Ear, Nose & Throat

Can a Chronic Sinus Infection Make You Dizzy?

written by Becki Andrus
Can a Chronic Sinus Infection Make You Dizzy?

A dizzy spell can leave you feeling terrible, often making it hard to even stand up. If you are experiencing dizziness or vertigo, then it’s difficult to perform even basic tasks around the house or office.

What is the underlying cause of your dizziness? If you experience these symptoms regularly, then it’s time to talk to an ear, nose, and throat specialist to identify the reason why these dizzy spells are occurring.

It’s possible that the dizziness is happening because of a seemingly unrelated condition. For example, chronic sinus infections can contribute to dizziness and other symptoms.

Sinus Infections: What You Need to Know

The sinus cavities are located in the facial area, with four air-filled spaces behind the eyebrows and below the eyes. These air passages produce mucus to cleanse and moisturize the nasal passages, helping to protect you from microorganisms and pollutants.

If this sensitive tissue becomes inflamed or irritated, then the air-filled cavities can become blocked with fluid. These blockages can occur from a specific condition, such as a deviated septum, polyps, allergies, or a head cold.

Being diagnosed with chronic sinus infections means that you have recurring blockages or symptoms that never seem to subside. For some patients, they have sinus infections that happen multiple times a year. Other patients have never-ending symptoms that always need to be managed.

Dizziness and Other Symptoms of a Sinus Infection

Most people are familiar with the most common symptoms of a sinus infection:

  • Bad breath
  • Fatigue
  • Facial pain
  • Facial tenderness
  • Coughing
  • Dental Pain
  • Headaches

Dizziness vs. Light-Headedness

But there are also other symptoms of sinus infections that might seem unrelated, such as dizziness and/or nausea.

Severe dizziness is different from light-headedness. If you are sick, then you might feel a little light-headed immediately after standing up – but the symptoms go away when you lay down again.

On the other hand, dizziness persists while you are laying down. You might feel like the room is spinning and have a hard time finding relief, regardless of your body positioning.

Sinus infections can cause both dizziness and light-headedness. If you are experiencing dizzy symptoms, then it’s smart to talk to a doctor for a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Why Sinus Infections Can Cause Dizziness

The inflammation and congestion in your sinuses passages during a sinus infection can have a domino effect on other parts of your head and ears. For example, the blockages can result in pressure that impacts the inner ears, resulting in a dizzy sensation that won’t go away.

If the sinuses can’t drain properly through the nose or postnasal drip, then it might cause excess fluid to build up in the ears – which results in dizziness, ear infections, and other issues.

Additionally, having a sinus infection increases the likelihood of developing an ear infection. When there is an infection within the ear, then dizziness is one of the symptoms that you might experience.

Treatment Options: Addressing Dizziness Related to Sinus Infections

The key to a successful treatment plan is to identify the underlying cause of your dizziness. Sometimes, it’s a chain reaction, so your ENT will want to complete thorough diagnostics to find the root issue.

For example, if you have dizziness and sinus congestion, then treating the sinus infection could be sufficient to eliminate the dizziness. But if the recurring sinus infections are caused by allergies, then it’s also necessary to treat the allergies so you can prevent recurring sinus infections in the future.

Common treatments for sinus-related dizziness might include:

  • Ear Tubes: This treatment is common for children who have recurring ear infections. The tubes keep the Eustachian Tubes open to promote drainage and minimize the risk of infection. If your child is experiencing dizziness and regular ear infections, then an ENT specialist might recommend the placement of ear tubes.
  • Antihistamines: When allergies are the root cause of the sinus issues, then over-the-counter or prescription medications can be helpful. Medications with antihistamines are beneficial to reduce the buildup and fluid within the sinuses. Then, keeping the sinuses clear helps to minimize the effect on the inner ear (which is the area that might be causing your dizziness).
  • Decongestants: Another type of medication you can take has ingredients to help reduce the congestion in the sinuses. Decongestants are available in pill form to take orally. Or, you might try a decongestant nasal spray when you need to open the sinuses.
  • Antibiotics: If the root cause of the sinus infection is because of bacteria, then a round of antibiotics might be helpful to clear up the infection and eliminate the dizziness. But most ENTs only prescribe antibiotics on an occasional basis, to prevent overuse that can lead to antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.

Keep in mind that certain medications shouldn’t be used for an extended period of time. For example, decongestant nasal sprays can actually cause more symptoms in the future because of the rebound effect. So, only use the spray for a few days in a row when necessary.

If the dizziness and other symptoms continue, then the best solution is to talk to an experienced doctor about available treatment options. Our team at Collin County Ear, Nose, and Throat is here to help!

When to Talk to an ENT about Vertigo or Dizziness

Is your dizziness or vertigo serious enough to merit a visit to an ear, nose, and throat specialist? It depends on your situation, the severity of the symptoms, and how long the symptoms are persisting.

For sinus infections associated with a head cold, typically the sinus-related dizziness will go away naturally when you recover from the illness. Pay attention to your symptoms and contact an ENT for sinus infection treatment if you are finding that the symptoms are persisting or getting worse.

If the dizziness is bad enough that it is impacting your life and daily activities, then don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with an ENT. There’s a chance that you might have other underlying causes contributing to these symptoms.

Long-term treatment options are available to address chronic sinus issues. For example, balloon sinuplasty is one option to consider so you can open up the sinuses, improve drainage, and manage all related symptoms.

Local ENT Services from a Team You Can Trust

Is it time for you to visit with an ear, nose, and throat specialist? Then contact our experienced team at Collin County Ear, Nose, and Throat. We have a long history of success and work with patients throughout the Dallas and Collin County areas.

Reach out at your convenience to book an examination and consultation at one of our nearby offices. We offer locations in Plano and Frisco, TX. You are welcome to complete our online form when an appointment request is needed. Or call our office at: (972) 596-4005.

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