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Sinus Pressure

During a sinus infection or allergies, the sinus passages may become inflamed or irritated. Due to this irritation, the nasal passages can begin to narrow, causing obstruction in the nasal passages. The obstruction of mucus and air can cause a feeling of painful pressure in the sinus passage areas.

Causes of Sinus Pressure
A common cause of sinus pressure is a sinus infection, or sinusitis. Sinusitis can be caused by a bacteria, virus, or fungi. The infection source interacts with the nasal membranes and causes irritation. This irritation can make the sinuses swell, resulting in the blockage of air, mucus, and pus that causes pressure to build up in the sinuses.

An allergic reaction can also lead to sinus irritation, swelling, and sinus pressure. Allergies that can affect the sinuses include allergies to mold, pollen, pet dander, dust, and air pollution. They react similarly to a bacteria, virus, or fungi in the sinuses, causing swelling and nasal obstruction.

The American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery describes the process leading up to sinus pressure: “The body’s nasal and sinus membranes have similar responses to viruses, allergic insults, and common bacterial infections. Membranes become swollen and congested. This congestion causes pain and pressure; mucus production increases during inflammation, resulting in a drippy, runny nose. These secretions may thicken over time, may slow in their drainage, and may predispose to future bacterial infections of the sinuses.”

Sinus Pressure Relief
While sinus pressure can be a painful affliction, relief can be possible in many cases. The National Institutes of Health offers some treatment options for relief of sinus pressure and pain due to sinusitis and infections. Among many options, they suggest decongestants to reduce nasal congestion, pain relievers to reduce pressure-causing pain such as sinus headaches, inhaling vaporizer steam to soothe inflamed sinus cavities, and saline nasal sprays.

If allergies are the cause of your sinus membrane irritation and swelling, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology offer antihistamines as a way to prevent allergies before irritation begins. Another way to reduce allergic response is to avoid the substance a patient is allergic to or take extra precautions when interacting with that substance.

Pressure from a sinus infection can be very painful and upsetting. Recognizing possible triggers of sinus inflammation may help reduce the risk of sinus congestion, the leading factor for sinus pressure. It might be best to consult with a doctor if you feel you have allergies that may be contributing to sinus pressure or a sinus infection.


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