A stuffy nose that lasts for months is enough to get anyone a little down. Still, it’s surprising to discover that depression affects as many as one-fourth of people with chronic sinusitis—long-lasting inflammation of the sinuses. That’s a lot of distress for an illness that many people consider a minor nuisance rather than a major threat.
What’s the connection between your sinus health and your mental health? Here’s what recent research shows.
Sinus Problems Get You Down
Many sinusitis sufferers will tell you that it’s not such a minor blip after all. Chronic sinusitis may cause long-term nasal stuffiness, thick nasal discharge, a reduced sense of smell, and a feeling of pain or pressure around the eyes, nose, or forehead. Other possible symptoms include postnasal drip, coughing at night, ear fullness, jaw aches, sore throat, bad breath, and tiredness.
Together, these symptoms may trigger or worsen depression in several ways:
Depression Is a Pain in the Sinus
Once you’re depressed, everything in your life may seem bleaker and harder to manage—and that includes your sinus symptoms. Studies have shown that depression may amplify sinus-related problems in a number of ways:
When you have both chronic sinusitis and full-blown depression, each can fuel the other, making the symptoms worse. So treating just one condition or the other may not bring complete relief. To feel your best, you may need to seek professional diagnosis and treatment for both conditions.