Sinus Anatomy : What are Sinuses, Types and their Functions?

Sinus Anatomy – Inside view

What Are Sinuses?

You must have heard the word ‘sinuses many times – sinus congestion, sinus infection, sinusitis, sinus pain, sinus rinse etc. But have you ever wondered what really are these sinuses and why are they so important? Well, most of the times we notice sinuses are when they are infected. But infected or not, sinuses are extremely important. Let’s try to understand sinus and its anatomy here.

Do you know that your nose is actually the gateway to your sinuses? Nostrils are the first walkway into your nose in the direction of the sinuses. The air and other particles enter through this way. The partition between that divides the nose in half is called the septum. The nasal cavities inside the nose contain the entry to the sinuses.


Sinus Anatomy – Four Pairs of Sinuses

Sinus Anatomy – Four Pairs of Sinuses

Human beings have four pairs of sinuses. Around 10% don’t develop frontal sinuses. However, this does not have any impact on their health and usual activities. Let’s now talk about the first pair of sinuses located in the nasal cavities. Known as maxillary sinuses, they are placed behind the cheekbones, going underneath the eyes up to the upper teeth. The pressure in the sinuses resulting in a severe toothache is the consequence of the maxillary sinuses.

Moving on to the next pair – ethmoid sinuses, which are placed between the eyes. They are crucial for the healthy and proper sinus function. The frontal and maxillary sinuses both rely upon depleting through the ethmoid sinuses first before entering the nose, so the ethmoid sinuses must be working well to avoid blockages in different sinuses.

Next, we shall focus on the frontal sinuses, which are behind your temple. Lastly, there are sphenoid sinuses behind your nose. They are found quite deep inside the skull where the eyes and brain meet.

The mucus must go through the ostia to get into the sinuses. The ostia usually remain open so that air and mucus can have a free entry. But in case of infection or allergy, it gets blocked leading to inflammation. After the ostia, bodily fluid should likewise traverse the limited path called the ostiomeatal complex (OMC) before finally entering the sinus cavity. At the point when the OMC ends up blocked, air and bodily fluid can’t enter the sinuses.


Sinus Anatomy – Inside view

Sinus Anatomy – Inside view

Since you know the distinctive sinuses and parts of the nose and where they are found, how about we examine what’s inside the sinus pits. The dividers of the sinuses are secured with bodily fluid discharging organs that are in charge of delivering bodily fluid. Bodily fluid lines within the sinuses and is critical for catching microorganisms and outside particles that have entered through your nostrils.

The coating of the sinuses additionally contains cilia—small hairs—that move bodily fluid and particles into the nose to be depleted. Plainly, bodily fluid and cilia are both crucial for remaining sound and dodging the advancement of contamination from undesirable components.

sinus inside view

Now that you are clear about different sinuses and their location, we would now talk about the insides of sinus cavities. Mucus-secreting glands, responsible for making mucus cover the walls of the sinuses. Sinuses are lined by mucus inside.

They are very crucial for confining foreign particles and bacteria that enter the body via the nostrils. The sinus lining also has tiny hairs, called cilia. They help in moving the particles as well as mucus in the nose to be drained. Both mucus and cilia are of utmost importance as they hamper the growth of infection from unwanted particles.

Have you ever given a thought as to how much mucus you produce every single day? With completely health sinuses, you produce about eight ounces of mucus every day! In case you are wondering why don’t you notice that the reason lies in the mucus? Healthy mucus is thin as well as watery in texture. When you fall sick or are dehydrated, it gets unpleasant and thicker.


Sinus and Pain

Sinus and Pain

Let us now have a look at the different symptoms that are associated with various sinus areas:

  • Maxillary – Characterized by pain on the cheeks below the eyes, toothache, and headache
  • Frontal – Distinctive headache over the forehead
  • Ethmoid – The pain is felt between and behind the eyes, splitting headache, tearing and pain over the forehead
  • Sphenoid – Unlike other sinuses, this pain usually does not occur in defined areas. However, it can be felt at the back or in the front of the head.

The thing with sinusitis is that no matter which part of the body is affected, it is going to make the patient feel very unwell. But now that you are clear about the anatomy of sinuses, you will have a fair idea of what is going inside your body and sinuses in case of an infection.

If the sinus symptoms last more than a week with high fever and intense pain, visit your doctor at the earliest for a timely treatment.

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