(I posted this question in another forum as well - I'm still not really sure how this site works....)
I've been suffering from vertigo, fatigue, a sort of pinching pressure around and behind my eyes - especially while walking, talking, or driving - and, most alarmingly, a feeling of cognitive detachment and rather severe depression for almost three months now. I got a CT scan a few weeks ago, and the doctor said, "I have great news: you have massive sinus disease!" (Great news because he didn't see a tumor or aneurysm.) However, even he was skeptical that a sinus infection can cause neurological impairment and dizziness for that long. Furthermore there was a cold going around my office just at that time and I had that as well, so it's possible the CT saw congestion from the cold and it gave a misleading result.
What I'm looking for is reassurance and/or guidance: can a sinus infection really manifest as severe dizziness, fatigue, pain behind the eyes, and a sense of mental disconnectedness and horrific melancholy, or should my doctors be looking in a different direction? Lyme disease, a thryoid problem, anemia, or even generalized anxiety can create some, if not all of these symptoms, and it's been three months of agony already - I just hate wondering if they're chasing a wild goose on account of that cold. Any input would help.
The symptoms youre experiencing are not characterised by any one disease or disorder but a combination or a chain effect. It does sound to be that it is most likely caused by a sinus condition, but the ongoing suffering (chronic disease) has caused depression. This is very common as you spend so much time being sick, tired, inside, and wondering why its happening to you- it can be mentally and emotionally draining. Some people feel like a burden if they require to be looked after constantly. You should speak to your Doctor about this.
There are many tubes under the exterior structure of the face, the tube that may cause vertigo is your eustacian tube which lies between your ear and your mouth if you get an infection or cold it blocks up and affects your equilibrium (balance) Different tubes relate to different areas of the face. As the CT scan would have indicated there is blockage or inflammation in the sinus tubes, and fortunately it hasnt indicated any other reason for this to be happening like a brain tumor.
Unfortunately there isnt much you can do if its a result of a blockage thats related to a cold, except eat menthol lollies (vicks vapor drops etc) and take cold and flu tablets- ensure that you can with the medication youre already on. If its inflammation related to bacterial you can be prescribed antibiotics. If its hyperresponsiveness to stimulants such as polen or grass medication like phenergan can be taken. You may be experiencing this type of condition due to the change of season, Im guessing its spring over there? A change in season such as into cold or into spring when the flowers blossom are common times for conditions such as these.
BUT If you are skeptical of your Doctors diagnosis there is no reason you cant visit another Doctor for a second opinion, this may be a good idea as many Doctors have specialised in certain areas and can be more useful. If you feel as if the medication prescribed is not offering any comfort then you should visit your Doctor for a different type.
Thank you (both) for the input. The CT scan showed a severe inflammation, growth, or congestion - it's hard to say on a CT what it is - in my right maxillary sinus, but the rest of my sinuses look clear. I think that's why I'm so concerned: the most troubling symptoms are pressure around/behind my eyes, and mental fogginess. If it was the sphenoid or ethmoid sinuses this would make more sense, given their proximity to the eyes, but it just doesn't seem to me like a maxillary sinus infection would cause me to feel dizzy, have eye problems, and/or be really fatigued and depressed. Or would it? I've had a round of blood tests done just to try and cover all of my bases, results will be back tomorrow.
Is your physician planning on doing anymore scans? Are you seeing an ENT Specialist for this?
Yes, your symptoms relate with a sinus problems. Whether it is related to a growth, cyst, infection, that I am not sure about. Keep in mind your sinuses are NOT big in the first place so problems with any of them can cause great inflammation and pressure effecting your eyes, causing dizziness, etc.
I have had problems with mine for most of my adult life related to allergies.
Have you had any sinus problems in the past? Allergies?
There have been two scans already, and the second one showed decreased infection in all but the maxillary sinus - however, the maxillary, especially on the right side, was so filled with congestion/puss/mucus/blood/whatever (CT can't tell the difference) that you practically couldn't see the boundaries of the sinus cavity.
I'm meeting with an ENT again tomorrow to discuss treatment options. After listing my symptoms, and noting that dizziness and rather severe and uncharacteristic anxiety/depression are the most unsettling ones, he was also skeptical that a sinus infection could really do all of that, although he stressed that any massive infection can have deleterious effects on mental and emotional well-being. So I've also scheduled a round of blood tests, to see if anything else is contributing, and a psychiatric eval to determine whether or not being sick for so long is simply causing mental and emotional duress.
Oh, right, and to answer your questions: I've never had sinus problems before, and I don't have any known allergies. That doesn't mean I couldn't have developed some allergies recently so I probably should get that checked as well.
Severe infections can effect someone's state of mind. I have seen this happen and then once the patient is treated they return to being ok. Plus, this "sinus problem" could be affecting your inner ears which are important for balance and coordination. Hopefully this ENT Specialist can sort all this out.
Did you have any psych issues prior to this? i.e. Depression/Anxiety?
No, no psych issues prior to this, although for good measure I also went to visit a psychiatrist to see if all (or most) of this was in my head. She concurred that anxiety and depression are both evident and are definitely not helping, but she ruled them out as major factors because of the suddenness of onset. I woke up one morning - March 30th, in fact - and found that I was dizzy, my eyes were sore, and I had a sensation of being totally disconnected from the world. She said that "sounds viral" and suggested I get tested for Epstein-Barr and Valley Fever (neg).
Anyway, keeping you posted on the outcome: I've now got one MD telling me that a maxillary sinus infection can indeed cause dizziness, dissociation, eye soreness, anxiety and depression, and that I'll be back to normal once I get sinus surgery; and another MD telling me that my symptoms are totally atypical, especially since the sinuses closest to the eyes and brain both look fine, and I should get an MRI and talk to a neurologist. Meanwhile the ENT just shrugged and said, "You need surgery for the sinus infection, no doubt about that - we'll just see if that fixes everything." That's in three weeks.
I guess what I want more than anything is a straight, calming answer. Can an infection in your maxillary sinus (but not any of the other ones) cause eyes to get sore and blurry, thinking to get foggy, and dizziness and fatigue? Or should I consult a neurologist as well?
I would NOT consult any Neurologist at this time. I will have to agree with the ENT Specialist and the physician saying your symptoms correlate with a maxillary sinus infection and hopefully surgery will help.
You can request an MRI to get better imaging of your sinuses. Your regular PCP/MD or ENT Specialist can order this.
I totally disagree with the physician telling you your problems have nothing to do with your maxillary sinuses.
Thank you so much for keeping in touch, I'm tempted to think you're right. The ENT definitely said feelings of depression and derealization aren't *common* symptoms of a sinus infection, and the fact that I don't have obvious allergies or nasal congestion is also atypical, but since the CT clearly showed a sinus infection it's safest to assume it's just presenting with atypical symptoms. But it's definitely nice to have that opinion reaffirmed. Now I just need to figure out how to pay for the surgery.......
Well, the results of the MRI are back (I got one on the grounds that it would both rule out brain disorders and give my ENT a more thorough image) and they're confusing. There is still a massive retention cyst in my right maxillary sinus, but the "foamy fluid" in the left one - which my ENT said indicated aerobic bacteria - is gone. Yet my symptoms persist. I'm taking your advice and sticking with the ENT for now, but I feel compelled to ask: can a mucous retention cyst really cause all of this? In my mind I imagine it pressing on blood vessels or nerves or something, but I've never actually heard of that and most people say mucous cysts are totally harmless. What do you think? Are we still looking in the right direction?
Well, the ENT confirmed it: antibiotics made the infection in my maxillary sinuses disappear, and my symptoms persist, so they weren't a symptom of a sinus infection after all.
It's been almost four months now, and my ENT and I are equally frustrated that we've been chasing a wild goose this whole time. I was tested for Lyme (although I've heard that test can be unreliable), Epstein-Barr, Valley Fever, and thyroid dysfunction - all fine.
Again, my overarching symptoms are pressure in/around the front of my head, extreme fatigue, mental fogginess and shortness of breath. Are there any other directions we could be looking in....?
Hi - I'm very very interested to know the outcome of your situation, which was quite some time ago... I have been suffering from the very same 'woke up one morning with mental disconnectedness' thing that you were, can literally pinpoint the day, after a bout of months-long supposed hayfever and a few very bad days in bed, sneezing and blowing my nose. As it's progressed, both my emotional and physical conditions have got worse, my sinuses feeling in tremendous pain constantly and my emotions going all over the place for no apparent reason. I also went for an MRI to rule out brain tumours etc, and would be going for a psych evaluation as recommended by my doctor if I could afford it... I was just prescribed antibiotics for my sinuses but want to go for a CT scan first to see if they can tell me anything there. Did you ever get any answers about the connection between the sinus and the emotional problems?
Did you ever get to the bottom of your problem? I have had exactly the same symptoms now for 6 months or more and my DR insists on telling me I still have a sinus infection. I am now on 1 months course of strong antibiotics and steroid nasal spray! I feel at a loose end with it all and completely fed ip of constant ear pressure, headaches, dizziness, felling sick and down.
Would love to ear back.
Hopefully you will see this! Did you all ever get any answers? I am having the exact same symptoms: mental fogginess, fatigue, increased anxiety/emotional issues.
I've had a CT scan for sinuses and brain. They ruled out anything related to the brain, but said my sinuses were inflamed. Can a severe sinus infection correlate with the anxiety and feeling out of it/disconnectedness? It's so uncomfortable.
Let me know what you all have found out! Thank you :)
I'm dealing with another round of sinus pain, headache, feeling fatigue, fog and the like I wonder, as others do, how things progressed for them. I had a cough/cold thing since January and have been dealing with this for awhile. Having had similar things in the past, I'm not too concerned but I'm not entirely not concerned!
I had a similar illness from September 2011 - April 2012. It came back with a vengeance from September 2013 - Present (May 2014). Chronic nasal congestion, blurry vision, dizziness, fatigue, mental fog, disconnectedness, low grade fever that comes and goes. ENT claims it's Labyrinthitis. I also developed severe GERD which I'm now taking medication for. Both instances seem to coincide with quitting smoking (although I can never remember if I decided to stop due to feeling the onset of illness or the other way round).
No relief from antibiotics or steroid nasal sprays. I'm thinking it's either depression/anxiety, viral or auto-immune.
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