People with sinus problems often require antibiotics because a bacterial infection makes their sinus symptoms worse. In patients who undergo endoscopic sinus surgery for long-standing sinus problems, antibiotics are frequently prescribed after surgery. However, due to the concerns about antibiotic over-use and bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, scientists have started to question this historical norm.
Researchers at Harvard recently looked at patients with chronic sinus problems who underwent endoscopic sinus surgery. During surgery, if there was no evidence of infection (which means there is not an acute bacterial infection), then patients either got antibiotics (Augmentin) or no antibiotics. The researchers found there was no differences between the two groups after surgery, but patients who received antibiotics after surgery were more likely to have side effects like upset stomach and diarrhea.
How can this be? While infection is an important reason for sinus problems, not all sinus problems are related to infection. There are a lot of other factors that play into your sinus disease, which cause inflammation, and in turn, cause the symptoms of chronic sinus problems.
Are you going to have sinus surgery in the near future? Talk to your surgeon to see if post-operative antibiotics are necessary for you!