Sinus infection and nausea might appear to be unrelated, but an infection can cause many symptoms, including nausea. Mucus draining from the sinuses is more likely to run down the back of the throat and into the stomach rather than through the nostrils. Excessive levels of mucus in the stomach can produce feelings of nausea.
Sinusitis, or a sinus infection, is an inflammation of the sinuses. As the membranes surrounding the sinuses swell, the sinuses are squeezed shut. Pressure from the swollen tissue and trapped mucus can cause a wide range of symptoms, including headache, post-nasal drip, fever and nausea.
Most often, sinusitis is caused by a respiratory infection or an allergic reaction. Any condition that causes inflammation of the sinus membranes can cause a sinus infection. When sinuses become swollen, mucus is unable to drain properly and becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, viruses and fungi.
Some people are naturally more prone to sinus infection and nausea than other people are. Allergy sufferers and asthmatics are likely to experience regular inflammations. Individuals who have growths such as nasal polyps have less space available for inflammation, and less swelling is needed to block the sinuses. A deviated septum of cleft palate might cause similar vulnerability to these symptoms. Swimmers are more vulnerable as well, as are frequent flyers who regularly experience changes in air pressure.
Many of the symptoms of a sinus infection are quite general, and what appear to be a sinus infection with nausea might be another condition or conditions. Tension and anxiety, for instance, can result in an upset stomach and headache. Migraine headaches can be intense and might cause nausea as well. Chronic sinusitis, which involves regular or prolonged inflammation, is especially difficult to diagnose and might require imaging tests to confirm.
After a sinus infection has been diagnosed, treating them usually will require a visit to the doctor. The body does have a natural ability to fight infection, but if the infection is severe enough to cause nausea, consultation with a medical professional is recommended. Depending on the symptoms and severity, medical treatments are likely to include a combination of antibiotics, antihistamines, decongestants and corticosteroids. Cases of chronic sinus infection caused by bone spurs or polyps might require surgery.
For those more vulnerable to sinus infections, steps can be taken to limit the risk. Smoking not only irritates the sinus membrane but reduces the body’s ability to fight infection. When possible, known allergens should be avoided. Humidifiers might be useful, and inhaling steam a few times each day can help keep swelling down as well.