February 9, 2012

Report From My Gut: Stuffed Sinuses and GERD?

Carousel, Cape Cod Mall

Since Saturday, I've been experiencing stuffy sinuses.  It's worse in the morning when I wake up, and I've had the that spongy feeling and intermittent headaches.   It's disappointing, because I have been doing well with controlling my GERD issues.  A quick summary:

For some reason these past weeks, I don't feel as "stressed out" and my GERD seems to be quieting down -- not as much belching, food in throat sensations, and no reflux or apnea.

A long weekend out of the city was relaxing and restorative (and I successfully managed to keep my GERD symptoms in check by eating small portions and eating slowly, even with a few decadent meals and desserts).   I have been keeping up with a daily routine during the workweek by climbing six stories of stairs each morning and on my lunch break -- it is not always easy but I always feel fabulous once done.   I am drinking more tea than usual.   The annual Coffee and Tea Festival takes place in a few weeks, so I thought I'd "prep" by weeding out some of my tea collection by drinking it up, and also get my body ready for more caffeine than usual.  (Crazy but true.  Or, any excuse to drink more tea?)   I've been drinking a lot of Oolong and green teas, including Harney & Son's spectacular Lung Ching.

So, to have to deal with this "sinus" issue is annoying.  It seems like once one body part or condition is mended, another one declines.  (Let's not talk about my new reading glasses, left hip, and chipped tooth.)


A quick search online confirms sinus infections, post-nasal drip, and even pneumonia can be side effects of GERD. 

As usual with so many GERD concerns, it's challenging to find "authoritative" sources about this*, but here is an American Journal of Gastroenterology article about a clinical trial by University of Nebraska researchers exploring GERD and sinusitis.

An e-zine article talks about the connection between mucous production to combat acid reflux and clogged sinuses.

Here's Steve's patient story about the "viscious cycle" of GERD and chronic sinusitis (with some IBS thrown in).

Livestrong addresses the connection between GERD and sinus problems, as well.

*I find most of the GERD lore that is online is generated by lay sources.  But maybe that's because GERD sufferers have such a vested interest in ridding themselves of their symptoms/causes.  And, I find doctor recommendations usually involve some kind of drug regimen, so those of us who would like to find a non-drug remedy need to stay creative and open-minded about what works, and in tune with our own bodies.


  1. I hope your sinuses improve soon! BTW, did you see the article in the NYT yesterday about mindful eating? Doesn't particularly relate to GERD, but it does relate to some of your earlier posts. :-)


  2. Ugh, I feel your pain. Almost ALL of my symptoms are sinus-related, which led me for years to think it was some sort of allergy or asthma thing. Saline nasal spray seems to help, along with drinking more water. I am glad I found your blog!