Sinus Disorders and what to look out for

Sinus disorders can be very uncomfortable and can make life hard, both in the short and the long term. At this time of year many of us tend to be especially prone to sinus problems but disorders can be challenging all year round. There are lots of different ways in which your sinuses can change and be affected over time. However, when it comes to sinus disorders these are some of the most common to look out for.


This is the most common sinus disorder and something that many of us will experience at least once in our lives. Sinusitis can be a chronic condition, which means that it’s ongoing. The symptoms of sinusitis can make it difficult to determine whether this is the problem or whether it’s more likely to be something like allergies. Those symptoms include difficulty breathing through the nose, feeling a sense of pressure in the face, nasal drainage and experiencing frequent sinus infections. It can be a big relief to get a diagnosis of sinusitis so that you know what’s happening when this uncomfortable problem affects you. There are a number of different treatments available, including decongestants, anti-inflammatory nasal sprays, systemic steroid medications and oral inflammatory inhibitors. Surgery can also be a solution where sinusitis continues to return - this is minimally invasive and can be very effective.

Sinus disorders that affect taste and smell

Because 80% of taste is thought to be influenced by smell input, sinus problems can have a big impact on taste, as well as your ability to smell. This is also why it’s easy to confuse a loss of taste for a loss of smell. Many sinus disorders that relate to taste and smell go undiagnosed simply because too little is known about them and people are not quick to seek help. There are a wide variety of different causes for sinus disorders that affect taste and smell, from allergic rhinitis to polyps, a trauma, a tumour or a neurological disorder. When tackling sinus disorders that affect taste or smell, a combination of patient history and physical examination is used, as well as objective smell testing. The treatment will depend on the condition and its severity.

Nasal and sinus polyps

These usually occur when the lining of the sinuses swells up, which is why they are often associated with sinusitis. Polyps can block the nasal cavity and create problems for breathing and can also affect nasal cavity draining, which may be problematic for infections. Medication will usually be the first line of defence where nasal or sinus polyps have been diagnosed. A different combination of medications may be required for different patients. After that, surgery may also be an option - this is done with endoscopes and designed to be minimally invasive and cause minimal discomfort.

Sinus disorders like polyps and sinusitis, as well as those that affect taste and smell, can really impact your quality of life on a daily basis. Which is why it's crucial to get medical help if they are a problem for you.

Harley Street is the UK's foremost private medical centre which is dedicated to providing high-quality care for your ear, nose, throat, head & neck, and balance-related disorders. Find out more information on how Harley Street ENT can help you here.

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The Harley Street ENT clinic in London can provide all of the care that you need when you have an ear, nose, throat or balance problem. We ensure that you can get all of the right tests, treatments and advice in one convenient place.