I posted a link to an article about this earlier, but it wasn’t as detailed as this one from Medscape. I am posting the entire article, as I realize some people may not want to sign up for a Medscape account:
Rhinosinusitis Linked to Chronic Fatigue, Bodily Pain
Laurie Barclay, MD
Aug. 15, 2003 — Rhinosinusitis symptoms are significantly prevalent in patients with chronic fatigue or bodily pain, according to the results of a case-control study published in the August 11/25 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. These findings are in agreement with the otolaryngological literature suggesting that endoscopic sinus surgery can resolve the fatigue and pain in these patients.
“Chronic fatigue is a condition that frustrates both doctors and their patients since treatments directed at just the symptoms without knowing the cause are typically ineffective,” author Alexander C. Chester, MD, from Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC, says in a news release. “While sinusitis will not be the answer for everyone who comes to an internist with unexplained fatigue or pain, this study does suggest that it should be considered as part of a patient’s medical evaluation.”
Among 297 patients in Dr. Chester’s private internal medicine practice, 65 patients (22%) had unexplained chronic fatigue, 33 (11%) had unexplained chronic pain, and 26 patients (9%) had both symptoms.
Compared with 232 patients without unexplained chronic fatigue (UCF), patients with UCF more frequently had rhinosinusitis symptoms including facial pressure (odds ratio [OR], 9.7; 95% confidence interval [CI], 5.2–18.2), heavy-headedness (OR, 21.9; 95% CI, 10.9–44.0), nasal obstruction (OR, 4.3; 95% CI, 2.3–7.9), frontal headache (OR, 13.6; 95% CI, 6.5–28.5), postnasal drip (OR, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.6–5.0), sore throat (OR, 3.1; 95% CI, 1.5–6.6), and tender cervical lymph nodes (OR, 9.2; 95% CI, 4.3–19.7).
Patients with bodily pain and those with chronic fatigue syndrome also had a similar predominance of rhinosinusitis symptoms. Pollen allergy was not more common in these patients or in UCF cases than in controls. Rhinosinusitis symptoms were at least as common in UCF as gastrointestinal complaints, sleep disturbance, and psychiatric problems, and they were more common in UCF than in fatigue explained by a physical or mental illness.
Study limitations include small size, cohort study design, possible observer bias, and reliance on subjective reporting.
“We clearly need to do more research to see if sinus treatments alleviate fatigue and pain. This study does, however, offer hope for possible help in the future,” said Chester.
Arch Intern Med. 2003;163:1832–1836
Reviewed by Gary D. Vogin, MD
I found the article especially interesting as my sinusitis problems have increased as my pain levels have increased — and there’s a definite correlation with Katie’s congestion and pain levels, too.