Sinus issues are common in people of all ages. While they sound as simple as congestion and infections, they can affect the quality of life. If you suffer from frequent bouts, the problem gets frustrating over time. It makes sense to know the underlying causes so that you can address them in the first place. Typically, colds, allergies, or environmental triggers can lead to swelling in nasal tissues. The swelling blocks the sinus passages and causes infection. You feel uneasy during the day and lose your sleep at night. Apart from these common causes, there are some unusual culprits you need to be aware of. Here are the surprising ones that every patient should know about.
Diabetes is one of the lesser-known causes of sinus problems, though it is common considering the statistics. If you are a diabetic, you are more likely to suffer from frequent bouts of sinus infections. The disease leads to higher blood glucose levels, which make you more prone to various infectious conditions. Besides viral and bacterial invasions in the sinus area, you may even experience oral yeast infections. These infections can reach up to the nasal cavity if you fail to address them on time. Even worse, this unusual condition is often hard to spot. You can curb the risk by managing your blood sugar with dietary changes, exercise, and a better lifestyle.
Nasal polyps are small and benign growth developing from nose or sinus tissues. Chronic allergies often result in long-term swelling and scarring in nasal passages, and they form polyps over time. Polyps can cause blockage of sinus cavities, which prevents mucus from draining and eventually results in infection. These small growths can even restrict airway passages, which can trigger headaches. Thankfully, polyps are easy to treat as a short course of oral steroids or nasal steroid sprays can resolve them. You may have to opt for surgery if steroid treatments do not work.
Dry indoor air
The quality of indoor air has a far-reaching impact on your respiratory health. Breathing in dust, mold, and viruses makes you prone to illness for evident reasons. Dry indoor air can lead to sinus problems. It dries out your sinuses and thickens the mucus in your nasal openings. Bacteria and viruses get trapped in the mucus and thrive there because they get a favorable environment. Not surprisingly, sinus infections are more common during winter months when heated indoor air enough gets dry and affects your health. The best way to deal with the concern is by installing a humidifier. You can use natural remedies like neti pot sinus rinse to keep your nose clean. Even staying well hydrated helps to steer clear of dryness. Ditch caffeine and alcohol to prevent dehydration.
Swimming in chlorinated pools
Another surprising cause of sinus infections is swimming in chlorinated pools. The chlorine in the water can cause irritation and inflammation in nasal passageways. It increases your chances of infection in the long run if you spend too much time in a chlorinated pool. The problem gets aggravated when you dive into the water. The pressure pushes the water deep into your sinuses and affects the delicate tissues therein.
Like swimming in chlorinated pools, frequent flying is another surprising risk factor for sinus infections. When air pressure in-flight dips suddenly, it builds up pressure in your head. The phenomenon can block your air passages and sinuses. The problem is more pronounced during takeoff and landing, and you may even feel uncomfortable throughout the flight. You can use an inhaler or decongestant nasal drop before takeoff and landing. It keeps your sinuses clear, and you stay comfortable during the flight.
Overuse of nasal sprays
While decongestant nasal sprays can make it easy to deal with sinus blockages, they can do more harm than good. Overusing them for the long haul can increase your risk of developing sinus infections. It is easy to make over-the-counter sinus sprays a part of your daily life, but your body may become less sensitive to them down the line. The tissues may swell again and result in rebound nasal congestion. The best option is to steer clear of over-the-counter sprays and follow your physician’s recommendation for proper dosing and intervals.
Pollutants and allergens are everywhere in the environment. Indoor mold is harmful, outdoor air pollution is worse. Even strong odors like perfumes and detergents can irritate your nose and cause inflammation of the nasal passages. You can address the concern by avoiding these irritants. Knowing your triggers is crucial because ditching them is your best defense against infections. You can install an air purifier indoors to eliminate pollutants in the air. Regular vacuuming and dusting also help.
Most smokers suffer from sinus problems even without realizing the root of the disease. Like pollutants, cigarette smoke irritates your nose and causes inflammation over time. It damages the natural sinus-cleaning system as well. Your sinuses accumulate more junk, easily clogging the passages when you have a cold. The best option is to quit smoking because it delivers more benefits than you can imagine. The lifestyle switch requires a lot of effort, but it is worthwhile.
Anatomical issues like nasal abnormalities can also cause sinus infections. For example, deviated septums can affect the drainage mechanism of your sinuses. Likewise, narrow sinus pathways, cleft palate, and tumors are other issues that affect your sinus health. You may have to opt for a surgical procedure for these issues because they require a structural resolution rather than functional precautions.
Natural treatment is often the best option for sinus patients, and it works for most of them. But you have to reach the root of the problem to get an actionable solution. The causes may be unusual, making them hard to identify unless you dig deeper. Consider these surprising ones, and you may find one of them to be the culprit in your case. The sooner you pick the cause, the faster you can get life back on track.