Learn all about ethmoid sinus disease symptoms, treatment and surgery. The ethmoid sinuses or ethmoid air cells of the ethmoid bone are one of the four paired par nasal sinuses. It’s actually a collection of approximately nine air cells situated between the upper limit of the nasal fossa and the orbit.
They are a variable in both size and number of small cavities in the lateral mass of each of the ethmoid bones and cannot be palpated during an extra oral examination. Ethmoid sinus disease is a medical term we don’t hear too often though it is really not all that uncommon. In the area around out nose and eyes are four sets of sinus cavities. The ethmoid sinuses are located between the eyes and consist of small pockets of bubbles, a honeycomb arrangement of sorts. The ethmoid cavities perform a vital function in that they release mucus which contains antibodies that serve to prevent bacteria from entering and infecting the nasal passages.
The main causes of ethmoid sinus are an upper respiratory infection, allergy or common cold. Other causes also include a deviated septum, which is the tissue that separates the nostrils, is displaced to one side or the other.
Nasal polyps are noncancerous growths in the lining of your nasal cavity and can be a cause of sinusitis as well.
Usually, ethmoid sinusitis can be diagnosed based on your symptoms and an examination of your nasal passages. Your doctor will use a special light called an otoscope to look up your nose and in your ears for evidence of a sinus infection. The doctor may also take your temperature, listen to your lung sounds, and examine your throat.
Ethmoid Sinus Disease
The ethmoid sinuses are located within the human skull between the eye sockets and above the nose. Ethmoid sinuses are matchbox-sized areas filled with 7 to 10 interconnected bubbles made of very thin-walled bone. These bubbles are lined with mucus membrane and each bubble has its own opening to drain into the nasal cavity. When the lining of the ethmoid sinuses becomes inflamed, they swell. This inflammation causes a blockage of the ostia. As a result, the flow of mucus is reduced and it accumulates in the ethmoid sinuses. Over time this build-up causes an infection known as ethmoid sinusitis or ethmoiditis.
Ethmoid Sinus Symptoms
Ethmoid sinuses are close to your eyes, you may notice more eye-related symptoms in this type of sinusitis compared to others. You may have pain between the eyes and tenderness when touching the bridge of your nose. Other symptoms of sinusitis include:
- facial swelling
- runny nose lasting longer than 10 days
- thick nasal secretions
- post-nasal drip, which is mucus that moves down the back of your throat
- sinus headaches
- sore throat
- bad breath
- decreased sense of smell and taste
- general fatigue or malaise
- ear pain or mild hearing loss.
Ethmoid Sinus Treatment
Ethmoid sinus treatment includes various medications. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help ease ethmoid sinusitis discomfort. Examples include acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin. Steroid nasal sprays, such as fluticasone (Flonase), are also short-term solutions for a runny nose. A doctor may prescribe antibiotics to reduce the amount of infection-causing bacteria. These medications may include amoxicillin, augmentin, azithromycin (Zithromax), or erythromycin.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, decongestant and antihistamine treatments don’t typically ease ethmoid sinusitis symptoms. Antihistamines can thicken mucus in the nose, making it harder to drain.
Ethmoid Sinus Surgery
Medications do not effectively treat inflammation or swelling, or relieve pain which can sometime accompany other symptoms surgery is sometime required, though the need for surgery is fortunately somewhat rare. Surgery is usually called for if the case of ethmoid sinus disease or sinusitis appears to be getting progressively worse, and doesn’t respond to medication. This often indicates the formation of an abscess in the sinus cavity or in nearby areas. An abscess which cannot be effectively controlled can present a danger to the patient given the proximity of the sinus cavities to the brain. In extreme cases the ethmoid cavity bubbles may have to be surgically removed, a procedure known as an ethmoidectomy. The surgeon views your ethmoid sinuses with an endoscope, a thin flexible tube with a very small camera and light at the end of it. In most cases of ethmoid sinus disease, bacteria is the responsible agent with about half the cases involving either Streptococcus pneumoniae or Haemophilus influenzae bacteria, both of which may be controlled by vaccines. In other cases, especially where allergens are at fault, fungal pathogens may be at the root of the problem.
Ethmoid Sinus Treatment Home Remedies
Ethmoid sinusitis treatments can require a varied approach that ranges from at-home treatments to surgery in the most severe circumstances. Following are the home remedies;
- Steam Inhalation: Boil water in a bowl/container the put it at the surface, Put a towel on your head and lean forward to inhale the steam releasing from the boiled water while covering your face. Make sure the vapors are not too hot; otherwise it might leave mark of steam burns. Keeping your nasal passage moist also helps in relieving you.
- Ethmoid sinus, you can use saline nasal spray several times a day to do it.
- Eating 2-3 cloves of raw garlic early morning (empty stomach) can help you getting rid of your respiratory infections and hence your sinus too as sinus is also caused by minor respiratory infections.
- Drink herbal tea made with fennel, peppermint and sage it will help in draining sinus passages.