When you think of the causes of sinus infections, you probably think of a virus or bacteria. Though not as common as viral and bacterial sinus infections, fungus can also be behind the pain and pressure of chronic sinusitis.

Fungi are found both outdoors and indoors. When we breathe in, we take fungi spores into our sinuses and lungs. Occasionally, these fungi take up shop in the sinuses or respiratory tract, causing infections. Fungal infections are classified as either non-invasive or invasive.

Non-invasive Fungal Sinusitis

If you have a normal immune system, chances are a fungal sinus infection will be non-invasive. This means that the infection will stay localized and only affect the sinuses. The most common types of fungal sinusitis are colonization, allergic fungal sinusitis, and fungus ball.

Invasive Fungal Sinusitis

Typically, invasive fungal sinusitis only affects those that have an otherwise compromised immune system. It is seen most often in people with cancer or uncontrolled diabetes. When an invasive fungal infection takes root, it quickly spreads to the respiratory tract and other soft tissue, and can become life threatening in a short amount of time. Invasive fungal sinusitis may be acute, chronic or granulomatous.

Fungal sinus infections require different treatment than bacterial and viral infections. It is always safest to schedule an appointment with Atlanta ENT if sinusitis becomes a problem.

Ramie A. Tritt, MD, President of Atlanta ENT