Sphenoid Sinus Infection
Sphenoid Sinus Infection
A sphenoid sinus infection, also called, sphenoid sinusitis is an infection of the sinuses at
the center of the skull located behind the nose and eyes. Inflammation of the sphenoid sinus tends to feel like a
nagging headache on the vertex of the head or up behind the eyes.
The blood vessels in sinus tissues tend to be extremely small, allowing only small amounts of
blood to pass through to them. Because sinus cavities tend to be somewhat isolated from the circulatory system,
some sinus infections can be difficult to treat with narrow-spectrum oral antibiotics.
Sphenoid sinus infections can be especially difficult to treat because antibiotics are often
cleaned up by the liver before they can travel through the narrow passages to the deeper recesses of the sphenoid
To counter the difficulties of administering antibiotics through tiny blood vessels, antibiotics
for sinus infections may be given over a greater period of time than with many other types of infection or
Taking antibiotics for a longer period of time allows the medicine sufficient time to reach the
tiny recesses of the innermost sphenoid sinus cavities. For this reason, sphenoid sinus infections tend to require
longer periods of treatment when using antibiotics.
Causes of Sphenoid Sinus Infection
Sphenoid sinus infections are caused by or exacerbated by the same contributing factors as most
other common types of sinus infection.
The term sphenoid refers to the sinuses located behind the eyes, so sphenoid sinus infection is simply a way of describing which of the sinuses have been infected.
The sphenoid sinuses are not more susceptible to sinus infection than the other sinus cavities,
yet they are deeper in many places and as such are somewhat likelier to harbor lingering infection. Because the
sphenoid sinuses tend to be deep and somewhat isolated, sinus infection may show up in this area first because it
is slower to drain than outlying sinus cavities.
For these same reasons sinus infection left only partially treated may eventually manifest as
localized infection in the deeper tissues of the sinuses.
If you have suffered from any kind of sinus infection in the last several months and then at
some point experience sphenoid sinus infection, chances are that this newer condition occurred when a few lingering
bacteria were allowed to hide out and proliferate in the sphenoid sinuses.
Sphenoid sinus infections are rarer than many other kinds of sinus infection and tend to be
accompanied by severe progressive headaches as one of the chief sinus symptoms. Pain at the crown of the head is
a good indication. Because the sphenoid sinuses are located close to the optic nerves, an acute sphenoid sinus
infection requires specialist care.
When to see an ENT specialist
When sinus infections do not respond to treatment this is usually because of one of two things.
Either the sinus infection is deep and therefore hard to reach with regular durations of antibiotics or the
infection if caused by fungus, called fungal sinus infection or an
allergy rather than the typical bacterial culprits.
In addition to longer bouts of antibiotic treatment, newer classes of broad-spectrum antibiotics can succeed where
other antibiotics fail. These more powerful antibiotics are often called for when chronic sinus infection proves
particularly resistant to commonly prescribed sinus infection antibiotics.
For particularly difficult cases, like many sphenoid sinus infections, seeking the advice and
care of an ear, nose and throat doctor.
ENT specialists are experts in diagnosing and treating all disorder having to do with the neck
and head. If you are not experiencing results from the course of treatment recommended for your sinus infection,
this is a good indication that specialized care is called for.