Sinus Problems & CFS in More Detail

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.

Cyn is Katie's mom, Esther's Mémé, and a Support Engineer. She lives in the Atlanta area with her life partner, Rick, and their critters. She knits, does counted-thread needlework, reads, makes music, plays TTRPGs, and spends too much time online.
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