Sinus Infection While Pregnant

A sinus infection is caused due to inflammation of the sinuses and the mucous membrane which lines the nasal airways.The anterior area of skull is called the sinus and sinuses are small, air-filled cavities occurring in the sinus bones. Sinuses are located around the eyes, nose, cheeks, and ears, and next to the forehead. They offer protection against varied infections by trapping detrimental pathogens.

Inflammation of the sinuses and the nasal passage mucous membrane lining results in buildup of mucus in these parts, eventually causing nasal congestion. Sinus infection while pregnant is a common phenomenon. It typically begins around the 2nd month of pregnancy and persists till delivery of the baby.

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Symptoms of sinus infection while pregnant

Sometimes, sinus infections can result in only minor discomfort. However, a sinus infection while pregnant can be quite distressing as affected women are already dealing with the varied symptoms of pregnancy.

Some of the common signs and symptoms of a sinus infection while pregnant are listed below. Their intensity is dependent on the severity of the sinus infection.

  • Sinus headache/severe headache
  • Runny nose and/or blocked nose
  • Frequent sneezing
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Continuous nasal discharge
  • Sore throat
  • Mild fever
  • Nasal and chest congestion
  • Cough

Causes

Sinus infections typically occur due to infections of the upper respiratory tract by the common cold virus, or as part of an allergic reaction after contact with allergens that result in nasal passage irritation.

Sinus infection while pregnant rarely occurs due to the above two listed reasons. The primary cause of sinus infection in pregnant women is the immense hormonal changes that occur in the body during pregnancy. Different studies have also indicated that women are at greater risk to developing sinus infections while pregnant than when they are not.

During pregnancy, there is a substantial increase in estrogen levels. Such high levels of the reproductive hormone is what causes inflammation of the nasal passage lining. The hormonal imbalance also aids the process of excess mucus production. The sinus cavities eventually get clogged; it is not possible to properly drain the mucus; and this is what eventually causes sinus infection while pregnant.

Treatment of sinus infection while pregnant

Pregnancy is a delicate condition and hence intake of medications should be avoided as much as possible. Also, the remedial drugs for sinus infections can cause problems for the fetus. Hence, women may follow the below discussed home remedies for treating sinus infection while pregnant.

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It is important to note that the body tends to lose a lot of water during a sinus infection. Hence, affected women need to drink as much water as possible throughout the day and keep themselves hydrated. It is beneficial for both the mother and the baby.

Home remedies

  • Steam inhalation: Take a pan with a wide brim and boil some water in it. Take the pan away from the heat source, drape a cloth over the head, and inhale the steam emanating from the pan. This will unblock the sinus cavities and the nasal passage and alleviate the stuffiness. Perform this home remedy 2 times a day.
  • Saline nasal spray: It consists of water and salt and can be bought from a local drug store. Spray some drops of the saline mixture into the nasal openings and inhale. The mucus will then become loose, thereby allowing easy respiration. It is a safe option to use because unlike medicated decongestants it does not cause any side effects.
  • Nasal strips: If a blocked nose is causing breathing problems and preventing a peaceful sleep, then use of nasal strips can help get some relief. Nasal strips are adhesive strips that have to be put over the nasal bridge. The nose will then remain open through the night. Remove the strip in the morning.
  • Warm compresses: Pregnant women with a sinus infection may experience tenderness on the forehead and face region. Use of warm compresses will offer a soothing relief from such discomfort. Dip a washcloth in warm water, squeeze it almost dry, and then put them on the tender regions of the face.
  • Soup: Drinking a bowl of hot, steaming chicken soup is considered as one of the best remedies for any type of respiratory condition, including sinus infections while pregnant. Add some pepper powder to the soup to alleviate any accompanying symptoms like sore throat and/or headache.
  • Lemon juice: It is potent source of vitamin C which helps fight infections. Add fresh lemon juice to a glass of hot water. Stir it till it cools down sufficiently and then sip it all through the day. Intake of lemon juice can also decrease fever-associated high body temperatures.
  • Hot bath: Taking a hot bath for a few minutes can also help alleviate nasal congestion in pregnant women with sinus infection. The steam emanating from the hot water will clear out the mucus and drain it, thereby unclogging the nasal passage.

If sinus infection while pregnant does not resolve with above listed home remedies, then visit a doctor for treatment. The health care provider will prescribe ‘safe’ antibiotics and decongestants which have to be taken only as per the dosage recommended.

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