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What is Fungal Sinusitis & How is it Treated? | Type, Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention of Fungal Sinusitis

What is Fungal Sinusitis?

Sinusitis caused by fungi is called fungal sinusitis. Sinusitis caused by fungi may take a few different forms. Some of these may even be fatal to humans. Fungal sinusitis is more likely to cause serious consequences in those with compromised immune systems. Surgery and antifungal drugs are also options for treatment.

What is Fungal Sinusitis & How is it Treated?


Sinusitis is usually brought on by a bacterial or viral infection. An infection of the paranasal sinuses may be caused by bacteria or fungi. Sinusitis is an infection of the paranasal sinuses.

Fungi may thrive in a wide variety of ecosystems, including those created by humans, as well as in manmade buildings and even the air itself. Inhaling fungal particles or debris via the nose and into the lungs may be dangerous.

Sinus infections caused by fungi may be either invasive or noninvasive. Healthy people are more likely to suffer from the kind of sinus-only nasal infection that is typical among those with strong defense mechanisms. The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology estimates that annually 31 million Americans suffer from sinus infections.(1)

On the other hand, those with weaker immune systems than average may get severe fungal sinus infections. An invasive sinus infection may quickly become life-threatening, therefore prompt medical attention is essential for a full recovery.

Types of Fungal Sinus Infections

Fungal Rhinosinusitis

Allergic fungal rhinosinusitis is the most frequent kind of fungal sinus infection. Long-lasting sinusitis that does not spread to other areas is characterized by this subtype. Thick, yellowish-brown mucus is often expelled from the noses of patients suffering from this illness.

They also often complain of headaches, sinus pain, a loss of smell, and nasal congestion. Many individuals with AFRS also have the symptoms of asthma or an allergy to aspirin. Anti-inflammatory medications and saline irrigations are common therapies recommended for these individuals. Nasal polyps and fungi may block sinuses and need endoscopic sinus surgery to remove. Many people may have a recurrence of symptoms following surgery, although in general, the procedure is effective.

Acute Fulminant Fungal Rhinosinusitis

Acute fulminant fungal rhinosinusitis is the second kind of fungal infection that may harm the sinuses (AFFR). Fungal debris invading the sinus tissues is a frequent cause of sinus infection, especially in immunocompromised people. The vast majority of people who have this kind of issue either have diabetes or have already had chemotherapy or radiation therapy (two conditions that create immune suppression).

In addition to causing extensive tissue death, this kind of fungal sinus infection may rapidly move to the eye and the brain, making it a medical emergency. Patients with AFFR need immediate surgical excision of the diseased, necrotic tissue. The typical duration of a subacute sinus infection is between four and twelve weeks.(2)

Persistent Invasive Fungal Rhinosinusitis

Persistent invasive fungal rhinosinusitis is a fungus infection of the sinuses (CIFR). In contrast to AFFR, this fungus takes several weeks or months to spread. Despite its rarity, this specific sinus infection may affect anybody. It does not matter whether you have a compromised immune system or not (i.e. diabetes, steroid-users).

A fungal sinus infection may cause all the typical symptoms, plus eye swelling and impaired vision. In order to remove the infected tissue, a surgical assessment is necessary.

Anti-inflammatory and antifungal medication may be necessary if a fungal infection returns after being surgically removed. In America, this kind of illness is quite uncommon. Caused by the fungus Mycetoma, sinusitis is a painful and uncomfortable condition. The progression of the infection, like that of CIFR, is slow and steady over the course of several weeks or months. Sinusitis is an inflammatory disorder brought on by the invasion of fungal spores into the sinus tissues. Among all treatment options, surgery has shown to be the most effective. When a fungal ball is surgically removed, antifungal medication is typically unneeded.

Root Causes Of Fungal Sinus Infections

Fungus-related sinusitis often results from two distinct factors. Some scientists think that when people breathe in fungus, their immune systems ramp up their defences to fight off the invaders. We can’t stress this enough; it’s the deciding factor. The greatest threat here is posed by our own corporeal selves. When the fungus grows inside the patient’s sinuses, a different kind of fungal sinusitis develops. When the body’s defences are down, fungi might fester in one area or spread to others.

Symptoms Of Fungal Sinusitis

You must give your doctor a detailed account of your symptoms if you want him or her to successfully treat your fungal sinus infection. You may expect a thorough physical examination if your doctor has reason to suspect a fungal sinus infection. The use of digital imaging may help your doctor find any fungal spores that may have survived in your paranasal sinuses. Paranasal sinusitis most often affects the maxillary sinuses. Here are some of the less pleasant signs and symptoms that you can experience if you have a fungal sinus infection.

While there is likely more than one underlying reason for fungal sinus infections, the aforementioned risk factors increase the likelihood that you may develop an infection.

Treatment of Fungal Sinusitis

Fungal sinusitis is a serious condition that requires prompt medical attention. Treatment options include surgery and antifungal medication.

Surgery: Endoscopic sinus surgery may be necessary to remove nasal polyps and fungi that are blocking the sinuses. This procedure is effective in most cases, but some people may experience recurrence of symptoms. In cases of acute fulminant fungal rhinosinusitis (AFFR) and persistent invasive fungal rhinosinusitis (CIFR), surgical excision of the diseased, necrotic tissue is essential.

Antifungal Medication: Antifungal drugs may be prescribed to help fight off the infection and prevent recurrence. These medications can be taken orally or applied topically. It’s important to note that in some cases, surgery alone may be enough to remove the infected tissue and antifungal medication may not be needed.

In general, it is essential for people with compromised immune systems to take extra precautions to avoid exposure to fungal spores. Patients with fungal sinusitis should be closely monitored by their healthcare provider and receive prompt treatment if symptoms worsen or new symptoms appear.

How to Prevent Fungal Sinusitis?

Inhaling mold or fungus spores from the air is a common trigger for sinus infections caused by fungi. Inhaled fungal spores may get trapped in the paranasal sinuses’ mucosal membrane.

This might cause a wide range of health problems. Fungal sinusitis symptoms might appear in people who are susceptible to the condition because of a compromised immune system or a history of recurrent sinus infections. Nasal irrigation is quite helpful for those who suffer from chronic rhinosinusitis.(3)

Fungal sinusitis may be serious because the immune system’s response to the infection poses a risk to the delicate membranes that line your sinuses. The typical signs of a sinus infection result from this devastation.

If you wish to postpone the start of symptoms, you may try using these natural strategies to reduce your exposure to environmental fungus.

  1. Stop Eating Anything That Has Sugar Or Wheat In It

    You probably didn’t realize this, but your favorite fungus probably has a favorite food. Fungal infections are often caused by a person’s consumption of sugary and grain-based foods, so cutting down on them is a good first step in combating fungal growth.

  2. Cook Using Coconut Oil

    Coconut oil’s antifungal characteristics not only make it a superb supplement and healthier alternative to butter and vegetable oil, but also warrant its inclusion in your diet. Twelve to eighteen dollars is the usual amount for a quart of extra virgin coconut oil. There are many different kinds of coconut oil, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. If you want to prevent ingesting mycotoxins, look for coconut oil produced by a firm that exclusively uses fresh coconuts.

    Coconut oil’s antifungal properties have been the subject of scientific investigation. You may use it for butter or oil in any recipe.

  3. Avoid Eating Items That Have Mycotoxins In Them

    Foods containing mycotoxins are often avoided by those who have a high sensitivity to mold and fungus. Because mycotoxins include a wide variety of allergens, they may provoke unwanted responses in those who are sensitive to mold and fungi.

  4. Get More Fish Into Your Diet

    Consuming sufficient quantities of fish is an important measure in preventing the development of a fungal infection. Adding cod liver oil to your diet is another smart move. The omega-3 fats DHA and EPA, found in fish and cod liver oil, help maintain a healthy immune system. Another excellent food source of DHA is fish.

    Keep in mind that the nutritional value and health advantages of fish and cod liver oil cannot be matched by any other meal or supplement, not even omega-3 fatty acids.

    If you want your immune system to be in better shape, pick up a bottle of cod liver oil at your local health food shop.


Successful treatment of fungal sinusitis requires first identifying the specific kind of fungal sinus infection and its underlying cause. When the infection spreads swiftly throughout the body and begins to destroy tissue and nerves, immediate surgical intervention may be required. Rare though it may be, it does occur, and those with compromised immune systems are at greater risk.

Reducing inflammation with steroid medication and saline irrigations may alleviate some of the symptoms. Immunotherapy may help your body better withstand the harmful consequences of a fungal infection. Because of its persistent nature, this condition is best treated by an otolaryngologist or allergist.


Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 27, 2023

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