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Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob, Neurologist (MD)
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 3872
Experience:  Neurology & Int Medicine (US Trained): 20 yrs experience
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What are the symptoms of a Sphenoid Sinusitis infection and

Resolved Question:

What are the symptoms of a Sphenoid Sinusitis infection and do they differ for a regular sinus infection?
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Neurology
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 5 months ago.

Dr. Bob :

Hello. As you probably know, the sphenoid sinus is an air-filled (normally) cavity within the sphenoid bone behind the nasopharynx.

Dr. Bob :

It is the central-most and deepest of the sinuses.

Dr. Bob :

It sits quite close to the pituitary gland and the tips of the temporal lobes of the brain.

Dr. Bob :

Sinus disease here typically produces the same sorts of symptoms as sinusitis elsewhere...congestion, head pressure, foul-smelling discharge.

Dr. Bob :

Headache caused by sphenoid sinusitis may feel deeper, and more central, sometimes radiating into the top of the head,

Dr. Bob :

Complications can be more serious due to its proximity to the brain.

Customer:

Thank you very much - That is the type of headache pain I have had. I feel it occasionally on the top of my head, and side of my head along with the occasional pain around my temple. I just have some nasal drainage out of my right nostril, but it's not all the time. This morning, I woke up

Customer:

with my right eye somewhat closed up due to a slight discharge

Customer:

everything I have has been on the right side. I wake up in the morning with some minor fluid in my right ear. However, I have not had any discharge.

Dr. Bob :

Have you had a CT of your sinuses?

Customer:

No not yet - I am feeling much better than I was, but I still have occasional pain/discomfort. It's not constant though. About a month ago I couldn't even go outside because the light bothered me. I was also having some neck pain. I have definitely improved, but feel like I still have a few symptoms. I also fly alot and noticed the pain in my temple was worse when I flew.

Dr. Bob :

Sphenoid sinus pain can radiate into the temples as well as the neck. If the symptoms prove recurrent or resistant to treatment (i.e. antihistamines, decongestants, antibiotics) you should request a sinus CT to get a good look at all the sinuses.

Customer:

I am able to go to work, etc. This sinus infection/discomfort was different from other sinus infection's I've had.

Customer:

Thanks. Are they uncommon sinus infections?

Dr. Bob :

It usually does feel different to patients...and there is typically no facial pain as there often is with frontal, ethmoid or maxillary sinus infections.

Dr. Bob :

They are not commonly diagnosed...but that may be because we are missing the diagnosis. :-)

Customer:

Thanks - Can a frontal, ethmoid or maxilary cause top of head pain?

Dr. Bob :

Usually not, at least not in isolation from pain around or below the eyes.

Customer:

It felt different in the sense that it was deeper pain and I didn't really have any nasal discharge.

Dr. Bob :

Or it was draining down the back of your throat instead of coming out the nose...?

Customer:

yes initially it was more post nasal drip

Customer:

Since it comes and goes, you think I can monitor it and see if it improves? As mentioned, I have definitely improved, but this started about six weeks ago. I have reduced my flying for the next couple of weeks as I felt that might of delayed me getting better.

Dr. Bob :

If it is coming from a congested or infected sphenoid sinus, it might respond to a combination antihistamine and decongestant (e.g. actifed).

Customer:

Okay thanks. The discomfort on the top of my head had me concerned. Can that be from the ear as well?

Dr. Bob :

ear pain is usually localized to the affected side.

Customer:

yes all of my discomfort has been on the right side.

Customer:

I thinking it was a sephenoid sinus infection becuase I had neck back head pain, sometimes talking on the phone the voice sounded piercing

Dr. Bob :

but ear problems typically stay on the side of the head, or the jaw, but not the top of the head

Customer:

oh right

Customer:

so it sounds sinus related?

Dr. Bob :

vision issues can localize to one side or to the top of the head.

Dr. Bob :

so can migraines.

Customer:

okay thanks. So for now you recommend I monitor and you don't feel like it's urgent?

Dr. Bob :

Nothing you have said would indicate urgency...though obviously I don't have the advantage of being able to examine you.

Customer:

okay thanks.

Customer:

If it was something neurological, I would have different symptoms, correct?

Dr. Bob :

While there are clearly nerves involved (i.e. pain) this does not sound like a primary neurological condition (e.g tumor, bleed, neuralgia), especially if the symptoms come and go.

Dr. Bob, Neurologist (MD)
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 3872
Experience: Neurology & Int Medicine (US Trained): 20 yrs experience
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