary care physician hasn’t been able to help you get them under control, an ENT can help you get the right diagnosis and treatment,” Dr. Reh added.