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Adrienne Dellwo

Poll: Allergy & Sinus Symptoms in Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

By September 16, 2011

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Allergies are most often associated with spring, but some people -- especially those of us with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome -- have allergies year round. And many of us have sinus problems that have nothing to do with allergies.

My allergies are mild right now, but I still have congestion somewhat frequently. I know it'll be getting worse before long, too, as winter dries out the air and creates concrete in my nostrils.

Our high likelihood to have allergies is probably tied to our overall sensitivity to everything. After all, that's what an allergy is. Our bodies become sensitized to certain stimuli. In most people, that's limited to common allergens like pollen and dust. In us, it becomes central sensitization (involving the entire central nervous system), and we become sensitive to things like noise, light, temperature and pressure.

Sinus problems that aren't allergy related seem to come from a different source. Some doctors believe our bodily secretions are prone to being thick and sludgy, which means that mucous doesn't move through our sinuses like it should.

What allergy and sinus symptoms do you get? Which times of year are worst for you? What helps? Take the poll, and leave your comments below!

Learn more or join the conversation!


September 16, 2011 at 9:33 am
(1) Stephen says:

It might be argued that if your undergo SLIT ImmunoTherapy Neutralization your Chronic Inflammation level will be reduced such that it reduces your Fybro issues.

Its all a Single Immune system.

Chronic Inflammation = Wearing down the body via its own immune response

September 16, 2011 at 10:07 am
(2) Rachael says:

Like Adrienne said, “Our high likelihood to have allergies is probably tied to our overall sensitivity to everything.” So we need something that calms the whole nervous and immune system. Some CFS sufferers may benefit from antihistamines and/or tricyclic antidepressants.

The tricyclic antidepressants are third generation antihistamines. The discovery of the antihistamines was followed by their use as tranquilizers (they suppress histamine and thus the immune response). Low dose amitriptyline (10 to 25mg) helps many CFS sufferers like myself because of their antihistaminic properties and not because they act upon serotonin. I have tried other antidepressant drugs SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) that are shown to boost serotonin, the immune system and donít have antihistamanic properties; they have made my condition much, much worse.

Allergy, Depression and Tricyclic Antidepressants

September 17, 2011 at 9:24 am
(3) Rachael says:

Tricyclic antidepressants and histamine H1 receptors.

The most potent antihistamine is the tricyclic antidepressant doxepin. It is about 4 times more potent than the tricyclic antidepressant amitriptyline; about 800 times more potent than diphenhydramine (over-the counter antihistamine and sleep-aid), and about 8,000 times more potent than desipramine (the active “in vivo” metabolite of imipramine).


September 16, 2011 at 11:51 am
(4) Laurel says:

High pollen counts lead to headache of me more than nasal symptoms but I have thick mucus and post nasal drip most of the time.

September 23, 2011 at 5:26 pm
(5) Kim says:

Just wondering if any of you ladies drink milk, eat yogurt, ice cream, cheese. I found out that if I don’t consume any of those, I can breathe better, see better, hear better and smell better. Whenever I have any of those, I can’t smell any odours at all, so I am constantly lighting candles to be sure the house smells okay, the mucus gets so bad that my eyes get a film over them and I have trouble hearing. So I do have times that ice cream is just a must and then I pay the price.
I also have a sleeping problem but it is that I can nod off during the day, just whenever. I too have a cat, she is a stray, was living in my garden, winter was coming so I brought her in, I did not want a frozen dead cat in my garden. Take care everyone. Meds, 50 mg Kadian twice a day for pain and a blood pressure & water pill or and 300 mg of iron a day. I don;t seem to have any.

September 16, 2011 at 1:38 pm
(6) Nancy A. says:

I developed asthma at the same time my CFS began (1984). My fibromyalgia started two years later. I’m on Advair and Proventil inhalers which help a lot with my asthma.

I also happen to be on a tricyclic antidepressant, doxepin. I’ve tried most other antidepressants to help with my fibromyalgia and depression. The other meds had too many bothersome side effects. Doxepin has some side effects but I can tolerate it better than the other drugs. I’m on 75 mg at night.

I take loratadine 10 mg each day — that’s generic Claritin. It helps but not as much as I’d like it to. I couldn’t take a sedating type of antihistamine because I’m already on Lyrica for my pain, and Lyrica is a very sedating drug.

So, I mostly suffer with my allergies. I confess that I also have a pet cat, Mandy, that I love so much, and I am allergic to her too, but she’s staying! She’ll be 10 years old in October, and I’ll be celebrating the same week as my birthday.

My allergies have always been one of the most difficult CFS symptoms to live with all these years. I had allergy shots many years ago which didn’t help at all.

September 17, 2011 at 9:03 am
(7) Rachael says:

Nancy A: It sparked my curiosity, when you said that you take Loratadine and that it is generic Claritin. So, I looked it up. The widipedia site said that Loratadine is a second-generation H1 histamine antagonist drug used to treat allergies and that it was structurally closely related to TRICYCLIC ANTIDEPRESSAMTS such as Imipramine, Very interesting! Thanks for that information!

September 16, 2011 at 3:13 pm
(8) Diane says:

What a timely article! My doc sent me for a sleep study. I don’t have apnea, but I have frequent difficulty struggling for breathe through congested sinuses and it often wakes me up. I’ve been trying to get to the bottom of it.

At various times I’ve been dx’ed with “non-allergic” rhinitis… and then allergic rhinitis (dust, cats, bad for mold both others not severe). I’ve gone through tx for allergies that didn’t help (might’ve made it worse). I’m on 3 nose sprays (anti-colinergic, cortisone, and now antihistamine)… I am experimenting with allergy pills (like benedryl and zyrtec).

I’ve removed my dining room rug; and invested $$$ in a medical grade air cleaner to see if that helps.

I had 2nd sleep study to test sleeping with a CPAP machine. Though it felt harder to breathe w/ mask, apparently I breathed better somewhat improved sleep… but insurance won’t cover CPAP for me. For ~$400 I could test to see if regular CPAP use helped. (The night of sleep test made me realize how blocked sinuses were!)

Without my myriad of sprays or antihistamines it’s like I have a cold constantly and have to have a tissue at all times. Constantly feel like I need to blow my nose, even though the congestion is the sinuses so it doesn’t do much to blow. I am frequently splitting huge amounts of phlegm (sorry to gross you out!). I’m debating whether to pay $$$ for mold testing in my house/basement… and outside since I own the first floor of an old 2-family. There are old-growth trees all over the property, and it tends to mossy, moist and probably moldy outside.

These issues are BIG – should I sell my house & move? move2 diff. climate? give up my 2 cats? (home-bound & they’re my only company often…) It’s a BIG & scary question mark!

And maybe it’s my canary-in-a-coal mind CFIDS body.

September 16, 2011 at 3:54 pm
(9) Jen says:


I had the exact same problem w/sleep & allergies. Anti-histamines helped with my asthma & itchy eyes, but that’s it. I ended up reading about how enzymes, taken for non-digestive purposes, help thin out the phlegm and help with inflammation as well, and that has been a godsend for me. The one I was taking had Papain, Bromelain, and Quercetin as well, which is a histamine blocker. If I run out, until those kick in full strength again, I use a Sinus Rinse bottle from Neilmed. Kinda yucky, but the relief is worth it. Getting those under control has helped my fog, my overall fluey feeling, etc., SO much. Hope you find some relief!

September 16, 2011 at 4:24 pm
(10) Diane says:

Jen, Thanks so much for that information! I’ve been on Quercitin before, but not recently (and I forgot about it since my use predated all this chronic sinus stuff). I see my doc soon, and she does both traditional and this type of alternative medicine. I’ll ask her about them. That sounds promising. Thanks again!

September 16, 2011 at 3:28 pm
(11) Sita says:

commenting here because I also clicked on Other in the poll.

Besides my pollen (grass) and environmental (dust) allergies, I also have food allergies (5 of them) and medication allergies (a few antibiotics and morphine).

September 16, 2011 at 4:07 pm
(12) Dian says:

In addition to the choices in this survey, my primary allergy is to fragrances (perfumes, scented candles, etc)

September 16, 2011 at 4:29 pm
(13) Diane says:

I have that, too. I get asthma attaches from those types of irritants. A type of multiple chemical sensitivity and reactive airway disease. It’s tough, especially around perfume wearers who consider that a form of personal expression…

September 16, 2011 at 4:43 pm
(14) Helen says:

I also get skin allergies, and seem to be getting more and more allergies to medications :-(

September 17, 2011 at 4:36 am
(15) Rob says:

I get pressure-induced urticaria — 36 hour-long swelling/heat/itching/pain episodes of hands and feet and buttocks if they are rested too long on any one spot. High dose fexofenadine has helped a lot.

September 17, 2011 at 10:18 am
(16) John says:

I had nasal allergies since childhood, and sinusitis from my twenties onwards, but this is all a distant memory today, as I’m now completely free from all allergies and my nose is permanently clear, even when I eat the things that used to block me up, such as milk. And I no longer take any medication. So what has caused this transformation? Just a few worms! http://www.foodsmatter.com/asthma_respiratory_conditions/rhinitis/articles/nasal_allergies_nuked_by_worms.html Also see: http://blog.autoimmunetherapies.com/gut_buddies/2009/09/14/rhinitis-can-ruin-your-sex-life-but-a-few-worms-may-restore-it/

September 18, 2011 at 7:00 pm
(17) Leslie Vann says:

Worse than congestion is the constant swelling of sinus and nasal passages. That keeps mucous from draining. It brings on a headache, and greatly restricts airflow, which makes me feel drowsy and zoned out. Sometimes I don’t realize what is making me feel so out of it until I try to breathe out of one nostril at a time. Then I notice that my nostrils are practically closed.

March 3, 2014 at 7:39 pm
(18) Phil Nicolay says:

The Chronic Sinusitis Cure
This is a Cure Not a treatment for Chronic Sinusitis.

Mayo Clinic found that fungus causes Chronic Sinusitis.

My booklet explains how to kill that fungus by reintroducing selected “Friendly” bacteria directly into the sinuses. These bacteria are normally present in your sinuses, but are killed by antibiotics and/or other means typically used to treat Chronic Sinusitis. Orally consumed bacteria will not reach the sinuses, to eliminate that fungus.
The “Friendly” Bacteria may also impede the onset of Acute Sinusitis, by negatively impacting “bad” bacteria.

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