Causes of Sinus Infection
Knowing the causes of sinus infection is beneficial to the patient and the layman for
prevention of recurrent sinus infections!
The most common cause of a sinus infection is the common cold, viral influenza
and hay fever.
The cold causes inflammation in the nasal passages and this inhibits the drainage of the sinuses
which can cause them to become inflamed.
When we have flu, our nose is filled with mucus. This is caused by the body's natural defence to
produce extra mucus so as to flush out the invading viruses.
Generally a common flu stays a maximum for a period of one week. After that we usually recover,
but it leaves our sinuses inflamed. The nose is a very sensitive part of our body which catches a viral infection
When we move outdoors we are again exposed to dust particles and
irritants in the air which could accumulate in our sinus cavities. Accumulation of these could
actually block the nasal passages and prevent mucus from draining away.
These sinus cavities form a harbor to many types of bacteria, such as
Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae which normally settle in our
upper respiratory tract harmlessly . Once these bacteria multiply, they become one of the chief causes of
Also when we have persistent runny nose(Allergic Rhinitis) due to allergy to dust, pollen
grains, house mites etc., thereby resulting in chronic irritation or inflammation of our nasal passages, sinusitis
Fungus infection is known to cause sinus
infection. Fungi are found profusely in our environment but it is harmless to humans as we have a natural
resistance to fungi. But you must beware of the common black mold which we may find in our
homes. Black mold can only proliferate in moist and damp areas.
These are the areas where natural sunlight cannot reach. If nothing is done and you breathe in
these mold spores regularly, your body's natural immune system could fall drastically. Fungus like
Aspergillus can cause serious health problems to people whose immune system is not functioning
The inside of our nose is made up of nasal turbinates. These turbinates are
three bony and soft-tissue structures lining the sides of the nasal cavity.
The purpose of these turbinates is to warm the air that we breathe in before it enters our
As part of the normal nasal cycle, the turbinates alternately swell and enlarge. For some
people, their turbinates can swell excessively, resulting in significant nasal obstruction or congestion.
This obstruction provides a conducive environment for the bacteria load to build up in the nose
leading to a sinus infection. This is another major cause of sinus infections.
Nasal polyps are swollen, inflamed mucus membranes that abnormally project into
the nasal passages potentially blocking airflow. They occur more frequently in persons with allergies and/or
asthma. Nasal obstruction or nasal congestion is one of the most common sinus infection symptoms.
As a result, the natural sinus drainage mechanism becomes impaired and chronic sinus infection
occurs. Asthmatics who have nasal polyps tend to have an intolerance to Aspirin (causing reactions that may be
Recent reports indicate that acid reflux into the esophagus plays a role in the
development of sinus infection in both children and adults. There was also a study showing that patients with
gastroesophageal reflux disease(GERD) were less likely to get relief from Functional Endoscopic
Some patients with chronic sinus infection exhibit an increased number of acid reflux episodes which cause
gastric acid to reach the top of the esophagus near the sinuses compared to a control group.
While acid reflux probably does not reach all the way to the sinuses, it could induce inflammation of nasal
lining, blocking the sinuses. There is, therefore, a possible causal relationship between GERD and chronic sinus
Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) practitioners believe that the body must not be exposed to
the elements for long periods of time.
It is best to avoid damp and cold places as overexposure can cause an imbalance to the yin and yang elements of
Any such imbalance will cause the body's immune system to deteriorate leading to possible
chronic infections. These are the key sinus infection causes today.
Thus, knowing the various causes of sinus infection can help you take the necessary steps to
prevent catching this debilitating illness or its recurrence.