What Are the Different Types of Sinuses?
The term sinuses refers to hollow cavities all connected in the head. There are different types of sinuses that people can experience. Paranasal sinuses are a group of four paired air filled pockets located in the head. The four pairs are:
- Maxillary sinuses
- Frontal sinuses
- Ethmoid sinuses
- Sphenoid sinuses
When you breathe in air, mucus in the sinuses humidifies the air and collects bacteria and pollutants. Tiny hairs lining the sinuses move the mucus (with pollutants) out of the sinus, into your throat. You then swallow the mucus, and your stomach acid destroys the bacteria and pollutants.
Colds, allergies, environmental irritants or other conditions can slow or block natural drainage, and irritate the sinus lining. This, in turn, can lead to swelling, additional blockage, and chronic sinusitis. Sinusitis is a common condition that afflicts over 35 million Americans every year.
In healthy sinuses, mucus drains out and air is able to circulate. Sinusitis describes a swelling (inflammation) of the sinuses that can lead to blockages and prevent mucous from draining properly. This can lead to infection.