Sinus Headaches

An Overview Of Allergic Fungal Sinusitis


Fungal sinusitis can be of either allergic, mycetoma or invasive categories. Fusarium, Curvularia and Aspergillus are the sinusitis causing fungi known to cause Allergic Fungal Sinusitis (AFS).

AFS is the most common form of fungal sinusitis, occurring mainly in warm and humid climates. The condition is caused when a person inhales certain fungal organisms present in their environment. These fungal organisms trigger a hypersensitive reaction in such patients, leading to an inflammation of the sinuses.

In allergic fungal sinusitis, deposits of allergic mucin get formed within the sinus cavities. Accumulation of mucin and formation of polyps lead to constriction of the normal mucus drainage system of the body. If uncontrolled, the accumulation of these harmful deposits can lead to erosion of the bone, damage of the sinus walls and may even cause the sinus fillings to escape into the brain or into the cavity known as the orbit.

AFS is most commonly reported in young adult population. Patients are usually immunocompromised or have a prior history of atopy, asthma or allergic rhinitis. The usual symptoms include coughing, headaches and nasal stuffiness and discharge often consisting of thick sticky mucus that is yellow or green in color.

The condition may be diagnosed with the help of radiological tests like CT or MRI scans. Medical treatment involves the use of oral medication and necessary steroids. Another option is immunotherapy, which involves vaccinating patients with substantial doses of allergens to reduce severity or get rid of the hypersensitivity altogether.

In more severe and complicated cases, surgical treatments, involving removal of the accumulated debris may be necessary to clear the blockage and restore normal sinus ventilation.

Only a skilled medical practitioner with extensive experience in handling and treating cases of allergic fungal sinusitis should be consulted for specialized and effective treatment of this disease.