Can Sinus Problems Cause Dizziness?

According to the University of Michigan Health System, “Sinusitis is a common condition that affects millions of people across the world 1. It has been estimated that as many as 35 million Americans suffer from this disease at that it accounts for at least $2.4 billion in direct medical costs alone.” Sinus problems can cause a myriad of symptoms and adverse affects on the body like head pain, a persistent cough and dizziness.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.


The sinuses are a large empty cavity directly located behind the eyes and nose. Their purpose is to catch any unwanted airborne particles from entering the lungs. The sinuses are covered with a thin layer of mucus to keep themselves clean and supple. When the sinus cavity becomes irritated or infected, it reacts by over-producing mucus and swelling, cutting off the airways and building up pressure throughout the head. The sinuses are very temporal and can be irritated by change in humidity, allergies or the common cold.


When the sinus cavity is inflamed, it swells to its maximum capacity, preventing normal air flow and abnormal amounts of pressure to build up in and around the sinuses. Pressure is placed on the back of the eyes, the roof of the mouth and the inner ear. As the sinus cavity places pressure on the inner ear, it can cause a person's equilibrium to become off-balanced, causing dizziness.


To properly treat dizziness caused by sinus pressure, a person first must deal with the sinus issue. If the sinuses are infected, prescription antibiotics are needed to kill the infection. If the sinuses are simply irritated, an over-the-counter decongestant will help calm the swelling and irritation. An over-the-counter mucus expectorant is also recommended to break up stubborn congestion and assist the body in draining properly. Once the infection or irritation is cleared up, the dizziness will subside.


In order to prevent dizziness from sinus issues, a person should maintain a well-balanced diet, drink at least six 8-oz. glasses of water daily and get at least eight hours of sleep a night. This will keep the immune system functioning strong to prevent infection and the common cold. An individual should also take a decongestant at the first sign of nasal congestion. This will prevent the sinus cavity from swelling and pressing on the inner ear.


If you are experiencing dizziness from sinus issues, see a doctor to avoid any further complications. If dizziness persists, it can lead to nausea, making you vomit. If the sinus issues go untreated, it can cause infection in the ear, throat or chest. When infection spreads into various parts of the body, it may warrant hospitalization to cure the issue.