There are many reasons someone may develop sinusitis. The cause of sinusitis can be due to infection. However, this is not always the case. Infectious causes of sinusitis are very common. An upper respiratory viral infection like the common cold or flu can cause sinusitis and these typically resolve on their own after just a few weeks. However, in many cases, infection of the sinuses can be due to bacterial infection, which may require antibiotics to resolve. Some of these infections can linger on for months or longer without proper treatment, and even have the potential to spread to important surrounding areas like the eyes or the brain, in very rare instances. In some cases we also find other organisms such as mold or fungus behind the cause of patients' sinusitis. Non-infectious causes of sinusitis are common as well. For instance, environmental allergies, where your body may be overreacting to harmless substances in the environment with increased swelling and mucus production, as if these substances were threatening invaders like a bacteria or virus as a common cause. Problems with sinus drainage anatomy due to blockage or narrowing of the small openings to the sinuses can also lead to sinusitis. Similarly, if a patient's sinus lining - which has the natural ability to clear mucus - is not functioning properly, the sinuses can get backed up and sinusitis may develop. Lastly, for unknown reasons some patients exhibit increased levels of inflammation in their sinuses leading to sinusitis and even nasal polyp formation, in some instances.
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