NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Are you feeling stuffed up or congested? It could be the typical cold or flu, or these symptoms could also be signs of a chronic problem.
It didn't matter how many times Bridgette Walsh reached for the tissues, her nose was constantly stuffed.
"It would start with a scratchy throat. I was constantly swallowing, trying to clear my throat. I would take Sudafed. It would clear up. It would come back," she said. "It got to the point where my ears hurt. I thought I had a toothache so I went to the dentist and I felt like the whole right side of my face would throb with pain."
That's when Walsh decided to seek help instead of reaching for another dose of decongestant.
Dr. Ryan Duncan with Heritage Medical Associates said patients like Walsh can suffer for years, often times not realizing they're dealing with chronic sinusitis.
"If you give a hard number it is 12 weeks of symptoms that can be anything from headache, sinus pressure, and drainage," he siad, "The typical patient will have been on multiple rounds of antibiotics. They're going to be on nasal sprays or nasal rinses."
According to Dr. Duncan, one in eight adults are affected by the condition.
Now, he's using a new, FDA-approved device called PROPEL to help clear airways. The spring-like stent expands to prop open the sinus and delivers medication with anti-inflammatory properties right into the sinus lining. It then dissolves into the body.
At first Walsh said the thought of getting a stent inserted into her nose was daunting but now insists, ever since the surgery, she breaths easy.