Antibiotics for Sinusitis – Do They Work for Fungal Sinusitis?

Antibiotics for Sinusitis

Most sinus infections are caused by viruses, however in as many as 60% of cases, progression of the illness leads to a bacterial infection, as explained by The Washington Post. Antibiotics for sinusitis are often employed in these cases, although they are not always necessary. They are useful in treating the bacterial source of the infection, which can lead to a reduction in symptoms over the course of about ten days. They are less often used in chronic sinusitis treatment which typically has an anatomical source or is related to persistent allergies. But, in cases of fungal sinusitis, antibiotics are not normally associated with treatment therapy.

There are two classifications of fungal sinusitis. One is the serious and often life threatening invasive type. Fungal sinusitis symptoms associated with one of the two types of invasive forms of the condition are often markedly different and much more severe than with the noninvasive forms of the condition, which can often present similar symptoms to those caused by bacterial and viral sources. A sinus headache, pain and pressure and discharge are all not uncommon. But, while the symptoms may seem similar, antibiotics for sinusitis will do little to relieve them when fungus is the underlying cause of the infection.

Typical sinusitis treatment for non invasive forms of fungal infections employs the use of scraping or surgical removal of the offending material. This is normally followed by saline irrigation to the area and thorough rinsing to ensure removal of all of the fungal material to prevent recurrences. In some cases, subsequent surgeries may follow to correct issues found within the nasal cavity. Oftentimes, anti fungals are not used as a part of treatment for noninvasive forms of sinusitis. However, some do choose to employ home remedies such as using nasal irrigation or oregano oil for sinus infection prevention following treatment. While not typically used in any part of treatment, antibiotics for sinusitis are often prescribed to people suffering from fungal sources of the condition, though merely through a case of misdiagnosis.

Mycetoma is one form of non invasive fungal sinusitis. points out that it’s essentially characterized by a mass of fungal matter known as a fungus ball that plants itself within the sinus cavity. This can lead to obstruction and a whole laundry list of related symptoms including nasal drainage and pain and pressure. In some cases, this fungal ball can become infected with bacteria, which can create a dramatic worsening of symptoms such as a thickening of mucus and symptoms present in the chest or throat area. Antibiotics for sinusitis can indeed provide some improvement to symptoms therefore in fungal infections if the matter in the sinus cavity has become infected, according to However, because the fungal matter itself is not affected by the antibiotic medication, relief is only temporary, with subsequent bacterial infections often following. This can lead to a delay in diagnosis because the temporarily effective nature of the antibiotics for sinusitis can give the false impression that the infection is caused by bacterium when really it’s a result of a fungal infection that itself has become infected.

It’s not uncommon for a sinus infection that is fungal in nature to be misdiagnosed for the viral or bacterial aftermath of a respiratory illness. Identification is key to proper treatment which normally does not include the use of antibiotics for sinusitis. Those susceptible to allergic forms of the condition include people who have asthma or a history of negative reaction to fungus. And, recent injury or trauma to the nasal area can provide a predisposition to mycetoma, according to The American Academy of Otolaryngology. If any of these risk factors are present, it’s possible that apparent symptoms may have a fungal source. If not, a longer than normal presentation with symptoms extending well beyond the typical ten day to two week infection period that is common in bacterial and viral presentations of the conditions may also indicate a fungal source.

Antibiotics for sinusitis are not at all effective if the source is fungal in nature. And, while they can provide some reduction in symptoms if bacteria have infected the offending fungal matter, the positive effects are temporary in nature as the antibiotic medications are useless against fungus. If fungal sources are suspected to be the cause of a sinus infection, removal of the offending matter is the only effective treatment option.