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Can migraine cause a polyp/swelling to occur in sphenoid sinus?


I'm a graduate student and I've suffered from migraines all my life. They occur on the same spot on my left eye every single time with photophobia, aura and nausea. Pain is very strong, similar to breaking my hand. It lasts about 6-10 hours and sumatriptan works to take most of the pain away. Recently I have had a sensation fever too. As a kid I would have a migraine every 3 months and my triggers are chocolate, nuts and lack of sleep.

I had an attack 12 weeks ago that for some reason reoccurred pretty much everyday for 3 weeks. I could not sleep because of the attacks and when I seeked help for the insomnia the two initial physicians I saw sent me away with nothing. More and more symptoms started piling up, like: tinnitus, sensation of neck swelling up, a general dull headache, neck pain, blurry vision, anxiety and more.

A month after the initial attack I had an MRI scan that revealed a sphenoid sinus polyp (1/2inch, 1/2inch, 1 inch in diameter) and I subsequently started steroid and anti-biotic treatment. It seemed to be working and I started to sleep better (could not sleep without prescribed sleeping pills for 8 weeks) and I slowly regained strength and cognitive function. But now I've had 3 migraines in the last 5 days and the dull headache is back. I've been on 20-ish different drugs and nothing is properly working so the doctors are basically just going to put me on anti-depressants while they experiment some things.

This thing has flipped my life on its head and I don't know what to do. Has anyone experienced or heard about anything like this? A migraine creating a polyp in the head?

Thank you.

  1. Hi gbear,

    Thanks so much for reaching out and sharing - I'm sorry to hear about the challenging experiences you've had with specialists/doctors. It must be terribly frustrating to have them experimenting with so many different drugs to try to find a solution for you!

    While you may get feedback from other members, I thought you might find something in these articles that may be helpful:

    Please stop back and let us know how you're doing. We're so glad you're a part of the community and are sharing here!

    Take care,
    -Christina ( Team)

    1. Hi, and thanks for helpful supportive responses.

      I've just seen an ENT but not a migraine specialist. He wants to try some more specialized anti-biotics on the sphenoid polyp, but the migraines has stopped for now (thank god) but I still have this sphenoid polyp that my doctors don't know what to do about... If the migraines re-appear I will try to find a specialist.


  2. Hi gbear,

    Thanks for your post. I am sorry to hear your migraine attacks are so intense and that more symptoms continue to present themselves. It must be quite debilitating and frustrating. Have you seen a Migraine Specialist? It sounds like it would helpful to visit one, as we always suggest checking with your doctor when new symptoms crop up or if you have medical questions related to chronic migraine. The following links connect you to articles which discuss Migraine Specialists and provide you with site to locate one near you -, I hope you find this helpful and I hope other members chime in with their experiences as well. Please keep us posted on your progress. We love hearing from you. Have a lovely day.


    Meaghan ( Team)

    1. I never considered that the migraine would cause the polyp? More that the polyp could cause sinus headaches that are often misdiagnosed as migraines. Here's my story...

      When I finally got an MRI done on my brain to figure out my migraines, the neurologist said in passing "oh you have a large cyst in your sinus cavity too" but assured me it had nothing to do with my migraine pain. I didn't believe him, as I am desperate to find a cause that I can finally address so my migraines go away.

      He sent me home with the prognosis that I have a "disorder", don't know what causes it, there is not cure for it, here experiment with this medication that has horrible side effects and may not work. And no, you cannot have a follow up appointment. Good day!

      Regardless I pushed and pushed to get a referral to a ENT and I finally have an appointment set up next week. Whenever I get a migraine, I also feel pressure in that sinus cavity and teeth. I hope I will find relief once the polyp is removed (if my insurance will cover the surgery?).

      I did take a casual poll in a migraine support group asking if those who had their sinus cysts surgically removed if their migraines went away. 20 people responded. Unfortunately only ONE said it helped, which my guess is they were having actual sinus headaches and not a migraine. The rest said their migraines continued.

      I am determined to find a cause and a cure. If I find any relief once my polyp is removed I will surely post again!

      1. I just found out I have the same thing and migraines every weak for 18 years. Has anyone had it removed?

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