Approximately 40 million Americans suffer from sinusitis, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Currently, it is a leading chronic illness in the United States. Sinusitis can be acute, lasting one to two weeks, or chronic, lasting from two weeks to several months.
Sinusitis occurs when the mucous membranes lining the cavities in the facial bones become inflamed and blocked. This creates intense pressure that can create swelling and pain. Infection usually develops after a cold, but pollution, smoking, and allergies also can be triggers.
Symptoms of sinusitis
A sinus infection can cause any of the following symptoms:
- thick nasal or postnasal discharge
- pain around your eyes, forehead, or cheeks or jaw
- congested nose
- low fever
- dizziness 1
Sinus infections can be easily treated. But they can also become a very serious problem. In rare cases, untreated sinus infections can lead to an infection of the brain, called meningitis, which in rare instances can cause brain damage. Untreated infections can also cause a blood clot to form in the veins around your sinuses. That can affect the brain in a way similar to a stroke. Contact your doctor right away if you develop pain and stiffness in your neck, accompanied by a fever.
Allergies can be a culprit. Avoid your allergy triggers when you begin to experience symptoms. Common culprits include casein, gluten and soy.
Cilia: The Body’s Chimney Sweeps
Cilia are”hairs” on the mucus membranes that constantly sweep mucus and debris out of air pathways. When your sinuses are infected the cilia cannot do their job. You want to irrigate the area, keep yourself hydrated and give yourself the necessary nutrients to conquer the infection and restore cilia function.
- Neti Pot- saline or garlic 2x daily in water. Follow directions on Neti Pot box.
- Make your own nasal solution. Place ¼ oz. saline solution (available at pharmacies – don’t make your own!) and 18 drops of Kyolic Liquid Garlic (available at a natural food store in a nasal sprayer. Lie down or put head back and spray in nostrils, inhale hard two or three times. Continue for 3 days, twice a day to kill sinus infections. If needed, make a new batch in 3 days. Keep refrigerated.
SinuOreg. We have had the best results with this Thorne product. A powerful combination of oregano and saline improve sinus function within minutes.
- Hot drink in the a.m. Another remedy to aid cilia function is hot herbal tea (not coffee) first thing in the morning and a bowl of chicken soup. Warmth speeds cilia action and helps put a lid on coughing and sneezing.
- Zinc-based sprays such as Zicam. Permanent loss of sense of smell can and has resulted from using these sprays.
- Most saline sprays. In 1995, researchers discovered that saline spray additives, particularly one called benzalkonium, could actually destroy the mucus lining, taking the cilia with it. Now there are several preservative-free saline sprays on the market, including Rhinocourt Aqua.
- Suspend your intake of sugar, dairy products, caffeine, and alcohol until your sinuses are healed.
A diagnosis gaining increasing respect in medical circles is that of candidiasis, an overgrowth of candida yeast in the body. Dr. William Crook, a physician in Jackson, Tenn., has successfully treated hundreds of patients for candida with antifungal immune system support, antifungal medications and a sugar-free diet. He also has written several books on the subject, including “The Yeast Connection Handbook” (Professional Books, 2000).
Repeated courses of antibiotics are thought to promote yeast overgrowth by killing friendly bacteria in the body along with invading pathogens. The toxins candida releases can cause health issues including depression, fatigue and chronic infections such as sinusitis.
Sinuses and the Emotional Body
- Anger. Robert Ivker, a Denver-based doctor of osteopathy and author of “Sinus Survival” (Tarcher/Putnam, 2000). “In my experience, repressed anger is the No. 1 contributing factor to chronic sinusitis,” Ivker says. “Actually, it’s the trigger for acute sinusitis. The archetype is generally a high achiever, very often a first child, unforgiving, perfectionist.”
- Unexpressed Emotions. “From an emotional point of view, sinusitis, bronchitis and asthma are fourth emotional or chakra (emotional energy centers described in Eastern religions such as Buddhism) issues and have to do with unexpressed or unresolved emotions,” says Mona Lisa Schulz, a neuropsychiatrist in Yarmouth, Maine. In her book Awakening Intuition (Harmony, 1999), Schulz discusses how psychological issues affect the seven chakras, the fourth being related to the ability to form balanced relationships and the capacity to feel and express all emotions.
Vitamin A protects the mucous membranes, vitamin D is a natural antimicrobial and omega-3’s reduce inflammation.
Vitamin C neutralizes free radicals that can reduce immunity and acts as an anti-histamine.
One of the most effective oregano wash and inhalants for the sinuses.
Sinus Survival: The Holistic Medical Treatment for Allergies, Colds, and Sinusitis
Dr. Robert Ivker, A Denver-based osteopath, is best known for a holistic method of treating sinusitis, allergies, and colds that he developed. He created the Sinus Survival program, a comprehensive course of action to heal the body, mind and spirit.
The Sinus Cure: 7 Simple Steps to Relieve Sinusitis and Other Ear, Nose, and Throat Conditions
Dr. Murray Grossan, a Los Angeles-based internist and author of “The Sinus Cure,” to be issued by Bantam Books early in 2001. “When the cilia are normal, people do not have sinusitis; they don’t even have [sinus related] allergies.”