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    Includes Expert Content
    Foggy Head / Disconnected Feeling
    An_239484 posted:
    I have had a sinus / ENT issue for about 9 weeks now. My ears feel full and pop constantly. I have a post nasal drip. Intermittent sinus and head pressure.

    The strangest part is a feeling of being disconnected or having a foggy head that has accompanyied it for the entire 9 weeks. Can this be caused by a sinus or ENT problem?

    I have an appointment to see an ENT but they can't get me in for 5 weeks and I'm becoming very frustrated with feeling this way.
    Rod Moser, PA, PhD responded:
    Five weeks to be examined would frustrate anyone.... Can you be seen by your primary care provider before that time?

    Post-nasal drainage (from the sinuses) can compromise the normal function of your Eustachian tubes. This can cause ear fullness. The popping may be your e-tubes trying to equalize middle ear pressure. Sinus infections can be "chronic" - lasting a long time if not properly treated. This can certainly cause the head pressure. The term "foggy head" is really a bit vague for me to really comment.

    Do you have allergies or work around people (especially children) that may have lots of colds? Allergies are a common underlying issue, and frequent or back-to-back colds can overload your sinuses and set the stage for infections.
    hjrasool replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
    I've seen my primary care physician twice. She recommended Mucinex which I tried. It didn't help. She thinks it is a viral issue and I need to wait it out.

    I'm certainly willing to wait it out but the foggy headedness is my biggest concern. I agree that the description is vague. I wish I could express the feeling better. I feel like I'm 80% there and just a bit off. A bit disconnected from my surroundings.

    I don't know if this could be related to the sinus and ear issues or that is not even possible.

    I do have allergies but not very often and they've never taken this form (disconnected feeling). I started taking Zyrtec this past Monday. Should I start feeling relief within 4 days if it is allergy related?
    Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to hjrasool's response:
    I really do not have enough information about your case to be able to predict outcome. Viruses typically just last a week....not NINE weeks, so allergies certainly may be contributory..

    I hope the ENT is about to get a handle on your foggy, disconnected feelings. Again, I really don't know what you are experiencing...I am sorry.
    Winterblue2 replied to hjrasool's response:
    hello hjrasool. I was reading your post about this disconnected feeling that you have. The way I read it, you seem to have doubts about this feeling being related to sinus problems.

    I am going to go out on a limb here and ask if you have any anxiety or depression issues? Just a shot in the dark, but I have experienced this "feeling" myself. There is an explanation for it and I happen to have anxiety/depression issues myself.

    If this is totally out of the question I'm outta here. Like I wrote, just a thought.

    Take care now.
    hjrasool replied to Winterblue2's response:
    Honestly, at this point I'm not going to rule anything out. I've never had anxiety or depression problems in the past. But it's been 4 months now and to say I'm frustrated would be an understatement.

    I've been to my primary care physician, an ENT and nuerology. They can't seem to find the cause. I became sick one weekend with extremely plugged ears, my lungs were burning and painful and my throat felt really tight.

    Ever since then I've been fatigued, pressure in face, plugged ears, and the foggy-headed feeling I mentioned. The foggy headed feeling seems to get worse later in the day and is more prevelant if I exert myself throughout the day.
    Winterblue2 replied to hjrasool's response:
    Hello again. I wish I could help you more with that. I have been really sick with what the doc thinks is chronic sinusitis. From the post nasal drip, only one of my ears has been affected. My lungs seem to be fine, except my chest feels heavy and a little achey at times but I know it's my sickness that is causing my anxiety to soar therefore the chest discomfort. I have been having quite a few anxiety episodes throughout the day since being sick.

    Just another thought. If you are taking anti-depress/anxiety meds plus meds for your current problem, this could be a possibility.

    I am not a doctor and thought I'd just try and help ya figure this out. So sorry you are having such a hard time getting to the bottom of this. The frustration I feel with not being able to shake this I can sympathize. If you find the culprit let us know, meanwhile, if I should happen to stumble across anything that might help, I'll let you know.

    You take care!!
    hjrasool replied to Winterblue2's response:
    I'll be sure to keep you posted. I know how frustrating this can be and hope you find some answers too. I had balloon sinuplasty to open up my maxillary sinus about 3 weeks ago. It has relieved some of the pressure but not all of it.

    I still have pressure behind my nose and above the roof of my mouth. My ears are better than they were a few months ago but still not normal.

    The fatigue and feeling disconnected are the most frustrating. I'm hoping they go away on their own after time. I'm not sure that will happen though. I think whatever is causing all the pressure is resulting in fatigue and affecting my entire system.
    An_241750 responded:
    I'm willing to bet there's a connection because i have the same exact thing and came here trying to find out if my sinus infection is causing me to feel disconnected as well. I feel like my brain is foggy. My perception has changed. Almost as if i am under the influence of a drug. Similar to the atmosphere/perception change that occurs when you get laughing gas at the dentist.
    JCantebury replied to An_241750's response:
    If I am correct, the term you are looking for is "Derealization" and it is the kind of ting that gets worse the more you think about it. If you go "wow, things really are starting to feel strange or unfamiliar or unreal" then it will get progressively worse. If you are ignore it and distract yourself with something to concentrate it gets better. I have noticed I almost ALWAYS get feelings of derealization when I have issues with middle ear/sinus etc. but I question whether or not there is any real results on it. Derealization is extremely difficult to explain and virtually impossible to measure.
    hjrasool replied to JCantebury's response:
    I'm not sure if the sinus infection is the cause of the disconnected feeling or if both are symptoms of something else. As I stated before, this all started after a bad respiratory infection (viral?).

    I had balloon sinuplasty to open my maxillary sinus but there is a possibility the sinus issue was there before my respiratory infection. Additionally, a polyp was found in my nostril last week which was not there a month ago at the time of my surgery. I'm currently on steriods for that.

    I can relate to feeling like you're drugged or intoxicated in some way. It feels as if I've had a few drinks and am just a bit off. My perception, especially my vision seems to be the most effected.

    I'm not sure if this is derealization or what. Up until 5 months ago I was a very active, healthy person with a very satisfying personal and professional life. I'm not sure if derealization is a psychological symptom or the result of a physical issue. I'm not going to rule it out but I don't know much about it.

    I don't seem to feel better or worse when I focus on it. It seems present constantly and inhibits what I'm doing regardless of whether I am thinking about it or not. It's a constant "somewhat out-of-it" feeling; somewhat disconnected. Seems to be the worst when I'm driving or reading.
    Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to hjrasool's response:
    Keep working closely with your medical providers. These more difficult diagnoses are done in "steps", so your doctor really needs to stay involved. Don't give up until you have some answers or a solution, and don't let your doctor throw up his arms in frustration either. If he/she can't seem to help, see someone else for a second opinion.
    hjrasool replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
    Thanks for the words of advice Dr. Moser. My current primary care provider is out of ideas. I'm actually heading to the Mayo Clinic in AZ in January.

    This has been a very frustrating and humbling experience. I'm still hopefull of a full recovery but after 5 months (which isn't that long in the grand scheme) it's hard not to feel helpless.

    Thanks again.
    Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to hjrasool's response:
    You are approaching this problem appropriately. As a clinician, when I reach a diagnostic impasse, I refer patients to the best facility that I can find....local or not. The way I look at things, the only difference in cost from seeing a local specialist (who may not be the best) to traveling 3000 miles to see someone who is considered the best, is the cost of transportation....a plane ticket.

    If you have health insurance, make sure to get prior authorization, if this is required. Diagnostic workups can be pricey.
    Winterblue2 replied to hjrasool's response:
    Thanks for letting me know about the ballon sinuplasty. I hope it was not to unpleasant for you. I can certainly understand the fatigue as I have CFS and this sinus infection has really taken what's left out of me. The disconnected feeling has me stumped. I'm familiar w/it but for me it was due to my depression/anxiety issues. It is hard to explain it if you haven't been there.

    Is the procedure supposed to clear things up right away or take awhile? If you have been sick with this infection for some time, I'm sure it can cause you to feel fatigue.

    Just realizing that this post was 3 weeks ago. Haven't been posting much, just sleeping.

    Unless I read it wrong, the polyp that was found after your surgery will be treated with a steriod? No removal procedure I hope.

    Hope things have improved for you after all of this.

    Take good care now.

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