Aa
A
A
A
Close
Allergy Community
10.3k Members
Avatar universal

Allergies, sinus infection and dizziness

In May I began to have dizzy spells which coincided with a sore throat and earache, which cleared up on their own. However, dizziness and fatigue continued for several weeks. The dizziness resembled being carsick, with lightheadedness and occasional moments of nausea and feeling faint (but I never passed out).  I had a CAT scan and blood work twice, and so far no diagnosis for the dizziness/fatigue.  It got better for a few weeks but last week I began to have dizzy spells again, this time accompanied by maxillary sinus pressure.  I had just switched allergy medications, from Nasonex to generic Flonase, right at the time my symptoms returned.  Could allergies have led to a sinus infection?  Can the sinus infection cause dizziness and fatigue?

Due to the holiday weekend I haven't been able to call my doctor, but after 3 prior visits he's never suggested sinuses to be a cause.
254 Responses
Avatar universal
I had the same thing. (See my 9/6/06 post)My ENT doesn't think my sinus infection is causing my dizziness so I can relate to your frustration. I know that allergies can cause a sinus infection and I've read posts that sinus infection causes dizziness but I guess my ENT doesn't think so.
Avatar universal
Sounds like we have a similar problem.  How long did it take for your doctor to recommend an ENT?  I'm probably going to try some antibiotics next, but then if they don't work would like to go to an ENT but my GP hasn't even mentioned it yet.  I've seen some webpages saying you have to have 4 infections in a year before an ENT will see you, I hope that's not true.

I can definitely empathize with how you feel.  I've been so upset by this, really depressed and frustrated and bored from not feeling like I can physically do the things I could do just 6 months ago.  Hang in there, though, we'll get this figured out.  Thanks for your post.
Avatar universal
I saw my GP three times and took about 4 rounds of antibiotics before he gave up on me and sent me to a ENT for my dizziness.
The ENT gave up on me after 2 visits and is sending me to a neurologist. I just called the ENT myself and made the appointment. They didn't ask how many infections I had or anything. So I would say open the phone book and call a few unless your doc gives you a referal.
How long have you had the dizziness? For me it's going on 4 months. I have 2 little kids and I haven't played with them all summer because I get so dizzy. I just want to know it's not life threatening and it can be treated. I called the neurologist to find out what they plan to do and they said they are going to mainly look at my MRI,CT and ENG and ask me a bunch of questions and go from there. I've read online that a infected middle ear matches what I have, but I have yet to hear from anyone who's actually gone through it.
Avatar universal
I've had mine since May and right now it seems to be responding to antibiotics, but my ears are still occasionally full and they hurt a bit, so I expect the ear problem will come back.  What I've heard is that dizziness is usually not dangerous but there's not a lot of research on chronic dizziness, either.  Good luck, if it's an ear issue I think there's a lot of treatment for it.
Avatar universal
Been suffering from some dizziness/vertigo for the last year, roughly.  Went to primary, then to ENT & allergist, who suggested I see a neurologist, who then informed me that most cases of vertigo w/out a "serious" cause are caused by inflammation of the 8th cranial nerve (a benign condition, other than for the symptoms it causes.)  What happens is, in sensitive people, when they get a (usually) cold virus, it inflames the nerve temporarily (meaning anywhere from a day to 3 weeks) and causes the dizziness.  Treatment is aimed at symptoms, usually w/ meclizine, which can be purchased over the counter or by prescription.

Also, I've had 2 brain scans (MRI's w/ contrast) and they've both been negative.  Think you have to get the scans WHILE the dizziness is going on, if ya wait to long the inflammation goes down.  

Hope this helps.  Good luck.
Avatar universal
I have terrific allergies and am very susceptible to colds, as well. 10 years ago I had an intense cold that lasted for several months. Toward the end of the cold I developed a nasty case of what my primary care called "vestibular neuronitis." Either fluid backed up into my ears or the pressure from the inflammation throughout my sinuses caused balance problems. The dizziness lasted for 4 months. It took awhile, but my primary care figured out the best treatment was antibiotics, antihistamine, decongestant, and klonopin (a form of valium that relaxes the nerves and stops the dizziness). I found that meclizine was useless.

A few weeks ago, the problem occurred again. This time my allergies had just kicked in from exposure to extreme mold and hay fever season. There's no infection this time because we caught it early, so I'm just on an antihistamine/decongestant, a 2nd antihistamine, and klonopin. I am slowly improving.

I have a new primary care who understands the issue. But she decided to send me to an ENT, just to be safe. I was so annoyed when he said there is no proven connection between allergies and dizziness. He's now ordered an MRI and additional balance tests and has started talking about ruling out tumors, etc.

Thanks for sharing your stories. It always surprises me how many non-allergist MD's don't understand how allergies can affect the body.
Avatar universal
I was glad to read I am not alone.  I have been having all the symptoms you-all describe, sinus pressure in face, ear hurting, just feel bad and extreme fatigue, sometimes dizzy, for 3 months.  Three rounds of antibiotics, over the counter allergy meds, my family Dr. sent me to an ENT who diagnosed rhinitis - gave me steroid nasal spray and nasal spray antahistamine - which did not help.  I've been using nasal saline irrigation.  Started on vitamins.  I'm now on Prednisone.  After a day and a half I'm starting to feel relief, but I take it for 6 days and I'm scared to death I'll be right back where I was and I'll have no time to build myself back up where I'm so run down from this. I am scheduled for the allergy tests, which I believe 99% of people are allergic to dust, grass, etc., and I'm sure I will have to have shots, which I will do just in case there is a possibility it will help a little.  I'm at wits' end.  If any of you get relief or help please post it, as I will.  If it's viral it should be gone by now!
Avatar universal
I too have had sinus issues and dizziness the past few months.  Family Dr gave several rounds of Anti-biotics, did not work. Tested Hormone levels blood glucose levels, thyroid  total cbc. They were normal. I was referred to ENT- He had me get CT scan, stated I had deviated septum and that I needed surgery.  I have had severe dizziness, blurred vision, almost like car sickness.. major headache and was then given Steroid (6) day dose. This helped and I too dreaded the 7th day, which I began to feel worse again.  So, I call ENT and they told me to have the surgery. I have been too scared of surgery so ENT gave me Alavert D12, and Flonase to take this has made me more dizzy. I am at my wits end, thinking I have some serious illness?  I would like to know your status now and if you have had any resolvement?

jjkee
Avatar universal
Took the 6 days of Prednisone. 5th day I was getting the pressure back in my face so stopped by the ENT office. Dr. called in another round of Prednisone, 10 mg. for 3 days, 1/2 a pill 3 days, 1/2 a pill every other day for 3 days.  I'm now down to...skipping today, tomorrow I start 1/2 a pill every other day for the next 3 and I'll be finished.  I feel MUCH better.  My head was feeling lopsided inside, like pressure & now pressure is gone (yesterday I did have to take 2 Advil, but it went away with that, which usually it doesn't).  I'm not dizzy, running into things, and not feeling car sick anymore. I quit the Astelin antihistamine spray and the Rhinocort spray, because I felt it was making me worse and dizzy-er.  I've been taking Bcomplex and Niacin and Vit. C.  I run an air cleaner in my bedroom at all times. Went to see a chiropractor.  Normally I wouldn't trust one, but he's a friend and has helped my husband with disk problems.  He's used some kind of electrical vibrating thing where my neck meets my skull and now my ear's not hurting. (Could be him, could be the Prednisone).   He's cracked my neck (scary).  He said if I started with the pressure/pain in the face he'll do acupuncture.  His receptionist said she's never believed in that but she had the face pain and he did it on her and it actually worked!  So...if I need it I'll try that.  You just get desparate and will try anything!   I'm going for the allergy testing next week.  I just had blood work done by my GYN (no other Dr. suggested it) so it'll be 2 weeks before I know any results from that.  I also have panic disorder...so being like this for so long has caused that to kick in even more and I'm taking more Xanax.  I'm thinking something's just weird this year....and whatever it was, I got it!  I've heard of a lot of people being like this this year. I don't have a deviated septum and Dr. said I didn't need surgery...but if it would help me I would try it!  How do you get a deviated septum?  And...why are you having problems now from it and didn't before?  These are questions I'd ask.   I'm also thinking my immune system was run down due to so much stress in my life recently which wouldn't fight this.  I, too, was thinking I had a SERIOUS illness.  Now I'm feeling better.  I just hope it continues.  Sorry this is so long.  Write back and let me know how you are progressing.
Avatar universal
Funny you mention the panic disorder, after my second round of anti-biotics my GP said I was stressed and anxious and put me on a anti-depressent/anxiety med and I felt great for the first week or so, then had the WORST panic attacks ever, one after another and so on. (I had a reaction to the drug- I think it was celexa)?  Then when I called my GP- and said what is going on here, they sent me to a  pyschologist due to my sensitivy to meds. I spoke with them a few times and they felt that my sinuses needed to be taken care of and the meds for anxiety- well, I quit them and felt a bit better.  Then I was off to ENT.  My first thought was- what the heck is going on- I have this bad sinus infection , on meds for that for 20 days- it never goes away- was told to take celexa- (which I took at the same time as the anti-biotic)- and then started having attacks, tingling in my fingers and toes, and then I am being sent to a pyschologists? for anxiety or panic disorder.???  I really hope you get better and I did go to chiropractor ( I have not been in  a few months though)...maybe I should go back for a visit. My family feels the septioplasy surgery is my only option and I do not.  I will certainly keep you posted. And will pray for you...Thanks for the input, I do not feel so alone.  OH, I did ask ENT about the deviated septum and that I probably have had all my life, and why now, why surgery?  His only answer is that sometimes when people get to their 40's these symptoms start to get worse and he could not guarantee that the surgery would fix the problem. and I am not 40 yet, by the way..  I am just a bit skeptical of this surgery..want to check all other avenues first.  sorry so long... :-)

jjkee
Avatar universal
We have a joke around our house - that's why it's called a medical "practice" because they are just "practicing" on us!  I think it's trial and error.  If you feel you want to hold off and try other options I certainly don't blame you.  The ENT said "non allergic rhinitis" and is sending me for allergy testing?  Nothing has changed - same house, grass, dust, pets, use same products.  I've had my teeth checked, my furnace/ac checked, cleaned the house a little better (after all I didn't feel good so sure didn't feel like cleaning) got the air cleaner, CT Scan, 3 rounds of antibiotics, Alavert, Alestin, Rhinocort...and I'm guessing Prednisone was the last resort.  I just turned 50 yesterday (oooh that sounds so old).  Couldn't even make plans to go out because wasn't sure how I would feel.  So it definitely has affected my life!  I'll continue with the chiropractor for a while and the vitamins....wait and see how my blood work comes back....and I don't go back to the ENT until 11-21 (unless I get worse again and can't take anymore).  I will keep you posted.  I have prayed and try to think positive, but the longer it goes the harder it gets.  I've been on meds for panic disorder for about 18 years!  As long as I take the meds I have been under control, until this!  They always act like it's in  your mind when they can't figure it out!  I hope you get better!  Maybe a second opinion from another ENT.
Avatar universal
You guys have been experiencing a lot of what I have as well.  My doc basically told me a few weeks ago that he thinks I'm just "worrying" too much and not sick at all.  Because of that, I was about to go to a therapist for anxiety, but then my maxillary sinuses started hurting again, and I had the carsick feeling again, and I decided my doctor was wrong.  I really don't think this is all in my head and it's just anxiety.

On some anxiety forums I went to, I saw a LOT of people who said their anxiety started with sinus infections and allergies.  Doctors apparently either don't understand it enough or don't think it's very serious, while those of us who are living with it KNOW how bad it is.

The prednisone sounds like a good idea, I think I'm going to try and find an ENT and skip my GP for now.

Also, I've seen some studies online that said a lot of sinus infections were fungal, which is why antibiotics don't help.  I know my doctor says this is viral, but if it was viral it wouldn't have lasted 7 months!
Avatar universal
The tingling in the fingers and toes could be the panic attacks.  They affect people differently.  I have felt like my arms were vibrating like using a jackhammer, like I'm going to pass out, and also hot spots on my cheeks like you'd draw on a clown.  

I'm now finished with my Prednisone and feel pressure in my head today...which may be just the weather change as it has gotten really cold here today, and my sinus don't handle weather changes, especially cold, well.  I'm still hoping I won't go back to where I was...but very skeptical.  My ear's also hurting again.  I'm just waiting to see.  It's no fun not being able to live your life!

Has anyone gotten any relief yet?
Avatar universal
Well, got my blood work results -- seems my thyroid is elevated 11 points and the Dr. wants me to have that retested Dec. 1st.  I'm wondering, does anyone know if Prednisone could have caused that to elevate?  It never has been before.  I tried to find info on it but didn't understand a lot - other than it can be fatal if it's too high, so I guess that's why he wants me to retest so soon.  Other than that, since I've taken the Prednisone I'm feeling better with sinus and dizziness.  If anyone knows about thyroid levels please post.
Avatar universal
Wow!  I can't believe I found other people going through the same thing I am!  It started with a mild viral illness in July, and went into equilibrium problems that just won't stop.  The viral thing turned into a sinus infection that took 3 rounds of antibiotics to cure.  Even when the sinuses were better, the equilibrium stayed messes up.  The balance problems finally started to resolve, and then I caught another cold, and now I'm right back where I started.
I did get a referral to ENT who ordered an MRI of head/inner auditory canal.  The only thing they found was a cyst in one of the sinuses, which they feel is not causing the problems.  Now I an scheduled for an ENG/VNG.  Has anyone had that test?   Is it as unpleasant as it sounds?  Let please keep posting, so if any of us
finds the answer we can pass it along to the rest.......
Avatar universal
lmnd, I am not a doctor but I did find on the nih.gov site about prednisone that it's used to treat problems that affect the thyroid.  Looks like it actually lowers thyroid numbers, but you should probably confirm with your doctor on that.

Also to what someone said upthread, apparently sinus infections can take a LOT of antibiotics to address.  Several years ago I had an infection that caused the left side of my face to swell up.  I thought it was a tooth but the dentist said no, it was sinus infection, and that because the antibiotics have to basically "go through bone" (that's how he put it) it can take several rounds to clear up an infection.
Avatar universal
Thanks for the input.  I tried to find what the levels are supposed to be online but could not.  The girl that called me from the Dr.'s office said it should be 5.500 and mine was 5.511.  To me that's not 11 points, but 11/100ths.  Anyway, I guess I will follow up with that 12-1, and maybe ask the ENT when I go back 11-21, since I've read it can be dangerous.  Although I'm better...I still have the severe pain in the back of my head on the right after a night's sleep -- or it wakes me up at 4:00 a.m.  Not every night, but 1 out of 4 at least.  And I do still have some pain in my right face and ear.  Again, I definitely will talk to the Dr. about what I've read in the forum and I appreciate everyone's input.  I hope between us all we can get relief!
Avatar universal
Seriously Im so glad you all have the same symptoms. My parents died within 9 months of each other and everyones been telling me I had depression. Well my symptoms seem to come and go. When I dont feel crappy im my normal self. Bit when they come back I get extremely tired my right ear pain comes and goes and my sinuses are horrible. I dont usually have a runyy nose but the pain is awful. I also git my tonsills out 4 weeks ago and everytime I would start feeling like this my throat would swell up and I would get white patches on my tonsills too. I thought it was just from my tonsills but it isnt because I still get the sinus pain and ear aches. I dont know what else to do. It is making me depressed. Anyone with some advice please help!!
Avatar universal
My mom (& best friend) passed away in May.  I have been severely depressed and lonely.  So I know how you feel.  My dad has been deceased for 18 years.  I thought maybe I irritated my sinuses from crying so much -- so I've tried hard to stop crying just in case.  It is very depressing to have that hurt, much less being sick on top of it.  I started to wonder myself if it was depression making me sick.  But..I don't want to be sick, and I'm sure that's not it.  Whatever is going on is wearing us all out.  I know it's sinus and ears.  Did you go back to have your tonsils checked?  May be infection in there.  If you're reading the forum I think we're all trying to help each other and getting nowhere.  My face hurts today.
Avatar universal
My mom died last halloween in 2005 and my dad died in july of this year. Its just weird cuz it started in the spring and it hasnt gotten any better. Like today my face hurts and Im tierd. I just want a break. I got my tonsills looked at and they are fine so I honestly dont know what it is. Im almost possible it has something to do with my ears and sinuses. I though at first it was chronic fatigue syndrome but I dont know. When I dont feel like **** I feel great.
Avatar universal
I've thought of chronic fatigue, too.  I'll do good a couple of days, then bad...but I have been SO bad at times that when it's a little bad I can handle it.  I mean there for a while it was never ending feeling bad, no strength, face pressure, head pressure, balance problems, ear hurting, and I thought life wasn't worth living if I had to live like that.  Just couldn't do anything!     I didn't sleep well due to the right side back of my head hurting again last night.  It gets better when I get up.  I just don't know what it can be.  I've read everything...looked up everything...so even though I doubt it will do any good, when I go back to the ENT the end of the month I will again tell him all this and see what he says.  All we can do is keep trying to get to the bottom of this!
Avatar universal
I guess, as they say, misery loves company.  I have been the same symptoms as the rest of the posters here for five weeks now; doctors visits, MRI, and now an appointment with a neurologist, who can't see me for another month. Yes, there has been a lot of stress in my life: death of a loved one, husband with cancer and surgeries, son in Iraq.  The stress exacerbates the problem.  I feel worse on rainy days when the pressure system is high. I did find a couple of interesting articles that the rest of you may want to consider:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001420.htm
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001054.htm
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000702.htm
Avatar universal
I'm wondering if all of us are so stressed and depressed our immune systems are not fighting whatever we have!  Weather does play a role.  It's raining today and my face has hurt all day to the point of making me sick.  Go the ENT next week, will discuss all of this and post back.
Avatar universal
I agree. It's raining like crazy here and I feel like my head is about to explode and I can barely walk straight.  Please post and let us know what the ENT says.
Sonphlower
Have an Answer?
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Find out what causes asthma, and how to take control of your symptoms.
Find out if your city is a top "allergy capital."
Find out which foods you should watch out for.
If you’re one of the 35 million Americans who suffer from hay fever, read on for what plants are to blame, where to find them and how to get relief.
Allergist Dr. Lily Pien answers Medhelp users' most pressing allergy-related questions
When you start sniffling and sneezing, you know spring has sprung. Check out these four natural remedies to nix spring allergies.