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can sinus infection cause dizziness

Can Sinus Infection Cause Dizziness?

Ever suffered from a sudden bout of dizziness that has no apparent cause? Perhaps it’s accompanied by nasal congestion or a feeling of pressure around your eyes.

If that is the case, you are probably wondering: Can sinus infection cause dizziness?

In today’s blog, we will answer this question, as we uncover the relationship between sinus and dizziness.

What is a Sinus Infection?

Sinus infections, medically termed sinusitis, occur when the tissues lining the sinuses become inflamed or infected. These hollow cavities, located in the bones around the nose, eyes, and cheeks, are lined with mucous membranes. When these membranes swell or become blocked, they can trap mucus and foster bacterial growth, leading to infection.

What Causes Sinus Infections?

Various factors can lead to the development of sinus infections, such as:

  • Viral Infections: The common cold and influenza viruses are frequent culprits behind sinusitis.
  • Bacterial Infections: Bacteria like Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae can invade the sinuses, especially during or after a viral infection.
  • Allergies: Allergic reactions to pollen, dust mites, pet dander, or mold can trigger inflammation in the sinuses.
  • Nasal Polyps: These noncancerous growths in the nasal passages can obstruct sinus drainage, promoting infection.
  • Deviated Septum: A crooked septum, the wall between the nostrils, can impede proper sinus drainage, increasing the risk of infection.
  • Environmental Factors: Exposure to pollutants, smoke, or dry air can irritate the sinuses and predispose them to infection.

Link Between Sinus and Dizziness

The sinuses and the inner ear are closely interconnected anatomically, sharing adjacent spaces within the skull. When the sinuses become inflamed or infected, this inflammation can spread to the nearby inner ear structures, disrupting their normal function. This leads to dizziness or vertigo, a sensation of spinning or imbalance.

Can Sinus Infection Cause Dizziness?

Yes, sinus infections can indeed cause dizziness. This dizziness from sinus infection often manifests as a feeling of lightheadedness, unsteadiness, or spinning sensations known as vertigo. It may worsen when changing positions or during sudden head movements. 

Additionally, sinusitis dizziness can be accompanied by other symptoms like nasal congestion, facial pressure, and headaches.

Symptoms of Sinus Infection

Being aware of the symptoms of sinus infection can help with the diagnosis and treatment. Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Nasal congestion or stuffiness
  • Facial pain or pressure, particularly around the eyes, cheeks, and forehead
  • Thick, discolored nasal discharge
  • Reduced sense of smell and taste
  • Coughing, often worse at night
  • Fatigue
  • Bad breath
  • Ear pain or pressure
  • Dizziness or vertigo

How To Treat Dizziness From Sinus Infections?

Treating dizziness from sinus infections involves addressing the underlying sinusitis while also managing the associated vestibular symptoms. 

Here are some treatment options:

  • Antibiotics: If a bacterial infection is the culprit, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to clear the infection.
  • Decongestants: Over-the-counter or prescription decongestants can help relieve nasal congestion and alleviate sinus pressure.
  • Nasal Steroids: Corticosteroid nasal sprays reduce inflammation in the nasal passages and sinuses, promoting drainage.
  • Antihistamines: These medications can alleviate allergy-related sinus inflammation.
  • Saline Nasal Irrigation: Using a saline solution to rinse the nasal passages can help clear mucus and soothe inflammation.
  • Steam Inhalation: Inhaling steam from a bowl of hot water can help loosen mucus and ease sinus congestion.
  • Vestibular Rehabilitation: For persistent dizziness, vestibular rehabilitation exercises may improve balance and reduce symptoms.

When To See a Doctor?

If you experience severe or prolonged symptoms of sinus infection, including dizziness, it’s essential to seek medical attention. 

Additionally, seek prompt care if you develop any of the following:

  • High fever with sinus infection
  • Severe headache
  • Double vision or vision changes
  • Stiff neck
  • Confusion or altered consciousness

Frequently Asked Questions

Can allergies cause dizziness?

Yes, allergies can cause dizziness due to inflammation and fluid buildup in the inner ear.

Is a sinus infection contagious?

Sinus infections are typically not contagious, except in cases caused by viruses, which can spread through respiratory droplets.

How long does a sinus infection last?

The duration of a sinus infection varies, but it typically lasts between 7 to 10 days. Chronic sinusitis may persist for several weeks or even months.

Can a sinus infection go away without antibiotics?

Yes, a sinus infection can resolve on its own without antibiotics, especially if it's caused by a virus. However, bacterial sinus infections may require antibiotics for effective treatment.

– Disclaimer –

This blog is for informational & educational purposes only, and does not intend to substitute any professional medical advice or consultation. For any health related concerns, please consult with your physician, or call 911.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed by Dr. Syra Hanif, M.D. on 04/01/2024

Learn more about our editorial process.

  • About The Author

    Dr. Syra Hanif M.D.

    Board Certified Primary Care Physician

Dr. Syra Hanif is a board-certified Primary Care Physician (PCP) dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered healthcare.

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