Fungal Sinusitis – Facts to Know about Fungal Sinus Infection
When most people think of a sinus infection, they think of bacterial and viral illnesses that can follow respiratory sickness. But, in recent years, researchers have determined that another cause may be responsible for the symptoms of sinusitis – fungus. Let’s find out what fungal sinusitis is.
Fungal sinus infection is different from those that are commonly associated with viruses and bacteria. For one, sinus infections related to fungus tend to last longer than their everyday counterparts. The typical course for a bacterial or viral sinus infection is about ten days, whereas those from fungus can be chronic and long lasting. Additionally, sinusitis treatment options between the fungal and non fungal sources of the condition vary considerably as well. Antibiotics and over the counter remedies like decongestants are most often employed for the treatment of common causes of sinus infections, however they are not useful in cases of a fungal sinus infection.
Symptoms vary as well between fungal sources of sinusitis and other causes. Nasal congestion and post nasal drip are the most common symptoms of a sinus infection brought on by bacteria and viruses, according to WebMD. And, these can be accompanied by fatigue and a sinus headache. Markedly thicker mucus and pain and pressure in the facial area are also commonly present symptoms. In a fungal sinus infection, some of the same symptoms are present as well, with nasal discharge and facial pain not being uncommon in cases of allergic fungal sinusitis. However, fungal sinusitis is not one condition, and symptoms may vary depending on what type it is. This multitude of types of the disorder is another very big difference between common post-cold sources and those that stem from fungus.
The American Academy of Otolaryngology describes four different types of fungal sinus infection, each different and presenting its own symptoms and level of seriousness. The first and aforementioned type, allergic sinusitis caused by fungus, is the most likely to be confused with bacterial and viral sources. Symptoms are similar in this type, although they can be longer lasting. Medscape points out that some severe symptoms that are not often present in bacterial and viral based conditions can occur as well such as eye muscle entrapment and atopy. It’s considered non invasive, and so is another variety, mycetoma fungal sinusitis. This condition offers similar symptoms to the allergic form and is caused from fungus spores or a fungus ball within the sinus cavity.
One of the largest differences between fungal and common sources of sinus infection is the fact that there are invasive forms of a fungal sinus infection that can be incredibly serious and even life threatening. These are less common outside of the United States, and are sometimes found in people who have compromised immune systems (whereby allergic forms can occur in otherwise healthy people). One of these is fulminant fungal sinusitis, and it’s an incredibly serious health condition. It’s a long lasting and very damaging condition which can result in the outright destruction of the nasal cavity as well as longer term damage to the close bony structures that hold the brain and the eyes, according to The American Academy of Otolaryngology. Oddly enough, symptoms that would likely be considered present with a fungal sinus infection are absent in these serious invasive forms, but eye examinations are often useful in determining their presence.
Essentially one of the best indicators to determine whether or not a sinus infection is caused from a fungus or everyday bacteria and viruses as a result of post illness swelling is duration. Common sourced infections tend to last around ten days, with lingering symptoms not uncommon for a few days following, although marked improvement is often observed. Conversely, in most cases, a fungal sinusitis displays a progressive worsening of symptoms, with many of them being attributed to facial swelling and pain as well as headaches and discomfort in the head area.
Because of the seriousness of conditions associated with fungal sinusitis, early detection is important to treatment options. In many cases, useless treatments like antibiotics and over the counter remedies are indicated long term for treatment of chronic sinusitis before the true underlying cause is determined which can prolong proper surgical treatment, according to Medscape. And, identifying cases of invasive forms of the condition is extremely important to mitigating the damaging effects of the underlying infection. As such, if symptoms persist that don’t seem associated with common and everyday forms of sinusitis or they are very long lasting, it’s important to seek medical advice.
Also watch this YouTube video courtesy of Dr. David Hill to learn how to control fungal sinusitis: