If you have been diagnosed with sinusitis you might be worried about it leading to bigger problems, such as tonsillitis. The truth is your tonsils and sinuses are connected and you could end up with problems with one if you have problems with the other. It’s important to understand the connection between the two and how you can go about treating any infections in either your tonsils or your sinuses.
What is Sinusitis?
Start by having a good understanding of what sinusitis is, so you can understand how to treat it and prevent further problems. It is usually caused by a virus or allergies, which makes it hard to treat, but if the cause is bacterial you may want to get antibiotics for it so it doesn’t cause any worse problems.
Sometimes, pain in your sinuses is misunderstood. Allergies, a cold, and even tooth infections can cause pain in your sinuses making it hard to diagnose sinusitis accurately. Besides pain in our sinuses and face, often with a sinus infection there is colored discharge coming out of your nose and sinuses when your blow or cough.
Be mindful of pain that is more than just in your sinuses. Persistent upper tooth and mouth pain could be a symptom of infection in your sinuses. Also, be on the lookout for a buildup of pressure. Sometimes it’s less about pain and more about pressure or a build up behind your eyes. You may just feel uncomfortable and/or like you have to blow your nose a lot.
How about Tonsillitis?
Tonsillitis feels different from sinusitis, as long as you don’t have them both at the same time. With tonsillitis, you are going to feel swollen in the back of your throat and likely have a very sore throat. Your pain should mostly be in your mouth and throat, and less in your nose and eyes if you have tonsillitis and not sinusitis.
If you have yellow mucus and pressure behind your nose and eyes, chances are it is an infection with your sinuses. If your tonsils are the problem, you might have had a lot of bouts with strep throat and other problems with your mouth and throat.
Tonsillitis might go away on its own within a week or so, but you need to keep a close eye on it. It can lead to an infection of your lymph nodes, which affects your immune system and your ability to fight off other infections. You can give things a couple of days and use Motrin or Advil and if you are feeling worse, then make sure you get treatment.
The Connection between Tonsils and Sinuses
It’s important to treat your sinusitis because if it gets worse it could indeed lead to tonsillitis, bronchitis, eye infection or even meningitis, if the infection travels throughout your body.
Ideally, you want to avoid chronic sinusitis and chronic tonsillitis, which could lead you to need various surgical procedures to address. If that happens we’re happy to help you as well as that is our area of expertise.
Tonsillitis could cause Sinus Problems
While swollen tonsils aren’t the end of the world and shouldn’t cause you any life-threatening problems, they could lead to sinus infections and other discomfort. Unfortunately, you might see a bit of a pattern. If your tonsils or adenoids get swollen or prevent drainage, you are probably going to end up with sinus infections.
It’s important that if you have any type of pain or infection anywhere in your tonsils or sinuses that you get checked out by an ear, nose, and throat doctor. An accurate diagnosis can be critical to ensure you get the right treatment, which help ensure the infection doesn’t spread in either direction.
Symptoms to get Checked out
Sometimes the hardest part can be knowing when it’s more than the common cold or allergies. For a regular cold, you don’t really need a doctor and you don’t have an infection that requires treatment. So, how do you know if you have a problem with your sinuses or tonsils that is more severe than a common cold? If you have any of these symptoms, make sure you see a doctor:
- Mucus that is not clear for more than 3-5 days. Yellow or dark mucus is signs of an infection.
- Red or swollen tonsils accompanied by a sore throat for more than 3-5 days.
- Facial pain for more than 3-5 days. If you have an infection, your face might be sore to the touch.
Don’t waste time assuming you have a cold that does not require any treatment. If you leave sinusitis untreated that’s when you can have more complicated problems, as a sinus infection could affect your tonsils. If you see an ENT specialist early to treat your infection with medicines, then you should be able to prevent a more serious illness from coming your way.
While you are waiting to decide if you should see an ENT doctor, there a few things you can do to make yourself feel better. None of these remedies will cure your infection, but they might help with some symptoms.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep. If you are just starting to feel unwell, get a good night’s sleep and see if you feel better or worse in the morning.
- Gargle with salt water that is warm. This can help sooth an achy throat. Remember, it won’t cure what ails you, but if your throat is on fire it might bring you some relief.
- Try some lozenges. Cough drops could also help soothe a sore throat.
- Using a humidified can add moisture to the air, which could help you if sinusitis is what ails you.
- Take Motrin or Advil to decrease inflammation in the throat and sinuses.
The best thing you can do is to make an appointment with your ENT doctor, as he or she will be able to diagnose you and help get you on a treatment plan that will prevent any further illnesses from setting in.
For More Information
Our ENT team of specialists can answer any questions you have about your ears, nose, and throat, including sinusitis or tonsillitis and what those diagnoses means for you. Reach out and give us a call today! You can reach us at by calling (818) 888-7878 or (818) 986-1200 or by emailing us at [email protected].