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What Is Nasal Fungus?

Nasal fungus may result in a runny nose.
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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 24 September 2014
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Nasal fungus is any form of fungus that invades the nose or sinus passages. This is a serious condition that has been investigated as potentially being responsible for many sinus infections that are long-term or chronic. Just about the worst thing to do when fungal infection is present is to use antibiotics, since these may kill off needed bacteria that might fight the fungus. While complete studies on this matter are not available there may be real reason to determine type of infection when people have chronic sinusitis.

Just about any area of the body can be prone to fungus overgrowth, and nasal fungus clearly proves that. There’s always a certain amount of fungus in the nose but if it overgrows, it may create fungus balls that cause pressure in the sinuses, possibly resulting in congestion and runny nose. Occasionally, nasal fungus results in the growth of polyps too. Both of these situations may require some surgical intervention and additional treatment.

A certain population appears to be greatly at risk for development of nasal fungus infections that may affect the sinuses dramatically. People with depleted immune systems, especially those with advanced AIDs or who have or are currently undergoing treatment for cancer may lack the resources to adequately reduce normal fungal population. They may develop a condition called invasive fungal sinusitis, which may be lethal without treatment. Surgery and prolonged antifungal drugs might be necessary to address this.

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Some people simply seem to have an inflammatory response to higher than normal populations of nasal fungus and this, in some cases, may be the reason why people get chronic sinusitis. This is not fully proven, but it does appear that in preliminary studies, at least some chronic sinusitis cases are not bacterial in nature, and knowing this makes it easy to understand why some sinus infections appear to resist treatment, no matter how many antibiotics are used.

With preliminary studies, doctors have a new way to treat chronic sinusitis. Instead of using antibiotics, treatment might have several components. These could include using corticosteroid nasal sprays, and oral or spray antifungal agents. In studies conducted by the Mayo Clinic in the early 2000s, treatment appeared to take a long time, and might require people to remain on medications for several months before getting relief. Moreover, the Mayo study notes that recurrence was certainly possible and many people needed more than one treatment course to recover.

This may be one reason why nasal fungus is treated with surgery in many instances. Being able to remove as much fungi as possible means any medicines after a surgery have less fungi to fight. Despite discoveries by doctors, a simple nasal fungus treatment is still lacking, though it is certainly hoped one will be evolved in the very near future.

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