Sinus Infections And Candida: Are They Linked?

woman headaches

Do you suffer from chronic sinusitis? If so, you might be surprised to hear that there is a link between this frustrating condition and Candida. Your regular sinus infections might just be caused by the exact same pathogenic fungus which causes digestive problems, yeast infections, headaches and fatigue.

A study by the Mayo clinic looked at a group of 210 chronic sinusitis sufferers. They collected mucus from the nasal cavity of each of these patients, and tested each sample for fungi and bacteria. The result? They found that an incredible 96% of those patients had fungi in their mucus. In fact the average patient had around 3 different strains of fungus in his or her mucus.

The researchers concluded that the traditional assumptions about chronic sinus infections (that only 10% were fungi-related) were wrong. They were actually being caused by the body’s reaction to pathogenic fungi. In patients with a sensitivity to fungi (e.g. Candida sufferers), the presence of fungal cells in the nasal cavity triggered an immune response that resulted in irritation, inflammation and sinusitis.

Of course, this means that the usual method of treating chronic sinus infections was wrong too. Although most acute (short term) sinus infections are in fact caused by bacteria, we now know that the chronic (repeated, longer term) sinus infections are fungal. So the regular treatment of antibiotics would work for the acute sinusitis but not for the chronic sinusitis.

In fact, treating a chronic sinus infection with antibiotics could actually make it worse, because the balance of the intestinal flora would be further disturbed.

Even though the evidence might seem clear, this hasn’t filtered through to common medical practice. Just take a look at the list of most common treatments for sinusitis on First on the list is antibiotics (even though a chronic infection is far more likely to be fungal than bacterial). Next up are decongestants to relieve nasal congestion, analgesics to relieve any pain and finally corticosteroids to reduce inflammation.

These treatments are either addressing the wrong problem (i.e. the antibiotics) or simply attempting to relieve the symptoms. The one thing that is totally absent from this list is any kind of treatment for fungal infection. And according to the research from the Mayo Clinic, there’s a 96% chance that is the underlying cause of your chronic sinus problems.

Treatments for chronic sinusitis

You may not have to resort to steroid treatments or surgery to cure your chronic infections. In fact, you should consider a change in diet and some natural antifungals before you commit to more drastic measures.

A 2004 study looked at antifungal treatments for chronic sinus infections. The study found that applying an antifungal gel to the inside of the nasal cavity reduced inflammation and swelling in 70% of patients tested.

This shows how antifungals can reduce your symptoms, but preventing them from coming back is a whole different story. Here’s where your Candida treatment plan comes in. Treating your underlying Candida overgrowth changes the environment in your body and makes it less susceptible to fungal infections. This means that when yeast or fungi enter your nose, they are less likely to cause an immune response and your sinuses won’t become inflamed.

The basics of the Candida treatment plan should be familiar to you by now. Start with a low-sugar diet, some natural antifungals and a good probiotic. If you would like to learn more, my Ultimate Candida Diet program contains detailed information on all three of these steps.

Two more ways to reduce your sinusitis symptoms

If you suspect that you are suffering from fungal sinus infections, following a Candida treatment plan can give you long term relief. However there are also some natural ways to immediately relieve your symptoms without a trip to the doctor.

Rinsing your sinuses with a Neti pot is a great way to remove fungi and bacteria from your nasal cavity. It also helps to fight the excess mucus that is associated with a sinus infection. You should use a small amount of salt with distilled water (follow the manufacturer’s instructions for exact amounts). Simply pour the saline water into one nostril and allow it to drain out of the other. It’s easier than it sounds and it can give really fast results.

You can also use aromatherapy to provide relief from sinus infections. Peppermint and rosemary are the two essential oils that are most frequently used. The best way to get these into your sinuses is to steam them. Add a few drops into a bowl and then fill it with boiling water. Now cover your head with a large towel and lean over the bowl. A few minutes of breathing in the steam and essential oils should give you some relief from your symptoms.

Treating your Candida could eliminate your chronic sinusitis

We all know that one of the failings of modern medicine is the way it focuses narrowly on symptoms and specific parts of the body, rather than taking a more holistic approach. This is particularly true when it comes to diagnosing and treating Candida sufferers.

Candida is a condition that can result in a variety of different symptoms, and indeed sinus infections are one of many examples. An estimated 37 million Americans suffer from chronic sinusitis, but a few simple dietary changes and some natural supplements could provide many of them with relief from their symptoms. Check out my Ultimate Candida Diet program for more detailed information.

A 5-Step Program to Beat Candida

From Lisa Richards

If you're looking for a more comprehensive Candida treatment plan, check out Lisa Richards' new program, the Ultimate Candida Diet.

Lisa's plan is based on the latest research into Candida, and contains everything you need to know to beat your Candida overgrowth.

What the program includes
A 60-day plan to eliminate your Candida
A clear 5-step timeline
The latest research into Candida
Shopping lists you can take to the store
My 25 favorite Candida-fighting foods
A 10-part email course
Lots of tasty anti-Candida recipes
Get Relief Now


  1. Vivian MacLean says

    So pleased to see this article this morning. I have been fighting my chronic sinus infection naturally for 4 weeks, but have no desire to use an antibiotic for a quick fix. I now believe that my chronic sinusitis and asthma are both related to a Candida infection that started 20 years ago. I have just recently stopped my asthma medication with no return of symptoms and my sinus infection is SLOWLY getting better. Your web site and program have been so helpful.

  2. Donna Minton says

    I am on week 4of my cleanse. I have horrible allergies. Terrible sinus drainage that results in serious coughing. How often is it advise able to use the Nettie pot or bottle. I personally prefer the bottle. Thanks

    • says

      Hi Donna! Take a look at the instructions with whatever product you’re using, but usually 1-2 times a day is fine in the short term. Once you’re feeling better though, you should try to use it only a few times a week.

  3. Tanya V says

    I use a Neti Pot every morning and put 3-4 drops of grape seed extract in it with the saline. I find it works wonders!

      • Tanya V says

        I do. And I also did a hemocode test (food sensitivity) and am sensitive to beef, beef liver, all dairy (including yogurt) strawberries, eggplant and cocoa.

      • corinne says

        I constantly suffer with sinus problems but I think I have an overgrowth of the candida in my intestinal tract and think I had it for many years. I am finally figuring out that the diet of carbs feeds the yeast I am taking an antifungal but somethimes I think it is gone and then stop but when I eat something with more carbs it comes back can you offer advice here. thanks, corinne

    • says

      Hi Suzanne! That study used Amphotericin-B gel, but to be honest I’m not sure if there are any antifungal gels commercially available for the nose. Perhaps one of our other readers might know of one?

    • Virginia Harless says

      I have been plagued with sinus since October 2012.
      It led to pnuemonia and I don’t seem to be able to rid myself of sinus problems.
      PLEASE if you have a renedy I need it for I am still suffering with sinus and over a periiod of 4 months.

      • Edy says

        I am a candida sufferer since many years , all was under control until I got a heart attack , candida flared up and I am fighting since over 2 years , also have constant sinus issues which I know are candida related , I just ordered from Seagate( no I am not affiliated) olive oil nasal spray, and hope this will clear up my sinuses for good

        • nancy hay says

          i too am a candida sufferer.. with nutritionist help . and off carbs i got better.
          now 13 years later.. i have a pressure in my upper back, then i get the throat clearing…
          and i get sinus.. any one out there have an upper back issue like under left wing of back?
          thank you

  4. says

    We’ve recently been going through mold abatement in the home we’ve rented for some 8 years. Many strains of spores were found, including the serious black mold types. I have been feeling crappy for years. The last year of both of us coughing, headaches, sinus troubles, had made me wonder if there is a recurrence of the mold issues in this house and I was right. NOW, I have the smell of vinegar/yeast in my nose and for the first time my mucus is not green but yellow. A nasty chunk of vile tasting stuff came down yesterday. I’m convinced its candida… do you agree? Is there a way to confirm this so I can move forward knowing the Candida Diet will help me?
    ~ Tired of Being Sick

    • says

      Hi Kimberley! The only way to know for sure is to get tested. There are some tests that you can order yourself or ask your doctor to get for you, for example the Candida Antibodies, Candida Immune Complexes or stool tests.

      • says

        Thank you, Lisa… I needed to know where to start. I don’t think he has this information. I told him last week I suspected it but he kinda poo pooed it, which is unlike him. I will give him some info from your website. I think I also need to be tested for the spores that were in the mold lab results to find out what else in the house I am allergic to and their effects. Appreciate the help! You will most likely be hearing from me again!

  5. Susan says

    The best anti-fungal natural or chemical is raw garlic. I know what you are thinking but the smell is easily taken care of. There are many foods that takes the smell and taste away; Italian (flat leaf) parsley in your food, lemon in your water are what I go to. However, there are many more. The reason you should do raw garlic? It put me in a 6 month remission where I was my healthy energetic self. I ate normally, sweets only in moderation, was exercising and felt great. Then I went crazy eating sweet after sweet and that was the end of my remission, til now. Don’t waste your money on garlic pills they had no effect

    Best benefit is you get practically immediate results. It fixed the symptoms candida caused like my insomnia, chronic sinusitis, bloating, food intolerance just to name a few. I lived like the healthy normal person I was before candida. Because of taste and burning sensation many people can’t eat raw garlic directly so you can cut it up and put it in any foods.

    Garlic will thin out blood so those with those type of issues should check with their doctor.

    If you candida infection has been going on a long time, has evolved into leaky gut and systemic candida you will need to have more garlic on the beginning days. How much you need depends on how bad your infection has become.

    I thank God for garlic. It is cheap, easily accessible, no rx needed is huge. Most of all it works. Nothing I’ve tried in the 20 plus years I’ve had candida can compare in the slightest. I’ve tried the natural anti-fungals but those only made me more tired and didn’t have any effect. The rx anti fungals were powerless minus Diflucan which only marginally worked but only while on the rx. Probiotics did a lot in the beginning but quickly stopped working. To take them as well as eating garlic will double your progression against candida. Since there are so many kinds of probiotics and the information about them conflicting I find the choosing confusing.

    One of the best things about raw garlic is no herx reaction.

    Sorry for such a long post. It wasn’t intentional.

    You will never know if raw garlic can beat your candida unless you try. And the feeling good results are worth any slight inconvenience.

    • Irene says

      Thank you. I have to try getting my daughter who has candida to take raw garlic, she tried once but it was very spicy and hard to swallow even taken with food. It’s hard when it comes to a child.

      Does cooked garlic help? I gave her oregano oil and grape seed extract last year, but she still has candida. Sad.

      • Maria says

        Re: trying to get a child to eat garlic. We chop up the garlic and put it in yogurt. Helps disguise the taste and gets it down easier and works. I use it when the kids get sick with colds or sore throats. Hope that helps

      • melanie says

        I suffered from yeast infection for years. 3 weeks ago I started to eat low carbs and no sugar diet. I am also cosuming probiotics like Kefir, Yogurt, garlic and cultured vegetables( all homemade)I also take herbal tea. I take 2 tablespoons of coconut oil on an empty stomach in the morning and also rub the oil into my itching skin and it worked. It took me 2 days of using coconut oil on my skin and orally and the symptoms are gone.

    • Eddie says

      Thanks for the great post Susan. I was wondering if roasting the garlic would affect it’s healing properties? Also, I’ve read some good things about olive leaf extract being great for treating Candida. Recently read a book on it and it really sounds promising. Thanks again.

    • Carolyn Dunbar says

      How much garlic are we talking about daily?? I have been convinced for years that I have this problem, but of course, medical doctors disagree.
      I am taking my health into my own hands.
      And thank you for your post!!!

  6. Marilyn says

    I have been using coconut oil inside my nose and it seems to help. No colds or sinus problems and my nose feels clear.

  7. Irene says

    M 8yo daughter has candidiasis, and she has sinus almost very other day. Some days are worse but we havent done anything about it because we thought all these while it is due to her severe allergies to dust mites. But this article makes sense. However, living in Malaysia here, we don’t have netti pot, have not even heard of it.

    What kind of natural antifungal are we talking about? Oregano oil? Garlic (cooked with rice, can)? Does tea tree oil help by breathing in the steam?

  8. Eddie says

    Does anyone know if a severe candida overgrowth can be controlled or eliminated with a strict diet and natural antifungals? I know there are prescribed antifungals, but I prefer not to take them and they are expensive as well.

      • Eddie says

        Hi Lisa,
        I’ve been researching candida and read that one should switch natural antifungals every 5 days to prevent the candida from adapting to the antifungal. Not sure if it works, but it’s worth a try. It will be very difficult once I begin, since i have a super sweet tooth. Maybe it’s the candida’s way of asking for a sugar fix. Thanks

        • says

          That’s a very common but unfortunately very misguided piece of advice. Rotating your antifungals is actually what allows the Candida to develop resistance. Each antifungal might weaken the Candida by killing a few cells, but those that are left develop resistance and come back even stronger. You should take 2-3 good antifungals at the same time for the best chance to beat your Candida. There is really no scientific evidence justifying a ‘rotation’ treatment.

  9. says

    I have found this article very helpful. I have started following the suggestions. I did find an antifungal nasal emollient called Ponaris that contains oils of Pine, Eucalyptus, Ppepermint, Cajeput, and Cottonseed.

    • Chibbike says

      Hi Suzanne
      I have just read your comments on this nasal antifungal emollient. Please let me know where you get this? I live in Australia, I don’t know if we can get it here.
      Thanks in advance


  10. Victoria says

    Has anyone tried using the raw garlic in a juicer along with some other veggies? any recipes would be welcome, it would make it much more palatable. I am a makeup artist so I cant have garlic on my breath or it would knock my clients out!

    Maybe we could come up with an anti-candida juice!

    • Eddie says

      I’ve read that eating it with parsley helps and it’s an oder nuetralizer. Might consider liquid chlorophyll and tht also neutralizes oders.

  11. Susan says

    I was delighted to see this thread. I have suffered from chronic sinusitis for over 2 years, and it has only just been brought to my attention that it may be candida related. I am awaiting bloodtests…. but in the meantime, is it okay to swallow the garlic whole, or must it be chewed?
    Thank you to all the contributors.

    • says

      Hi Susan! The easiest way to eat it is to chop it up and then wash it down quickly with a glass of water. Chewing garlic can be tough unless you really really like the taste!

      • RA says

        I used a 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic bought in a glass jar at the grocery store in a little bit of water and drink it down. I find it almost immediately calms my stomach. I also sew upholstery thread to a clove of garlic and use it as a suppository for a yeast infection. I do it at bed time and the next morning, the vaginal yeast is gone. This natural cure works better than any prescription I have ever been given. Sometimes I break out in lil bumps which slightly sting. I rub the juice from the jar garlic on them and it gives me relief within minutes and the bumps are usually gone within about 12 hrs.

        I have chronic sinus problems, I am considering making a mild garlic inhaler. I am looking for information, however have yet to find any information for naturally curing yeast in the sinuses.

  12. Paul Casey says

    It was surprising to read this article and also pleased and saddened. In 1999 I was hospitalized in Utah for a lung infection and then treated with antibiotics and steroids. I then returned to California where I was treated for chronic sinus infections for an entire year with Major antibiotics and steroids without success. I just got tired of the treatments and stopped. Since that time until present I have suffered from most of the symptoms on the List for Candida. Not until the last 5 years until I got involved in natural health did I have a clue what has been wrong. I have taken dairy, sugar and gluten out of my diet and almost feel normal. Have suffered with strange allergic reactions, diarrhea for 15 years, rashes, constant itching of my hands and feet at night. I have been diagnosed with depression, Major Depressive Disorder, Bipolar II Disorder, ADHD, Anxiety, IBS, PTSD, and people just treat you like you are crazy. A great deal of the psychiatric problems have cleared up with the dietary changes, but still know that something else is wrong. I still get the Migraine Headaches and I feel like there is something in my head that doesn’t belong there. Recently was given a 3 stage PPD test and part of it tested the Candida Antigen. I immediately reacted and ended up in the ER for 26 hours being treated for a heart attack. I tried to tell them that it was an allergic reaction to the PPD test, but they said that it couldn’t be an allergic reaction to the test. After being discharged with NO heart attack I returned to the clinic where the clinician said that the reaction was to Candida Albicans and that I has systemic candidiiasis. I am presently a volunteer in a clinical trial to test a new anti fungal drug and I am looking forward to the added results of getting rid of this menace that has been destroying my life for over a decade.

  13. K says

    If you have a neti-pot put the anti-candida powder in with the saline solution. has cleared up my sinus infections big time.

  14. says

    Your blog on issues of sinus and allergies is very helpful. I would like to offer your readers some information as well. Sinus and allergy symptoms are auto-immune reactions. As such, addressing immune function is always appropriate. We are learning more all the time how intimate the immune system is interwined (they are inseparable) with the nerve system. Because of this, there is often a role for chiropractic health care as nerve excitement or inhibition of the nerve system often has adverse effects on immune responses. We have seen this repeatedly in practice. If you add in other behavioral changes like diet and supplementation and detoxification/purification many patients will see a dramatic change in sinus health and allergy symptoms. I am a case in point.

    Dr. Charles L. Foster
    Chiropractor, Rutland VT

  15. Monica says

    I am doing the diet already for a month and a half.:) garlic is good. You also can make a tea with garlic and lemon. Boil in a pan with a liter of water 5 piece of garlic with one lemon cut an a half
    Boil for 10 minutes, leave get col. You can put in the refrigerator an drink. 3 glasses per day
    Thanks Lisa for all your help. I bought your book. I cooked your recipes .Delicious coconut bread!

  16. Busi says

    Dear Lisa

    Can a candida sufferer be misdiagnosed with another illness? To be honest, our doctors here in South Africa overlook this menace and instead tell us that we have allergies.

  17. Mayra says

    Wow!!! The essential oil blend worked wonderfully… I still can not believe that in a matter of minutes I was pain-free. Thank you for all the info!!!

    Is it recommended to use the oils as maintenance treatment, along with the garlic, the rinse and diet?

    • says

      I’m glad it helped! You should try to stick to the diet for the long term, however the essential oils etc should only be used when you feel symptoms coming on. Hopefully with the improvements in your diet you soon won’t even need them!

  18. kubla17 says

    10 years ago a rash seemed to be coming out of my nose and making the tissues where the nose meets the face red and inflammed…so I began to treat it with different creams until a fungal ointment called nizoral made it disappear for about a month…eventually the doctor not believing it was fungal, gave me Nyaderm anyway, and I have had to use it only twice in 5 months…The best treatment for the symptom?

    • says

      If you are having to use it regularly, then that could be a sign that you have an underlying Candida overgrowth. Make some changes to your diet and you might find that it doesn’t come back again.

  19. Mary says

    I am so glad I found this page. I’ve been suffering from sinusitis for 6 months after living in an apartment with mold. After 4 weeks of sinusitis they gave me antibiotics. And then they gave it to me 5 times afterwards, even though nothing worked. They still prescribe it to me, telling me it will work.
    I am absolutely convinced that Candida is the problem. I also have unexplainable rashes, yeast infection and very bad digestion.
    Thank you so much for this site, I believe this more than anything else, it makes so much sense. Food is really one of the easiest way to cure yourself. And the doctors NEVER mentioned candida.

  20. The Fuzzy Camel says

    This might be overly simplistic, but Baking Soda is the most powerful anti-fungal known.
    I just mixed colloidal silver with baking soda and put it into an mister or atomizer, and would spritz it up my nose. Burns a bit, but it seems to work.

    Any thoughts?

  21. gerianne cerilli says

    I have also suffered from Candida for years I find that my essential oils helped me tremendously on top of the probiotics & of course diet plays a huge role. If I stay on my diet I’m fine and I can cheat a little bit especially with the oils that are anti-fugal rosemary peppermint thieves and ocotea! There are so many health issues including taking the immune system down that an overgrowth of yeast can cause so it’s really good to try to stay on the diet as much as you can.once you suffer from a serious sinus infection due to an overgrowth of yeast it really makes you realize how important the diet is

  22. Jenn says

    OMG! I have suffered from chronic sinusitis for years and even had sinus surgery in 2010 that only helped a little. I get a sinus infection once a month and quit bothering my doctors with it all. Sometimes I am blessed with a migraine too. I didn’t want to become immune to the antibiotics. I believe (may that needs to be past tense) my infections are hormonal but no doc would even entertain the thought. I take garlic extract and a good bit of vitamin C – pills and juices (fresh squeezed). Now, after reading this, I’m going to give the diet a shot. Maybe I build up the candida and it purges to an extent about once a month. Thank you for a glimmer of hope.

  23. Mery D says

    Yes, yes and yes! I used to suffer from chronic sinus infection. Of course when acute, doctors would prescribe antibiotics, which would help a bit shortly to then make it worse. I wish I could have had all this knowledge earlier in my life. I’m on a moderate (last phases style) of the diet, antifungals and probiotics and I haven’t had sinus infections in a year. Slowly but surely! : )

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