How Does an ENT Diagnose Sinus Infection?

If you are experiencing pain, pressure, or drainage in your sinuses, there’s a good chance that you have a sinus infection. A sinus infection can lead to more severe health problems if left untreated. That’s why it’s essential to get diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. In this blog post, we will discuss how ENTs diagnose sinus infections. We will also cover the most common treatment options for this condition.

An ENT will usually start by asking about your symptoms. They will also perform a physical exam. This may include feeling the tenderness in your sinuses and checking for blockages. The ENT may also order a CT scan or MRI to get a better look at your sinuses. These imaging tests can help confirm the diagnosis.

After which, they will conduct a series of tests to determine if you have sinus or symptoms of their illness. Listed below are tests you should expect:

Physical Examination

Physical examination is a necessary part of the sinus infection diagnosis process. The doctor conducts a thorough physical examination. They will feel your sinuses for tenderness and look for any blockages. It can help identify other signs and symptoms of infection, such as fever, nasal congestion, and tenderness in the cheekbones.

The physical examination can also help diagnose other conditions that may cause similar symptoms, such as allergies or colds.

Physical examination is done by checking for signs like fever, nasal congestion, and tenderness in cheekbones. It also helps identify other conditions with similar symptoms like allergies or colds.

Imaging Tests

Imaging Tests involve taking pictures of the inside of your body. This can be done in several ways, like X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Your doctor may order one or more of these tests to get a better look at your sinuses and surrounding structures.

X-rays are a form of radiation passed through your body and create an image on a particular film. This test is often used to help diagnose sinus infections because it can show the outline of your sinuses and surrounding bones.

CT scans use X-rays and a computer program to create detailed and clear images of the inside of your body. This test can give your doctor a more in-depth look at your sinuses, including the size and shape of your air spaces. It can also help identify any abnormalities or infections in the tissues around your sinuses.

MRI uses powerful magnets and radio waves when creating images of the inside of your body. The MRI test may be ordered if you have had a CT scan that showed something suspicious in or around your sinuses. MRI can provide more detailed information about the tissue around your sinuses.

Your doctor may also order a sinus X-ray. This test can help identify any blockages in your sinuses that may be causing your infection. Sinus X-rays are usually done along with a CT scan or MRI.

Sinus Culture

Your ENT will likely take a sinus culture to diagnose a sinus infection properly. It’s done by swabbing the inside the nose and then sending the sample to a lab for analysis. The culture results can help your ENT determine what type of bacteria or fungus is causing your infection, and from there, they can prescribe the appropriate antibiotic. A sinus culture may not be necessary in some cases if your ENT can make a diagnosis based on your symptoms and a physical examination alone. However, if your ENT is unsure what is causing your infection or if you have had multiple rounds of antibiotics without relief, a sinus culture may be ordered.

Blood Tests

The doctor may also request you to take a blood test to rule out other conditions causing your symptoms. The blood tests can help determine if you have a sinus infection or another illness.

The ENT will order blood tests to check for the extent of the sinus infection. A complete blood count (CBC) will be requested to look for an increase in white blood cells, a sign of infection. The ENT may also order a nasal discharge culture to grow bacteria to identify the specific bacteria causing the infection.

Allergies Testing

If you are having allergies symptoms, the doctor may order testing for allergies. This can help determine if allergies cause your symptoms. The doctors will take your Saliva, blood, or mucus samples and take them to the laboratory for testing.

Allergies can also cause sinus congestion and drainage. Your ENT may prescribe allergy medications to help clear up your sinuses if you have allergies.


When experiencing a sinus infection, you can do a few things to try and clear it up. Try the below-listed home remedies first and see if they help relieve your symptoms.

  • Drink lots of fluids. Adequate fluids in your body help thin out the mucus in your sinuses and make them easier to drain.
  • Use a humidifier. A humidifier adds extra moisture to the air and helps keep your nasal passages from drying out.
  • Take over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Use a neti pot or saline nasal spray to flush out your sinu ses with saltwater.

If home remedies don’t seem to be helping, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Ensure you finish the entire course of medication even when you start to feel better. Sinus infections can be stubborn and may come back if not entirely cleared up.

Suppose you experience a sinus infection lasting more than a few weeks or keep coming back. In that case, you may have chronic sinusitis,it’s a more severe condition that may require long-term treatment with prescription medications.

Other treatments your doctor will recommend may include nasal irrigation, surgery, or immunotherapy.

Nasal Irrigation: This involves flushing out your sinuses with a saline solution. This can help to reduce congestion and keep your sinuses clean.

Surgery: If you have chronic sinusitis, surgery may be an option. There are different types of surgery that can be performed depending on the cause of your condition.

Immunotherapy: This treatment involves injecting small amounts of allergens into your skin. This helps to reduce the symptoms of chronic sinusitis caused by allergies.

In Conclusion, if you experience any symptoms related to the sinus, it is essential not to take any medication over the counter. Ensure you consult your physician to ensure you get the best treatment that will not result in any lasting infections in the long run.


TBN Editor

Time Business News Editor Team