Sinusitis and Halitosis

A young woman suffers from sinusitis and halitosis.

Regarding sinus infections, there are many ways they can affect your life on a day-to-day basis, from not being able to sleep at night to the relationship between sinus infections and toothache. Unfortunately, as far as infections go, healthy sinuses are an vital part of maintaining a healthy body. Today, however, we’re investigating the relationship between sinus infections and bad breath, or in medical terms, ‘halitosis. As we know, a sinus infection is some form of inflammation within the soft tissues lining the sinuses. As a result of the inflammation, drainage can be blocked and prevented while many other issues can also arise. How does  are sinusitis and halitosis correlated? In truth, there are two reasons why this may occur.

What’s the Link Between Sinusitis and Halitosis

Cause #1: Dry Mouth

Firstly, colds and sinus infections clog up the nose, thus drying out our mouths. When we can’t breathe through our noses, we’re forced to open our mouths more often, and we can’t produce enough saliva to keep up. With a lack of moisture in the mouth, we have no saliva to fight off bacteria, which begins to build. Over time, this impacts on our breath (and all those around us too!).

The Solution

If this is something you’re experiencing right now, the first step we recommend taking is brushing your teeth two or even three times per day. As long as you use a fluoride toothpaste, this can help to freshen your breath. In addition to this, you should drink plenty of water since that’ll keep your mouth moist and it should encourage more saliva to fight off bacteria and prevent it from building.

However, these are only a short-term solutions, so we then recommend visiting your doctor; they’re likely to refer you to an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist. From here, they can get to work resolving the root cause of the bad breath which will be the sinus infection.

A young woman is feeling the effects of sinusitis and halitosis.

When your sinuses are infected, mucus build-up in the back of your throat can case bad breath. We’ve included some tips for you in combating sinusitis and halitosis.

Cause #2: Post-Nasal Drip

Whenever a sinus infection occurs, excess mucus is often produced and, considering it cannot efficiently drain, it usually accumulates towards the back of the nose and in the throat. In case you didn’t know, the end of the tongue rests in the throat, which is where the mucus will gather. When your sinuses are healthy, this build-up can be expelled when you blow your nose. With the mucus combining with bacteria and the air coming in through the mouth, leading to bad breath. As you can probably imagine, mucus doesn’t smell great at the best of times but this combination makes it even worse.

Although the two causes are very similar, they occur in different parts of the mouth, linking sinusitis and halitosis. Interestingly, the building blocks of the protein found in dairy foods, methionine, is actually the same as those found in mucus. If you’ve ever noticed bad breath and a build-up of phlegm after consuming more than your usual amount of cheese or milk, this is why.

Just to make the problem worse, those of you that still have your tonsils will experience bad breathe (with sinus infections) more than most because the tonsils often harbor bacteria. Over time, they can also trap post-nasal drip and the mucus settles in the crevices. If not treated sufficiently, this is how tonsil stones form which are, quite literally, areas of hardened mucus. With all these factors playing a role, it leaves the patient with halitosis.

The Solution

With post-nasal drip, there are several treatment options the doctor and ENT specialist could explore. Firstly, they’re likely to start with primary treatments such as nasal sinus drops. Not only will this improve the odor emanating from your mouth, but it’ll also get into the hard-to-reach areas otherwise not accessible. From here, various medicines can be used to treat the actual sinus infection.

If the issue is severe enough, the quickest and most efficient solution could be balloon sinuplasty. As a minimally-invasive procedure, this involves a tiny balloon that is sent into the nose attached to a small camera so the specialist can direct it carefully. As soon as it’s in the nasal passage, the balloon is inflated and this restructures the area. While medication gets to work on the inflammation, the balloon sinuplasty can improve drainage thus reducing the side effects that come with sinus infections.

If you’ve had sinusitis and halitosis for a considerable amount of time, along with a blocked nose or trouble with sinuses, feel free to take a trip to your doctor because it might be something more than a common cold.

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Sinus Toothache: Causes and Symptoms

A man with sinus toothache holds his cheek in pain.

If you’ve ever had a toothache or perhaps you’re suffering from a toothache right now, your dentist will always ask you about your symptoms and assessing the issue. At first, you might wonder why they ask simple questions when your tooth is hurting, but it’s because they’re trying to find out if the tooth hurts due to a dental issue, or if it is a sinus toothache. Sinus infections have many side effects, and tooth pain is another to add to the list.

Causes of a Sinus Toothache

Found above the very back teeth, we have what we call the ‘maxillary sinuses.’ When these are infected, there is inflammation in the area, causing extra pressure in their mouth. Since maxillary sinuses are located beneath the cheeks, there’s a crossover point between them and the roots of your upper back molars, premolars, and more. Since you’ll feel pain in your teeth, it’s easy to confuse sinusitis with an actual dental problem.

When bacteria infect the upper teeth, it commonly spreads down to the maxillary sinuses.  Now you might be wondering how the two health conditions can be distinguished. Without seeing a professional, the source of tooth pain can be tricky to diagnose. However, there are three main symptoms of a sinus toothache.

Symptoms

Firstly, the most obvious symptom is the pain and aching sensation you’ll feel in and around your teeth. If you have allergies, this aching can lead to pain in the molars as well as increased sensitivity when eating something hot/cold. When looking for the difference, check to see if you have mucus buildup in your nose. A dental issue shouldn’t create mucus buildup. When the upper molars are affected, it’s typically caused by a mucus buildup plugging up the sinuses.

Secondly, you might experience pressure within the sinuses, across your face, or even in your head.  An infection in the maxillary sinuses will cause this pressure to build as the issue worsens and spreads into the roots of your teeth. When this happens, we mistake it for a problem with our teeth when it is actually a side effect of the original issue.

Since a sinus infection causes this type of toothache, patients might experience dry mouth and sometimes even a dry throat. Although you might think saliva is a trivial part of oral health, it actually prevents bacteria from building in the mouth. Unfortunately, allergies for those with sinusitis can cause a lack of saliva, creating a dry mouth.  Without saliva, bacteria can grow easily.

With these three major symptoms, you may also experience some smaller issues such as cheek sensitivity, swollen gums, facial swelling, a runny nose, and a headache.  Some people find their energy drains much faster, which leads to fatigue earlier in the day.

A cross section of a tooth, showing gums. Irritation of the gums by lack of saliva and post nasal drip causes sinus toothache.

Sinus tootache is usually caused by problems with the surrounding gum tissue, not because of tooth decay.

Finding Relief

To finish, we’ll offer a little advice to those struggling with a sinus toothache.  The first step is to drink plenty of fluids to cope with dry mouth. Fluids can help saliva production, preventing the buildup of bacteria and preventing the issue from worsening.

After drinking fluids, we then recommend talking to your doctor/dentist depending on where you think the pain originates. If you’ve had a sinus infection previously and you feel your sinuses acting up, you should see the doctor first.  They’ll be able to provide you with advice. For starters, they’ll have you take over-the-counter decongestants. After taking these, you should see sinus pressure start to disappear, which is the first step to recovery.

If you’re already experiencing pressure in the sinuses, these medicines may take some days to work, but your doctor should advise you on this. With some, they’ll also recommend a decongestant spray, and these can work a little faster if you’re having trouble sleeping or concentrating at work.

With a sinus toothache, the best solution will always be to fight the infection first rather than treating the tooth pain in isolation. Your doctor will always look to address the issue causing all the other side effects, and this means dealing with the sinus infection.

If you need home remedies to relieve the pain in the short-term, many people like turmeric paste, Oregon grape root tincture, and sometimes even garlic; a simple search online will bring up plenty of recipes!

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Sinusitis During Pregnancy: Precautions and Tips

A pregnant woman sits in bed, holding her nose, experiencing sinusitis during pregnancy.

During pregnancy, it’s important to eat healthily and avoid bad habits like smoking to keep our babies healthy and safe. However, there are some things we can’t avoid, and this includes sinus infections. At the best of times, sinusitis is common in both men and women across the US. However, women are two to three times more susceptible to sinusitis during pregnancy.

If we look at the second and third months of pregnancy, in particular, one in five women experience runny noses, leading to tenderness in the face, coughing, aching in the jaw, nasal congestion, puffy eyes, and all the other symptoms that typically accompany sinusitis. In some, there’ll be a mild fever, and we recommend going to see a doctor if you’re coughing up strangely-colored mucus, you can’t sleep or eat properly, or you have a fever above 101 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sinusitis During Pregnancy: Precautions to Take

The First Steps

After getting in contact with your doctor, they’ll listen to the symptoms and might be able to diagnose the issue going on this information alone. In the majority of cases, they’ll want to avoid the typical tests such as x-rays and CT scans because they can cause radiation for the baby – this has obvious dangers moving forward.

While taking over-the-counter medication seems harmless during pregnancy, we highly recommend talking to a medical professional first. We’re going to discuss more on medication in just a moment so stay tuned. With a runny nose and inflammation within the nasal passage, there’s a danger that it’ll turn into something more serious too and this includes pneumonia. Therefore, treatment is essential.

An expecting mother leans on some pillows in bed, holding her nose. She is experiencing the symptoms of sinusitis during pregnancy.

Expecting mothers are encouraged to consult a doctor before taking any medication for sinusitis during pregnancy, in order to keep the baby healthy and safe. Natural remedies have also proven to be effective and safe alternatives to over-the-counter sinusitis treatment options.

Safe Medications and Natural Remedies

Medication

Typically, Cefzil and amoxicillin-clavulanate will be used to treat sinusitis during pregnancy, as well as Tylenol which has been given the green light for use with pregnant women. Over time, these should reduce the symptoms, alleviate headaches, and make it easier for you to sleep at night. As long as the dosage is limited and the doctor has considered your situation carefully, antihistamines, decongestants, cough suppressants, and expectorants are also safe for pregnant women. Concerning dosage and duration, your doctor will decide this, and you’ll have to pay close attention to your body and your baby.

For cases of sinusitis during pregnancy, you should NEVER take ibuprofen or aspirin because these are unsafe for you and your baby. At all times, we recommend a simple conversation with your doctor, and they’ll provide you with their favorite solutions along with knowledge of which will have the greatest impact on your position. For some physicians, they prefer to avoid all medication and use natural remedies instead.

Natural Remedies

Nowadays, there are numerous safe remedies you can try at home, and some mothers swear by these solutions. Here are a few easy solutions mothers recommend to make the symptoms of sinusitis during pregnancy a bit more bearable.

  • After taking one cup of warm water, combine this with a small pinch each of baking soda and salt. When combined, this makes for an effective saline nasal drop which you can apply once or twice a day.
  • Throughout the day, be sure to drink as much water as possible as hydration is very much the key to fighting infection and clearing a stuffy nose. If possible, we also recommend citrus juice and broth.
  • Rather than letting the nasal passages get dry at night, use a humidifier in your bedroom, and this should also help to loosen the mucus within your chest. If you want a traditional home remedy, boil some water in a pan and take it off the stove. After placing a towel over your head, breathe in the steam to loosen the mucus and open the nasal passages once again.
  • During pregnancy, we understand how your appetite can fall by the wayside, but it’s important you continue eating regularly. If you’re struggling to maintain a regular eating schedule, try eating smaller meals throughout the day as opposed to three larger meals. With fruit and vegetables making it into your diet, you consume nutrients and keep your body healthy.

Finally, here are some more simple tips that should help you to fight sinusitis during pregnancy. Firstly, a good nights’ sleep will boost your immune system while sucking on ice is said to help your throat and prevent coughing. Also, try drinking warm water with honey and lemon or simply gargling with salt water. With these solutions, you just might get some sleep and limit the symptoms of sinusitis!

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Why Do Sinus Infections Worsen at Night?

A man is lying in bed, holding his nose with a tissue, because sinus infections worsen at night.

If you’ve ever had sinus infections or maybe you’re experiencing the issue right now, you’ll know just how problematic they can be. With a cough, headache, potential loss of hearing and taste and more, it can be tough to get through the day. However, sinus infections worsen at night, and for those who thought it was all in their head, don’t panic because this isn’t a myth.

Even when the symptoms seem to be getting better during the day, everything seems to change when the lights go out, and your head hits the pillow but why is this the case? Today, we’re going to look into a couple of reasons as to why this could be happening as well as some solutions that might work the next time you’re staring at the wall frustrated to the core.

What Makes Sinus Infections Worsen at Night?

Changes in Blood Flow

Firstly, some experts believe a change in blood flow can increase inflammation. Compared to sitting or standing, blood can remain in the upper body for a longer period when laying down, so there’s a change in blood pressure and regulation. Furthermore, gravity can also play a role because the blood vessels within the sinuses can compress as gravity pulls on the internal tissues. As the tissues swell, this exacerbates the symptoms of the sinus infection.

A Perception Issue

Throughout the day, we’re always doing something whether it’s focusing at work, walking around the town, cooking dinner, talking to family, or even watching the TV. As soon as we go to bed, the only thing we tend to focus on are the things preventing us from going to sleep, and this includes the symptoms of sinus infections. Often, the symptoms don’t really worsen, but they seem more unbearable since there are fewer distractions from these symptoms at night.

Of course, the same applies to other medical ailments such as a headache or a cough. During the day, our busy lives hide the fact we have either, and this allows us to get on with the day while focusing on other things. Once it’s bedtime, you suddenly have nothing else to focus on, and your sinus infection gets put in the spotlight.

A young woman appears to sleepless at night, discovering that sinus infections worsen at night.

To help with sinus infections that worsen at night, try propping your head up on some pillows. Elevating your head decreases postnasal drip and other symptoms of sinusitis that give you discomfort at night.

The Law of Gravity

If we return to the magic of gravity again, everything in our body is pulling downwards when sitting upright or standing. If mucus were to drip down the throat, it would fall straight down the esophagus, and the efficient drainage system we have will be working as normal. Sadly, we can’t switch off gravity when we go to bed which means the mucus isn’t being pulled down your body anymore.

Effectively, it’s actually being pulled sideways which can cause a pooling at the back of your throat. Over time, postnasal drip worsens the symptoms of sinus infections.

How to Cope With a Sinus Infection at Night

Now we know the top three reasons why sinus infections worsen at night, what can you do about it moving forward? In our bedrooms, the air tends to be rather dry, making your symptoms worse. We recommend a humidifier to relieve nasal dryness. After this, we also recommend over-the-counter decongestants because these are likely to have some effect. If your problem is more severe, you should seek a professional diagnosis.

For more severe sinus infections, we recommend propping your head a little higher with pillows. Elevating your head allows for more efficient drainage without having to sit upright all through the night and ruin your back. If you have pets, keep these away from your room too because pet hair and allergens can make your symptoms a little worse; especially if you have even minor allergies.

If you like a glass of wine before bed or have been told it helps, forget it because the opposite is true. With all alcohol, it will make you feel congested, and this is particularly the case for wine. Furthermore, try to avoid caffeine in the last couple of hours before bed, keep the nasal passages moist with spray, take an antihistamine, keep your room cool, and don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor.

If you’ve been wondering why sinus infections worsen at night, you should now have the answer and methods you can try to combat the problem. If you know other sinus infection patients, feel free to show them this guide too so we can spread the message!

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The Link Between Obesity and Sinusitis

A doctor measures an overweight man's waist. Obesity and sinusitis, when both present, can create a negative spiral of symptoms.

Sinusitis one of the most common issues people tend to experience in the US and as well as worldwide. However, it’s still an incredibly unique health problem, and this is because the term covers numerous causes. Since the word ‘sinusitis’ encompasses any inflammation of the sinus lining, the many causes of the problem make the issue unique from one person to the next. Patients often have the same symptoms as well as habits and lifestyle choices that exacerbate the symptoms of sinusitis. For example, smoking can be extremely damaging to sinus linings – nicotine smoke entering the nasal passages will undo all of your doctor’s good work and will cause even more inflammation. Furthermore, there has also been a link between obesity and sinusitis in recent years too. Regarding science, there hasn’t been too much in the way of linking the two as causes but one exacerbates the other, and it ends up in a negative spiral of events.

How Are Obesity and Sinusitis Connected?

Excess Weight

With sinusitis, we know that the symptoms include pressure in the sinuses as well as a sore throat and cough. Unfortunately, excess weight around the neck will put more pressure on the throat and the sinuses. When trying to sleep especially, the airways are restricted which leads to more coughing, less sleep, and so on. If not treated correctly, those who are overweight can have a terrible time with sinusitis.

Lack of Sleep

Even with the healthiest people on the planet, a lack of sleep leads to increased hunger the next day. Thanks to extensive research at the Center for Sleep and Human Performance, we know that cutting sleep short affects our appetites. Two main hormones affect our appetites: ghrelin and leptin. While ghrelin is responsible for making us hungry, leptin suppresses hunger.

If we sleep for just four hours, the levels of leptin reduce while the ghrelin levels increase, leading to increased hunger the next day. Since we know sinusitis can interfere with your sleep quality, overeating can cause weight gain, and obesity contributes to the lack of sleep due to the restricted airways, this cycle repeats itself every single day. When somebody suffers from these two issues, it can be devastating if not managed effectively and this is why professional assistance is so critical.

A young man holds his nose in pain due to sinusitis, which can be worsened by obesity.

Eating the right foods – high-fiber and low sugar foods such as dark leafy greens, nuts, and fish – can greatly improve the adverse side effects of both sinusitis and obesity.

Eating Habits

Sadly, the Western diet is somewhat disappointing, and it seems to have gotten worse over the years. Nowadays, we eat foods that are high in fat, high in sugar, and low in fiber which all contribute to weight gain. If we couple this with a sedentary lifestyle, far more calories are consumed than burned, leading to excessive amounts of fat storage.

For sinusitis patients, it’s also bad news because our eating habits can impact inflammation, which is why doctors often worry about those who are a little overweight. For example, processed sugar can be found everywhere in supermarkets now, whether it’s chocolate bars or desserts (and even sodas). With processed sugars high in glycemic load, our insulin levels increase, and blood glucose levels decrease. Over time, this encourages inflammation and worsens the symptoms of sinusitis.

Foods that contain significant amounts of saturated fats (these are common in our diets these days, just like processed sugars) can trigger inflammation within the tissues and muscles in the neck and nasal passage (as well as everywhere else in the body). Finally, refined carbohydrates will cause a quick boost to the blood sugar levels which requires the pancreas to produce insulin. Once the pancreas loses control and can’t quite provide enough insulin to make a difference, sinus inflammation worsens and risk of diabetes increases.

A Vicious Cycle

Unfortunately, the biggest issue with obesity and sinusitis is that the adverse effects often come around for a second, third, and fourth bite; this causes a vicious cycle. If you are obese, you’ll need to be aware of your sinuses and take note of any symptoms of sinusitis you experience. If you have sinusitis, we urge you to eat healthily. The right foods will fight inflammation rather than encourage it, including nuts, fatty fish, some fruits, green leafy vegetables, and more!

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Are Sinus Infections Contagious?

A woman is holding a tissue to her nose, sitting in her car. Depending on what the cause of her sinus infection was, it may or may not be contagious.

If you’re currently experiencing a sinus infection, there’s probably one question that springs to mind before any other; are sinus infections contagious? Often, we worry about passing the infection on to others and potentially putting them through the pain and discomfort we’re currently enduring. As strange as it sounds, the best answer we can provide is ‘it depends’. Today, we’re going to explain exactly why this is the case.

Overview

Otherwise known as sinusitis, a sinus infection is one that causes inflammation within the lining of the sinuses. The reason why your infection will sometimes be contagious and other times completely safe comes from the term ‘sinus infection’ itself. Rather than describing a specific cause, the term describes a common issue that can have numerous causes. Since the term ‘sinus infection’ simply describes the infection, the only way to know whether it’s contagious is to get to the root cause of the issue.

Bacterial Sinus Infections

If your sinus infection is caused by bacteria, this often comes after a viral upper respiratory infection, the problem can be quite damaging in the short-term. With blocked sinuses full of mucus, these problems normally last for more than two weeks. However, it will not be contagious at any point which means you don’t need to worry about passing it on to family members. In terms of the bacteria itself, the most common examples include haemophilus influenza and streptococcus pneumonia.

A woman dressed in a thick sweater and beanie sneezes into a tissue. Viral sinus infections can be contagious.

Viral sinus infections, often correlated with upper respiratory infections and colds, can be contagious.

Viral Sinus Infections

When asking the question, “Are sinus infections contagious?” it’s important to always consider the cause of the infection.  The majority of sinus infections are caused by a virus.  These types of infections are contagious and can be spread in a number of different ways.  At this point, we should point out that it’s the virus you spread to others as opposed to the infection. After coming in direct contact with you as you experience a viral sinus infection, people are at an increased risk of getting sick but they won’t necessarily get the infection. Most of the time, they cause colds in others as opposes to the infection.

All things considered, hand contact is the most common reason for spreading viruses and this is because we use our hands to touch our face, prepare food, bite our nails, and they act as the transmitters between viruses and our body. Unless we happen to wash our hands with hand sanitizer after touching hands with everyone, it can be very tough to avoid getting sick after contact.

In addition to this, the air droplets produced from coughing and blowing the nose also cause issues. If you touch an item contaminated by the virus and then touch your face, eyes, or nose, the virus will find it easy to enter your own body. For children, their immune system is a little weaker which is why these types of problems spread around a school very quickly.

Other Sources of Sinus Infections

As we know, sinus infections can also be caused by polyps, allergies, a deviated septum, and more so we highly advise receiving medical attention if you don’t know what’s causing your infection. Since they have the equipment and tests to get to the bottom of the problem, this can prevent unnecessary spreading and the right treatment moving forward.

Preventing Spreading

If you have a sinus infection or know of someone who has, make sure you/they know the cause before proceeding. If viral, there are some steps you can take to eliminate the risk of spreading infections.

Firstly, hand hygiene is important along with vaccination, staying inside when ill, and face masks. Throughout the day, you should be washing your hands with hot soapy water and this will keep the risk of spreading to a minimum. If your child has a viral sinus infection, we recommend keeping them from school as it is almost guaranteed to spread to at least one other child. As an adult, you might also consider staying home from work or else feeling the wrath of the boss as colleagues are forced to call in sick.

Summary

If you have a sinus infection, the priority should be finding the cause of the problem. If not viral, you aren’t going to feel great but at least your loved ones can look after you without worrying about picking up the issue themselves. If viral, the correct steps can be taken to prevent spreading and to treat the infection so you aren’t out of commission for too long.

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Is It a Sinus Headache or a Migraine?

A woman is suffering from a sinus headache. She holds her nose, unable to resume her office work because of the pain.

When it comes to sinusitis, there are some common symptoms and changes to your body that occur. For example, a sinus headache is an extremely common complaint within the US population. For most, it can lead to pressure within the sinuses, congestion in the nasal passage, and, of course, an aching sensation within the head.

Today, we tend to have a number of different medications that can be bought over-the-counter and this reinforces the belief that the issue is common and something that can be easily treated. Despite this, sinus headaches are not actually common and we know this thanks to a recent study entitled ‘American Migraine Study II’. Within this study, there were 30,000 people taking part and only half of the people diagnosed with a migraine were actually aware they were experiencing migraines. For the other half, they fell into the trap of thinking they were experiencing sinus headaches instead.

A woman is experiencing pain in her nose and forehead due to a sinus headache.

Is it a sinus headache or a migraine? Sometimes it’s hard to tell, so talk to your doctor to receive diagnoses and proper treatment.

What Is a Real Sinus Headache?

With misdiagnosis relatively common these days, you might be surprised to hear that ‘real’ sinus headaches aren’t actually all that common. Sometimes known as ‘rhinosinusitis’, this form of headache is rare and can be characterized by a change in the ability to smell, thick nasal discharge, a fever, and pressure within the sinuses. Often, this is led by a virus of some sort or even a bacterial infection which means that the issue should resolve itself within a week (as long as your doctor prescribes antibiotics and other appropriate medications).

In a different study with 3,000 participants, the blurred lines between a migraine and a sinus headache were highlighted and the results were quite shocking. Prior to the study, the participants had six or more ’sinus headaches’ within six months. At this point, they had never been diagnosed with migraines nor had they been treated for the condition.

Of 3,000 people, a whopping 80% (2,400 people) were found to be suffering from migraines as opposed to sinus headaches. For the scientists in control of the study, they used the International Classification of Headache Disorders to differentiate between the two problems. In addition to the nasal congestion, facial pain, and headache symptoms that seem to be common for both issues, participants also reported the following:

• Sensitivity to noise and/or light
• Throbbing or pulsing in the head
• Nausea
• Increased symptoms after certain activities
• Headache urging on ‘severe’ pain

Up until the study revealed their true health, many participants were taking medications bought over-the-counter or prescriptions designed to help with sinus headaches. Of course, a high percentage of these people noted how the medication wasn’t providing results and this is because they actually had migraines that were causing the sinus issues. Often, this is where the confusion comes in because people assume migraines can’t cause nasal congestion or watery eyes but they can (and do!).

The Difference

As the patient, you need to ask yourself a couple of questions to get to the bottom of the problem. Namely, are your headaches causing you to miss work, school, or any section of your life? After this, you need to consider whether the headaches cause a sensitivity to light and whether you get nausea with the headaches. According to an ID Migraine Questionnaire, your issue is 93% likely to be a migraine if you experience two of these three criteria. If you can relate to all three, it’s 98% likely to be migraines so this is a fantastic indicator.

Conclusion

All things considered, having nasal symptoms doesn’t automatically mean that you’re experiencing a sinus headache. With these symptoms also possible with migraines, we urge you to look a little deeper at sensitivity to light and sound, your ability to function during a typical day, whether you experience nausea, stress, sensitivity to changes in the weather, and more.

If you feel as though your problem could be migraine-related, feel free to ask your doctor whether migraine medication would be more appropriate for your situation. For the next two or three headaches, you can try this new medication to see whether or not it’s more effective than the sinus headache medication. In some cases, your doctor may recommend a CT scan so they can rule out any sinus issues including sinus disease.

Once the correct diagnosis is given, you can be happy and confident in the treatment you’re receiving. With this, your life can return to normal and your days don’t have to be affected by a burdening migraine!
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Sinusitis Can Cause Loss of Smell and Taste

A graphic depicting the five senses, pointing to the loss of smell and taste associated with sinusitis.

According to statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, around 12% of all American adults suffer with sinusitis which equates to over 30 million people. If you haven’t heard of the term previously, it actually refers to inflammation within the sinuses and the main symptoms include a plugged nose, thick nasal mucus, sore throat, headaches, and a cough (which normally gets worse at night). However, there’s also another symptom that can come from sinusitis; loss of smell and taste.

Anosmia

Even if you were born with a fully-functioning sense of smell, you may have experienced some degree of anosmia in your life because we have all suffered from the common cold. When you feel under the weather, you might lose your sense of smell for a few days. Since many of the senses are linked in some way, we also tend to lose our sense of taste too. While anosmia caused by a cold is just a temporary issue, unfortunately some have this problem more permanently as a result of sinusitis.

If you have inflammation within the sinuses and this leads to a loss of smell and taste, you will need to inform your doctor. After the first point of contact, they’ll use special devices to look inside your nasal passage (so long as the issue is not attributed to a common cold or flu). First and foremost, they’ll be looking for nasal polyps to see if this is impairing your sense of smell. If they can’t find any issues, you could then be referred to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist who will have more equipment and tests to get to the root of the problem. For example, a CT scan will show the professionals a full picture of your sinuses and any abnormalities can be picked up very quickly.

An older lady smell a rose. Loss of smell and taste can be recovered through different types of treatment.

If you suffer from a loss of smell and taste as a result of sinusitis, there are many treatment options to choose from to regain these senses.

Treatment for the Loss of Smell and Taste

If the doctor finds nasal congestion due to an allergy or cold that hasn’t quite formed (or disappeared) yet, there is very little they can do to help. Over time, the issue will develop and the body will act to remove it and this will return your sense of smell and taste. If you’re having trouble breathing, they may recommend decongestants which can be bought over-the-counter whenever needed. If the problem gets worse and you’re worrying it might be something more serious, you should return to the doctor. After making another assessment and running more tests, they might spot an infection which can be treated with antibiotics. If not this, there could be another medical condition at fault.

If you have nasal polyps, which are small swellings inside the nasal passage, you might be asked to undergo endoscopic sinus surgery. Often performed under general anesthetic, a small endoscope will run through your nostrils and into the nasal passage; this is a thin tube with a tiny camera on the end. From here, they can take action against the nasal polyps and the problem should be removed which will bring back your sense of smell and taste.

At times, some people feel as though their medication is actually disturbing the senses so this is another avenue that could be investigated if you feel it’s necessary. Of course, you should never stop taking medication until you talk to your doctor but they might provide other solutions that will allow you to recover after the loss of smell and taste.

On rare occasions, the loss of smell and taste can actually remedy itself spontaneously but this doesn’t happen too often.  It might suggest a light issue such as a cold or flu. With so many different causes and treatments, it’s vital you see a doctor as soon as you notice the issue arising. Even if you’re already being treated for nasal polyps or any other issues, you should still inform the specialist so they know the situation has changed. From here, they may adjust your treatment plan or suggest different medication.

Sinusitis

With sinusitis itself, this could actually be caused by a number of conditions. Although we’ve focused quite heavily on nasal polyps, you and your doctor should investigate a deviated nasal septum, extreme allergies including hay fever, respiratory tract infections, and complications of other health conditions such as HIV, cystic fibrosis, and gastroesophageal reflux. As long as you have a medical professional by your side, you know your best interests are always at the center of all decisions!

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What to Expect During Recovery After Balloon Sinuplasty

Tiles that spell out recovery, to suggest recover after balloon sinuplasty and other related procedures.

When it comes to balloon sinuplasty, there are some common misconceptions that seem to put thousands of people off the treatment every year. With this in mind, we’re going to discover exactly what the process entails today, but the main focus will be on the period of recovery after balloon sinuplasty since this is where most misconceptions seem to appear.

What is Balloon Sinuplasty?

Performed in a hospital or possibly even a doctor’s office, a balloon sinuplasty can be completed under local or general anaesthetic depending on the patient and the circumstances.

After sending a flashlight up into the sinus cavity, this will be followed by a slim catheter. Once in position, the balloon will be sent up the catheter before then being inflated within the sinus passage. As the balloon expands, this will expand the sinus opening, flush out any pus or mucus, and relieve the pressure in the area. By doing this, you can actually restructure the way in which the bones form around the sinuses.

Once the doctor has completed the procedure, the sinus passage will remain widened and the pressure should be relieved. Thereafter, all problems you’ve been experiencing for many weeks, months, or possibly years should disappear.

A doctor tells a patient not to blow his nose during recovery after balloon sinuplasty.

One of the most important things to remember for recovery after balloon sinuplasty is NOT to blow your nose.

Recovery After Balloon Sinuplasty

Once the procedure is all finished, the majority of people can resume their normal lives within a couple of days and this is where much of the confusion occurs. Rather than spending weeks in bed or some other ludicrous suggestions we’ve seen recently, you can be back on your feet in no time and some even drive themselves home after treatment.

In the first seven days, there could be small amounts of blood or discharge from the nose but this is completely normal. Considering any type of surgery places a certain amount of stress on the sinuses, this is nothing to worry about and it’s all part of the healing/correction process. After a week or so, all symptoms should stop and you should be back to normal.

Furthermore, we should note that your doctor will give you instructions to follow for optimal recovery after balloon recovery.  One of the most important requirements is NOT to blow your nose for at least 24 hours. After this, they may also recommend a hiatus from strenuous activity for the first week since this will elevate your heart rate and could cause excessive bleeding.

In order to relieve discomfort (from any drainage that occurs), the best technique as recommended by doctors and those who have had the procedure is to sleep with the head in an elevated position. Ultimately, the first week is the most important so you need to be aware of your body and how you feel at all times.

Today, the only advice we can provide is what works in the majority of cases but your best route to recovery after balloon sinuplasty will always be the advice of the doctor. To keep infection away, you’ll be provided with antibiotics and you should complete the whole course even if you feel as though you don’t need them all. If you stop half-way through your recovery after balloon sinuplasty, you could suffer the consequences in the long-term so follow all instructions from the doctor.

In addition to the antibiotics, the doctor might also suggest a pain reliever of some kind but this will depend on your situation because balloon sinuplasty isn’t a very painful procedure. If you’re experiencing some level of discomfort, always consult your doctor before buying drugs over the counter.

To finish, you’ll be given a saline solution and this is to rinse the nasal passage every three days or so. By keeping the sinuses lubricated, healing is encouraged and you can return to normal sooner.

Complications

With all sinus surgery, there are some risks that come with the treatment including intracranial complications. Although rare, this problem would see an issue with the connection between the brain fluid and nose; this leads to brain fluid leaking into the nose itself. In the majority of cases, this problem is actually fixed mid-procedure and shouldn’t be anything you need to worry about.

Often, swelling will impact the appearance of the nose too but this should subside within 7-10 days. For the most part, this is all you need to know because the treatment is simple and very rarely causes major issues. As long as you follow the instructions from your doctor, there’s no reason why you can’t be back up and running as normal within a few days!

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Causes of Chronic Sinusitis

A man with arrows pointing to his nose, suggesting there are more causes of chronic sinusitis than you may think.

While many think sinusitis is a disease in itself, this isn’t exactly true. Instead, it’s used as an umbrella term because there are several causes of chronic sinusitis and diseases that can lead to this health problem. Otherwise known as chronic rhinosinusitis, the issue actually describes inflammation within the nasal passages. While this can happen often for all of us, medical attention should be sought whenever the problem lasts for a number of weeks and if home treatments don’t have an impact.

Considering it effects the sinuses directly, you could start to see a problem with drainage, mucus build-up, and even breathing. Over time, you might see swelling around your eyes and your face could feel tender and sensitive to the touch. In terms of causes, there are a number of diseases and infections linked with the health problem. Furthermore, it’s something that most commonly affects younger to middle-age adults.

Causes of Chronic Sinusits

With this in mind, what are the actual causes of chronic sinusitis? As mentioned, doctors and ENT specialists will need to run a series of tests if there are no obvious signs from the beginning because the issue can be caused by a number of infections, diseases, and reactions.

Nasal Polyps

First and foremost, some people experience small growths in the nose and nasal tissue. Although they’re benign, they can block the cavities, prevent mucus from being cleared, and eventually lead to a more serious infection. Since they also disturb the airways, they’ve been known to cause headaches which instantly makes people think of other health conditions when it actually starts in the nose.

In terms of the signs, people with nasal polyps normally have a disturbed sense of smell and allergies can also lead to scars within the nasal passage. Typically, nasal steroid sprays can be used to treat this issue. However, this isn’t successful in all cases which is why some professionals will start talking about surgery early on in case the steroidal treatment is ineffective.

Deviated Nasal Septum

In a healthy human, the cartilage and bone that separates the nasal cavity in half is straight and divides the area into two equal spaces. If you have a deviated nasal septum, this means the cartilage and bone is crooked or off-center, causing problems with breathing as well as chronic sinusitis.

For the most part, it can be hard to know if you have a deviated nasal septum and this is for two reasons.  For one, around 80% of us have some form of deviated septum (those who need medical attention are the most severe cases).  Secondly, they can develop in different ways as some will experience the change over time while others are born with the problem (they don’t know any different). If medicine doesn’t help, surgery is likely to be suggested by a qualified professional.

Respiratory Tract Infection

If you experience an infection within your respiratory tract, this can cause inflammation in the sinus membranes thus preventing efficient drainage for mucus. Whether this issue is bacterial, fungal, or even viral, they can all lead to chronic sinusitis. For treatment, dealing with the infection is likely to be the first step because this should destroy the root cause of the sinusitis.

Other Diseases

In addition to these three problems, HIV, gastroesophageal reflux, cystic fibrosis can also all be causes of chronic sinusitis. Typically, it seems to come most frequently from diseases linked to the immune system. For some, this problem is then exacerbated by allergies and pollutants within the atmosphere.

Two diagrams of man's sinuses, suggesting that the causes of chronic sinusitis must be looked into.

There are many different causes of chronic sinusitis, ranging from nasal polyps to a deviated septum, even lifestyle choices like smoking. It could also be indicatve of other diseases so it’s best to seek professional help if you suffer from sinusitis.

Complications

If you have chronic sinusitis or you believe you’re currently experiencing the symptoms, medical attention is pivotal because there are many complications that come from the condition including meningitis, loss of smell, and problems with eyesight. Furthermore, the infection can actually spread to the bones and skin. Although this last one is extremely uncommon, it happens to a certain percentage and there’s no reason why you won’t be in this percentage; unfortunately, we can’t control whether or not something affects us, no matter how rare, unless we get professional help.

Summary

The diseases cited as causes of chronic sinusitis show why medical attention is important. If you have a blockage in the nasal passage, it could actually be a sign of a deeper problem that can lead to something more serious. We recommend you seek the help of a professional.  Once they locate the issue, they can work towards a solution and you can be happy (and relieved!) once again.

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