What is Pansinusitis? (Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment)

One of the most common ailments that affect both children and adults is sinusitis.

It’s easy to treat with medication if it is not complicated.

Physicians see over 25 million cases of sinusitis each year, which cost consumers over $2 billion annually in medical costs. (1)



What is Pansinusitis?

As everyone knows, we have sinuses in our face. These are actually cavities located around our eyes.

Paranasal sinuses are the sinus cavities that are joined with the interior area of our nose.

They occur in pairs and are referred to as;

» sphenoid sinus

» front sinus

» ethmoid sinus

» and maxillary sinus

The Sphenoid sinus is found in the sphenoid bone that is deep within the skull. The frontal sinus is located above your eyes on your forehead.

The Ethmoid sinus is in the ethmoid bone close to your nasal bone and your eye. And, finally, the maxillary sinus can be found under your cheekbone.

When one of these sinuses becomes inflamed from fungal or bacterial infection, or allergies, the result is sinusitis. If all four become inflamed at one time, then it is called Pansinusitis, and this requires an evaluation.

The symptoms of Pansinusitis are more severe in nature than sinusitis.

Some examples of symptoms are a headache, fever, nasal secretions, facial swelling, cough, toothache, earache, nose blockage, and extremely bad breath.

Very rarely, Pansinusitis can lead to serious complications, including brain infection. Pansinusitis doesn’t last long, but it could last 6 weeks, or even several years if you don’t treat it, according to sorethroatremediesguide.(2)


Causes of Pansinusitis

PansinusitisAllergies or viral and bacterial infections tend to be the biggest culprit of Pansinusitis, according to healthguidances.(3)

When your immune system is not working correctly, a viral or bacterial infection can occur. If your Pansinusitis becomes acute, it can become a chronic issue over time, and with incorrect treatment making it possible to last for months.

When your immune system is not functioning properly, germs can invade your body easier through your nose, and give you a URI or upper respiratory infection, which can then turn into Pansinusitis.

Other causes of Pansinusitis are swimming in dirty water, a tooth abscess infection, inflamed sinuses that are irritated from dust or other environmental allergens. Another cause is second-hand smoke and specific structural deformities like a deviated nasal septum.

Here is a complete list of things that can trigger Pansinusitis:(3)

» Upper respiratory tract infection
» Contaminated swimming water
» Smoking
» Asthma
» Teeth abscess
» Nasal polyps
» Sinusitis history
» Rhinitis
» Air pollution

If your immune system is poor, then you will have an easier time falling prey to germs that cause Pansinusitis. The flu or the common cold can easily start a case of Pansinusitis. In other instances, the infection can be caused by bacteria that came from a virus.

Thick secretions cause the lining of your sinuses to swell when you have an upper respiratory tract infection.

When your sinuses are swollen, this will keep air from flowing through your nasal passages correctly. Plus, the cilia, the small, thin strands in your nose, cannot clear away the thick secretion due to damage that then allows the bacteria to overgrown, and inflicts more damage to your sinus linings.

If you are seeing yellow or green discharge from your nose, you probably have a bacterial infection.

According to Science Daily, another theory of the cause of sinusitis or Pansinusitis is from the Mayo Clinic that believes it is a response by our immune system to fungi in our noses.(4) Since fungi are around us all the time, just like mold, this is very possible.

The fungi that would live in your nose do not need light as they prefer dark and moist areas, which make your nose the perfect place.

Usually, the fungi will not cause any problems for you, but, when your immune system is low, they can then cause some health issues for you, like sinusitis.

According to SoreThroatRemediesGuide, here are a few conditions that you should avoid so that they don’t cause Pansinusitis.(2)

Dental Abscess

When there is a buildup of pus in your tooth or gums, a dental abscess can occur.

The infection can be caused by several organisms, but a bacterium that doesn’t need oxygen to reproduce is usually the culprit. This is a completely curable issue but can be serious if the infection travels to your sinuses.


Nasal Allergies

Tissues inside your nose swell during allergy attacks. When the tissues are swollen, they then block up the drainage channels of your sinuses, which then trap air and secretions inside hollow spaces.(5) Your sinuses are then at risk to be infected.


Deviated Nasal Septum

When your septum deviates, the firm and flexible bone that separates the nostrils in your nose are crooked or displaced.

It can be difficult to breathe with a deviated nasal septum, and mucus will not be able to drain properly. Secretions can then collect inside your sinus cavities where bacteria can grow.



Smoking can definitely irritate your nasal airways with the thousands of toxic chemicals that you inhale.

When you breathe in the toxins, they irritate your nose and increase the amount of mucus you produce, which then causes colds and allergies.

Even if you don’t smoke, but are around those that do, you can have persistent sinus inflammation.

Studies show that secondhand smoke is the cause of 40 % of chronic sinusitis cases, and over 50 % of diagnosed sinusitis cases were the result of secondhand smoke exposure out in the public, according to Amanda Gardner for CNN.(6)


Swimming in Pools

You should also be careful when you are swimming in pools.

Due to underwater pressure changes, chemicals, and, of course, germs, you can develop Pansinusitis.

When you go under the water, it’s possible to get all sorts of things in your upper airway that can cause a sinus infection.

Chlorine and pool disinfectants can also irritate your nasal passages, and increase mucus production. Also, the water pressure blocks your sinuses and traps mucus and germs which can cause an infection.


Symptoms of Pansinusitis 

Since Pansinusitis is basically just sinusitis that involves all four sinus cavities, the symptoms of Pansinusitis is pretty much the same of sinusitis.

However, the symptoms of paranasal sinuses are more severe and can be more serious in nature.

According to WebMd.com, symptoms of Pansinusitis are:(7)

» Fever
» Headache
» Yellowish green discharge from the nose
» Blocked nose
» Facial swelling
» Persistent cough
» Pain in the teeth
» Pain in the ears
» Sore Throat

Restlessness and pain often accompany Pansinusitis, and they are an indication of more than just an inflammation of one paranasal sinus. This can become very serious if the infection spread beyond your sinuses and into your brain, which is close by the ethmoid sinuses.


Pansinusitis Diagnosis

Once Pansinusitis is suspected, there a few ways to confirm the Pansinusitis diagnosis such as:


Regular Radiography

Plain radiography is used on a limited basis in diagnosing, and managing sinusitis.

Some of the things doctors look for in sinusitis are:

» Mucosal thickening
» Air-fluid levels
» Complete opacification of the involved sinus

According to the Department of Medicine, University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, one of the most common signs that is seen in over 90 % of sinusitis cases is mucosal thickening, but it is really nonspecific.(8)

More specific signs of sinusitis that are seen in 60 % of cases are air-fluid levels, and complete opacification, which are more specific for sinusitis.

When having a regular radiograph, the interpretation can vary a lot between different observers, and there are a lot of false-negative results.(9)

When taking radiographs of the sinuses in infants under three, they are found not to be useful because of false “opacification” due to undeveloped sinuses.(10)

Regular radiographs have other limitation that involves poor imaging of the ethmoid cavity, and problems telling the difference between tumor, infection, and a polyp in an opacified sinus.

Due to the necessity of a clinical judgment to diagnose sinusitis in most cases, only a few patients who have recurring or complicated sinusitis will be a candidate for imaging studies. If regular radiography is used, it should only be used for those with persistent symptoms even with correct treatment.


CT Scan

doctor DiagnosingDiagnostic imaging techniques such as computed tomographic [CT] scan and magnetic resonance imaging [MRI’s] have seen many advances and have helped to increase the understanding and diagnosis of sinusitis.

In the case of recurring or complicated sinus issues, diagnostic imaging is generally used. Complications in sinusitis are rare but can be very serious in not promptly addressed, and treated.

You can get a lot more detailed information from CT scans regarding the anatomy, and the abnormalities of your paranasal sinuses compared to regular films.

You can get a greater definition of your sinuses with a CT scan, and it is more sensitive than regular radiography for determining the pathology of your sinuses, specifically with the location of the ethmoid and sphenoid sinuses.

Since the findings of CT scans can be rather nonspecific, they are not used routinely to diagnose acute sinusitis. When a CT scan is used, its primary role is to assist in the management and diagnosis of recurring and chronic sinusitis.

It can also be used in the definition of the sinus anatomy right before surgery. In many organizations, the cost of a limited CT scan is about the same as what a full radiographic series would cost, and a CT scan gives you more useful information than a radiographic series will.

The preferred initial procedure is a coronal CT image that gives excellent resolution, a good definition of the bone window, and the entire osteomeatal complex with additional anatomic details that take place in sinusitis.

Findings from sinus surgery also have the best correlations with the coronal view. Unless you have a complicated acute sinusitis (like periorbital cellulitis or an abscess) a noncontrast CT scan is usually enough.

The findings from a CT scan should be interpreted along with the endoscopic and clinical findings due to high rates of false positive results.



When there is suspected fungal sinusitis or tumors, and MRI will be required.

There are disadvantages to using an MRI including (11)

» High false-positive findings
» Poor bony imaging
» Higher cost
» Longer time to accomplish
» Patients may have difficulty with the MRI due to claustrophobia


Considerations for Referral

Referrals are usually given to sub-specialty care only if you have recurring or chronic sinusitis.

According to American Family Physician, consistent symptoms or symptoms that progressively get worse after medical therapy, along with a CT scan proving paranasal sinus disease, should get a referral.(12)

Cancer of the sinuses, or sinonasal cancer, is very uncommon with the chance of less than 1:100,000 in the United States.

There are risk factors that will complicate an infection and include:

» Prolonged tobacco use
» Chronic occupational exposure to wood dust, nickel, or chrome pigment


Pansinusitis Treatment 

MedicationIt is not wise to neglect taking care of a serious condition like Pansinusitis.

Ignoring this condition can lead to more serious consequences down the road. If you doctor thinks you have Pansinusitis, they will ask to perform tests including radiological imaging that can include a CT scan or MRI, an x-ray of paranasal sinuses.

The doctor will also do some microbiological tests to determine the right organism to treat with an antibiotic treatment.

If you have a recurring case of Pansinusitis because of a deviated nasal septum or a nasal polyp, you may be told that you have to have surgery to correct either the deviated nasal septum or to remove the polyp.

This will help you to return to the normal drainage you had previously in your paranasal sinuses.


Pansinusitis Home Remedies 

Pansinusitis is a very serious condition, more so than just having a basic sinus infection of one sinus cavity, and it is important to treat the infection with an antibiotic, or an antifungal.

Some people prefer to use home remedies along with their prescription when treating their Pansinusitis.

If you are interested in home remedies, here are a few effective home remedies for Pansinusitis according to ePainAssist.com:(13)

Steam inhalation: Steam is a great way to relieve congestion, lessen sinus inflammation, and lessen the mucous in your sinuses.

Healthy Diet: One thing you don’t want to overlook are ways to boost your immune system. Your diet is the best place to start by eating plenty of vegetables, fruit, and another vitamin-rich food.

Water Intake: You always hear that you need to drink a lot of water, and in this case, water will help to thin out the mucous reducing your clogged sinuses. Herbal teas are also a great way to treat Pansinusitis .

Chicken Soup: Chicken Soup is a mainstay for anyone that is ill, and it is also a great way to lessen sinus congestion or inflammation.

Warm Compresses: Warm compresses over your face, nose, and mouth can help to reduce inflammation and get rid of Pansinusitis . The compress should stay on your face for at least five minutes, and should be repeated several times a day to receive the best results.

Ginger: This is an ancient remedy that involves using small pieces of ginger, and extracting the juice. Relief is obtained by taking a couple of tablespoons of the ginger extract twice a day.

Garlic: Garlic is also an effective remedy when it is soaked in water over time. You can then make a paste from five cloves and then inhale the garlic. It might be a stinky remedy, but it does work.


Pansinusitis is a diagnosis you should take seriously.

Due to the location of your sinus cavities and the potential of the infection traveling to your brain, it’s important to take the prescribed medications, and use any home remedies that will help to relieve the symptoms.

Always follow your doctor’s orders, drink lots of fluids, and build up your immunity by eating healthy foods that will help to prevent future sinusitis occurrences.