Refractory Sinusitis

What Is Refractory Sinusitis?

Refractory sinusitis is a rare and severe type of infection that affects the upper respiratory tract. It is considered to be a “refractory” condition because it does not respond to conventional, conservative treatments. This can cause distress and pain, and the symptoms may last for weeks or months. It is important for people to understand the signs and symptoms of refractory sinusitis and when to seek medical attention.

Signs and Symptoms of Refractory Sinusitis

Refractory sinusitis can cause several signs and symptoms, which include:

  • Persistent sinus pressure
  • Facial tenderness and pain
  • Headache
  • Bad breath
  • Decreased sense of smell
  • Sore throat
  • Nasal congestion
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Fever

Causes of Refractory Sinusitis

The exact cause of refractory sinusitis is not known. It is believed to be a result of a combination of factors, including:

  • Chronic inflammation of the nasal passages
  • Bacterial or fungal infection of the sinuses
  • Structural abnormalities of the sinuses
  • Immune system disorders, such as allergies
  • Certain medications or environmental factors
  • Deviated septum


If your doctor suspects you may have refractory sinusitis, they will do a physical exam and check your medical history. They will also use various imaging techniques, such as an x-ray or CT scan, to diagnose refractory sinusitis. Blood and mucus tests may also be conducted to rule out other conditions and to detect any presence of a bacterial or fungal infection.


Treatment for refractory sinusitis focuses on managing the symptoms and promoting a healthy environment in the sinuses. Options may include medications, such as antibiotics and steroids. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to improve the airflow in the sinuses or to repair structural defects. There is no cure for refractory sinusitis, so it is important to continue using the recommended treatments until the condition improves.