The constant nasal congestion, facial pain and fatigue that can come with chronic sinusitis can take a toll on anyone. Research has shown that it may even increase your risk of mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
What is Chronic Sinusitis?
Chronic sinusitis or chronic rhinosinusitis is a sinus infection lasting longer than 12 weeks. It causes the sinus cavities around your nasal passages to become swollen and inflamed and leads to symptoms such as:
- Nasal congestion
- Facial pressure or pain
- Thick yellow or green colored nasal discharge
- Postnasal drip
- Weakened or lost sense of smell
- Ear fullness
A sinus infection is often first caused by a viral upper respiratory infection like the common cold. However, bacterial and fungal infections can also lead to a sinus infection. Additionally, several other health issues may make it more likely that your sinus infection becomes chronic, including:
- A deviated septum
- Nasal polyps
The Connection Between Chronic Sinus Infections and Mental Health
A study published in 2019 looked at data from almost 50,000 participants over an 11-year period. They found that participants with chronic rhinosinusitis had a higher overall incidence of anxiety and depression than those without the condition.
Why The Connection?
While researchers can’t say exactly why the connection exists, it’s thought that a large part of it is that dealing with chronic sinus symptoms can affect your overall quality of life. Feeling ill for an extended period of time makes it harder to do things like go to work, play with your children or enjoy a celebratory night out with friends at The Kennedy.
Additionally, nasal congestion and other sinus symptoms can make it harder to breathe at night, interfering with sleep. Poor sleep quality is independently linked to higher levels of depression and anxiety.
Treat Your Chronic Sinus Symptoms
If you have lingering sinus symptoms that don’t resolve on their own, make an appointment with an ENT specialist. They can go over your symptoms, examine your sinuses and order any appropriate testing to help determine the cause of your sinusitis and develop a treatment plan.
Treatment options may include:
- Medications like antibiotics or nasal corticosteroids
- Nasal irrigation
- Allergy treatments
- Medication to reduce the size of nasal polyps
- Sinus surgery
To learn more or to schedule an appointment with one of our experts, contact Spartanburg | Greer ENT & Allergy today.