Glossary On Causes of Sinusitis

Numerous factors can trigger an attack of sinusitis in any given case. The commonest thing that can trigger it is infection:

  • Viral infection: Sinusitis is most frequently caused by common cold viruses. The sinusitis attacks of this kind are generally acute in nature.
  • Bacterial infection: When the sinus blockage persists for longer than 7 to 10 days, bacteria tend to grow and multiply giving rise to yellowish or greenish discharge form the nose. This is generally seen in sub-acute, chronic or recurrent cases.
  • Fungi: In rare cases, when the immunity of the patient has been compromised (such as in HIV, ongoing chemotherapy treatment, etc.), fungi may tend to thrive in the sinus secretions. Fungal infection of the sinuses tends to run a chronic course.

Some of the factors that can lead to infection of the sinuses are:

  • Allergy: Nasal allergies, hay fever, etc. can lead to inflammation of the sinuses and blockage of the same.
  • Deviated nasal septum (DNS) (one of the commonest causes)
  • Nasal polyp
  • Nasal tumor
  • Enlarged adenoids
  • Dental caries - infection can easily spread from dental caries to nearby sinuses
  • Facial injury can lead to a mechanical blockage of the sinus
  • Chronic exposure to smoke, pollutants (leading to chronic inflammation of the sinuses)
  • Reduced immunity (weakened immune system) due to HIV, immunosuppressant drugs, etc.
  • Medical conditions like Cystic fibrosis, gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), etc.