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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.
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.
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.
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.
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) 237-7777, or fill out the form at the top of the page to book an assessment to start feeling better!