Nausea From Sinus Drainage: Causes and Treatment 

March 4, 2023

6 minutes

Reviewed by Michael Kaplan, MD

Sinusitis is nothing to sneeze at! You may already be familiar with the most common symptoms, like headaches, congestion, and pressure inside your sinus cavities, but sinus infections can also cause post-nasal drip — more often referred to as drainage — which may lead to nausea and even vomiting. There exists a link between drainage and stomach issues as well. Post-nasal drip also leaves the throat feeling sore and raw, and in more serious instances, the pain can spread up to the ears. Fortunately, people who suffer at the hands of nausea from sinus drainage have several options available to relieve their symptoms. Although over-the-counter and at-home remedies can typically take care of the problem, there are certain cases where seeing a sinus specialist may be more beneficial in diagnosing and treating your sinus problems. 

How sinusitis causes nausea

Sinusitis, also known as a sinus infection, occurs when the sinuses are blocked by excess mucus and other bodily fluids. These fluids often appear as bright yellow snot and prevent proper drainage.

More specifically, post-nasal drip causes mucus to accumulate at the back of your nose, which then drips down into your throat and creates a raw soreness. This extra mucus drains down into your stomach, which can cause nausea and vomiting in some patients. To make matters worse, post-nasal drip tends to increase late at night and early in the morning —  the times when you’re less likely to have food in your stomach to absorb some of the fluids. 

The link between sinus and stomach problems

Can sinus drainage cause an upset stomach and diarrhea? is a common question regarding the mucus in your stomach causing nausea and vomiting. For many people who suffer from sinus issues, the answer is yes. Infected mucus can spread bacteria or fungus down to the digestive tract. Although people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and similar gastric conditions are the most vulnerable, anyone with sinusitis may end up facing an upset stomach or diarrhea alongside their other symptoms. Because chronic sinus infections put you at risk for chronic stomach problems, it’s crucial to get care as soon as possible to prevent further distress.   

What causes sinusitis?

Taking proactive steps to avoid the most common causes of sinusitis reduces your risk of also contending with sinus infection nausea. Step one of better understanding your own sinus issues involves finding the factor or factors that cause your sinus infections in the first place.

Some of the most common sinusitis triggers include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Stress: Can anxiety cause sinus problems? Stress, anxiety, and sinusitis often accompany one another. Mental health causes problems with your overall physical health, including suppressing your immune system and demotivating you to eat nutritious foods. Finding ways to manage your stress and anxiety through therapy and/or other means will make you less susceptible to all sorts of illnesses, not just sinus infections.
  • Weather changes: Sudden weather changes may lead to sinus issues if one of your triggers is rapid shifts in barometric pressure. While you can’t control the weather, you can address your symptoms with over-the-counter medications or a trip to a sinus specialist.
  • Seasonal allergies: Spring and fall allergies and sinusitis tend to go hand in hand for some people around these times of the year. It’s entirely possible to relieve symptoms using over-the-counter options, but seeking long-term treatment for your allergies is more likely to provide extended relief.

Regardless of how your sinus infections originate, all of them pose the risk of nausea from sinus drainage and the possibility of gastric issues. Once you have a solid idea of what external factors cause your problems, you can learn how to best avoid them and what treatment options are available.   

How to stop nausea from sinus drainage

Most of the time, all it takes is some simple dietary changes to help relieve the symptoms of your sinus-related nausea.

  • Drink herbal teas: For a natural solution that provides two-in-one relief, herbal teas (also known as tisanes) with peppermint or chamomile soothe sinus pain in addition to relieving nausea.
  • Consume ginger: That familiar ginger ale you drank while dealing with colds as a kid works just as well when you’re an adult! Ginger is known to reduce the inflammation and nausea caused by sinusitis. If you don’t care for the taste of pure ginger, ginger capsules, tea, and/or candies are also options alongside the ever-reliable ginger ale.
  • Avoid dairy: Dairy products provide an ideal environment for offending bacteria to multiply and find their way to your stomach. It actively promotes the creation of mucus and phlegm as well, so avoiding dairy can reduce levels of harmful bacteria and provide symptom relief.

If these changes and over-the-counter remedies fail, it may be a sign that you’re contending with acute or chronic sinusitis. People with this condition suffer from frequent sinus infections that can last up to eight weeks. If you think you might have chronic sinusitis, you will need to seek professional treatment to achieve any kind of lasting relief.

Dealing with nausea from sinus drainage? Kaplan Sinus Relief provides long-term solutions. 

If your nausea from sinus drainage and other sinus issues won’t go away, you may be a strong candidate for balloon sinuplasty in Houston. This in-patient procedure is quick, innovative, and provides lasting chronic sinusitis nausea relief on top of many other benefits. Balloon sinuplasty usually doesn’t take more than a half-hour with most patients returning to work within 24 hours of the procedure.

If you’re still unsure about whether or not balloon sinuplasty is necessary for your medical needs, Dr. Kaplan, Kaplan Sinus Relief’s balloon sinuplasty pioneer, is here to help. Experience incredible relief for yourself. Contact us today and schedule a consultation to find out if a balloon sinuplasty is right for you.

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This article has been reviewed and approved by Michael Kaplan, MD


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