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Can a Sinus Infection Cause Dizziness and Nausea?

sinus infection cause dizziness and nausea

If you’ve felt acute pain and pressure behind your cheeks and forehead, chances are you’ve had a sinus infection. You might have also experienced other symptoms that didn’t seem related to your sinuses, such as dizziness or nausea. Are those symptoms linked? Read on to find out more about your sinuses, what can cause an infection and what symptoms to look for.

Your Sinuses

Behind the bones of your face are four pairs of air cavities—your sinuses. Their primary role is to produce mucus that helps moisturize the nasal passage and ward off pollutants and microorganisms. Because they’re usually filled with air, sinuses also help to lighten the weight of your skull.

When the sinus tissue becomes irritated or inflamed, the cavities can fill with fluid and blockages can result. Colds, allergies or physical conditions such as polyps or a deviated septum can all create blockages. Sinusitis occurs when the blocked fluid becomes infected as a result of fungal, viral or bacterial colonization.

Symptoms of Sinus Infection

  • Fatigue
  • Bad breath
  • Facial pain and tenderness
  • Dental pain
  • Headaches
  • Nighttime coughing
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

How Does a Sinus Infection Cause Dizziness?

Your sense of balance is linked to your inner ear, which is connected to your sinuses. If your sinuses are blocked and the mucus is not draining away, there can be an increase in pressure on your inner ear. This pressure can create dizziness or lightheadedness.

If you experience dizziness, seek medical treatment to help deal with the congestion. Your doctor might prescribe antibiotics, a decongestant or both, depending on your symptoms and the diagnosis. In addition to the prescribed treatment, you should get plenty of rest. Sitting in a steam-filled room can help to gently ease the congestion.

How Does a Sinus Infection Cause Nausea?

For some people, the dizziness that can be caused by a sinus infection will also trigger nausea. That pressure on the inner ear from the blocked sinuses can create stomach upset. For other people with sinusitis, nausea and upset stomach symptoms can result from the infected mucus draining down the throat into the stomach. In extreme cases, the nausea could be an indication the untreated infection has spread to other parts of the body.

It’s important to clear the sinus congestion as gently and effectively as possible. That means carefully blowing or possibly a nasal rinse. See a medical doctor to get the infection treated. Healing the infection will help the nausea and dizziness symptoms go away.

If symptoms persist for several weeks despite medical treatment, you could be suffering from chronic sinusitis. A more advanced treatment such as balloon sinuplasty may be an option to help you breathe better.

Choose the Expert in Nasal and Sinus Treatment

Dr. Nguyen is a national expert in the treatment of nasal conditions, responsible for perfecting innovative and effective treatments like balloon sinuplasty. At Houston Sinus and Allergy, we utilize the newest technology and our extensive experience to find the best solution for the health of your nose and sinuses.

You can reach us by calling (832) 699-9265, or fill out the form at the top of the page to book an assessment to start feeling better!

  1. My husband suffers a lot from sinus, can you get you sinus removed

    Comment by Ann Thompson on July 14, 2014 at 10:42 am
  2. Hi Ann,

    Thank you very much for the question. There are many approaches to stopping the suffer from sinus. Please contact our clinic or call 832-237-7777 for a more detailed assessment with our doctor. He will discuss with you and your husband about the most appropriate method.

    Hope it helps.

    Comment by Admin on August 13, 2014 at 3:39 pm
  3. Please send information regarding sinusitis.


    Comment by Chiti mumba on July 23, 2014 at 9:27 pm
  4. Hi Chiti,

    Thank you very much for the comment. You can find more information regarding Sinusitis in this page about Sinus Infection.

    If you need more specific information, please feel free to contact our clinic or call us at 832-237-7777

    Hope it helps!

    Comment by Admin on August 13, 2014 at 3:27 pm
  5. I have had chronic sinus infections for the past 4 years. Recently i have been having symptoms of nausea, head aches, major pressure in my sinus, etc. the most debilitating of these is the nausea. last week i had my sinus x-rayed and today my doctor told me that i have a cyst in my sinus and referred me to an ENT specialist.
    is it likely that my nausea is caused by the cyst?

    Comment by Daniel on September 4, 2014 at 7:56 pm
  6. Hi my names Josh I’ve recently just had a cold with a headache my nose was bunged up and my throat felt the same I felt nausea and wasn’t sick and a ticklish caught to go with it, I’ve recently given up smoking. I wonder if there’s any side affects from stopping smoking ???

    Comment by Joshua Jarvis on November 6, 2014 at 3:17 pm
  7. I have a stuffy nose, am on soloan tablets as I also have asthma, and get hayfever, for thefirst time I was feeling so dizzy, and felt tingling on both legs one at a time which reached past my ankles and then went onto my hands like pins and needles one part of the body each time lasted a few minutes on each area, woke up this morning and gosh was sreally unbalanced, and felt nauseated but the nose was not that blocked however I had to use my ,to breath toot never the dizzy part, ears were ok when checked but now irritating a bit no antibiotics given just a nasal spray, I dont fell that much stuffy but the dizziness is still there, even when he pressed around the eyes nose etc it did not hurt as much could it be the sinus that is causing this. when I bend it is worse
    but the doctor did not sk me to bend just close my eyes with hands strected out to check the balance

    Comment by heather on November 20, 2014 at 4:51 am
  8. I have sinus problems. Only, twice a year for at least a couple of weeks; I get dizzy and nausea and throw up, this happens twice a year when the weathwr changes. What can be done? When I get these symptoms I pump up on vitamin c. It seems to take care of it.

    Comment by Lorinda on January 9, 2015 at 11:58 am
  9. I’m having drainage. I always believed it to be my sinuses. But, in the last week, I’ve been gagging at certain smells, and actually vomiting at times. Is that a symptom of a sinus infection?

    Comment by Annie Gramer on January 18, 2015 at 2:23 am
  10. Hi, I have suffered with sinus problems for years.

    From blocked nasal passages to fluid build up in ears, headaches, facial pain, dizziness. Vomiting mucus when collecting or it apppears to go into stomach.

    All not very nice.

    I attend E.N.T. Recently received grommet insertion unnder local anesthetic to help ventilate inner ear, thus behind ear drum, where fluid collects and cant escape. The term called glue ear.

    This grommet will stay situated within ear for approiximately a year. When it will fall out itself and hole in ear drum should close naturally.

    By that time hopefully that would of dried out fluid from inner ear.

    I didnt find operation painful.

    Though in general when i have blocked nasal passage i use steam to open tubes and also kuse sterimar spray. It is sea water all sterile and natural product. Would be able to locate online to order.

    Apparently eating antitoxant food such as red grapes is good for your sinuses.
    Also consuming plenty fluids.

    I find damp wet weather causes more mucus secreetions and it can be chronic,. Thats when you receive a build up of fluids.

    They say it is wise in the winter to keep your mouth and nose covered with a scarf. Possibly temperature and weather changes may obviously cause issues with sinuses i assume.

    You can make up your own saline solution to flush out your nasal passage. Using warm water, rock or sea salt and bicarbonate of soda.

    Think it is half a pint of the water then one tablespoon salt and teaspoonful bicarbonate soda.
    Place some saline on a steaspoon and close one nostral and sniff the saline up other nostral.
    Then blow nose.

    This should help with infection and flush anything out of passage.


    Comment by Alison Dunlop on November 9, 2015 at 4:21 pm
  11. I have had an infected sinus for three months,following a dental extraction.Dentist at first gave me antibiotics,but these fail to work. I have had ordinary sinus problems for years,and take citirizine.But I have never had anything this bad.The smell makes me constantly nauseated,and I vomit almost every morning. I really do not have a clue what to do.
    Two doctors at my Health Centre have given advice.The last one made the problem ten times worse! Does anyone have tried and tested ideas which actually work?

    Comment by Ariane MacLaren on January 4, 2016 at 10:05 am

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