The sinuses are cavities within the bone structure of the face that are normally filled with air and play an integral role in your nasal system. When operating normally, the sinuses employ tiny hairs called cilia and naturally occurring mucous to keep the nasal passages clear and operating efficiently so they can cleanse and filter the air we breathe. Sinusitis (meaning “inflammation of the sinuses”) occurs when the sinuses become irritated, swollen, or infected, and this can occur due to various causes.
Sinusitis can be acute (often associated with a cold or other respiratory infection) or chronic (often caused by allergies or other environmental conditions related to yeast, mold, or fungi in the atmosphere). Viral sinusitis is the most common form of sinus infection, and typically produces symptoms similar to those of the common cold that last approximately 10 days (Smith 2012; Leung 2008; Balkissoon 2010). However, symptoms of acute bacterial sinusitis typically last 10-30 days and are more severe than those of the common cold or viral sinusitis (NIAID 2012; Balkissoon 2010; Leung 2008).
Sinusitis can be classified as follows (Radojicic 2010):
- Acute – Symptoms last less than 4 weeks
- Subacute – Symptoms last from 4 to 8 weeks
- Chronic – Symptoms last longer than 8 weeks
- Recurrent acute – Symptoms occur 3 or more times per year and last less than 2 weeks
Possible Symptoms of Sinusitis
- Stuffy nose
- Runny nose
- Difficulty breathing through the nose
- Pain and/or swelling in the sinus areas (nose, eyes, cheeks, forehead)
- Jaw pain
- Dental pain
- Ear pain
- Bad breath
- Difficulty sleeping (especially chronic)
If you have a bad cold and are not sure if it has changed into sinusitis, there are a couple of simple tests you can perform. Mucous (from bacterial or viral infections) will often fill up sinus cavities if sinusitis is present. Tapping on the sinus cavities can help tell if they are backed up or not. Also, try shining a flashlight on the facial skin outside sinus cavities. Light will be visible inside the mouth if they are not clogged. Your health care provider can perform these tests, or a friend or family member who is knowledgeable about sinus cavity locations.
Major Causes of Sinusitis
- Many recent studies have indicated that yeast infections in the body (such as Candida and others) may be responsible for many cases of sinusitis. Yeast overgrowth can be the cause of ongoing or chronic sinusitis.
- Viral infections, such as the common cold, can often trigger acute sinusitis (which can turn into chronic).
- Fungi in the atmosphere is also a key factor in many sinusitis cases, especially for people who are sensitive or pre-disposed to fungal irritation. Mold and other types of fungii can cause the immune system to produce inflammatory agents that can lead to sinusitis.
- Toxic metal overload. According to Swiss research, Candida can actually protect your body from toxic metal overload. Candida surrounds metals in the body, encompanssing them, in an effort to protect the body from foreign metals. If toxic metal overload remains present in the body, Candida overgrowth will continue to flourish. Candida overgrowth is often due to toxic metal overload (mercury gradually leaching from silver fillings). Rather than trying to ‘kill’ the Candida, the best solution is to clear the heavy metals and toxic dental work so the Candida can return to a normal balance in the body.
- Allergies such as hay fever, asthma, and others can also trigger sinusitis.
- Other less common sources for sinusitis include facial trauma or birth defects that result in an abnormal facial structure. Some medical conditions can also cause excess mucous to accumulate in the body, including the sinuses. Cystic fibrosis is an example of such a condition.
How to Naturally Remedy and Prevent Sinusitis
There are several steps you can take to prevent yourself from ever getting sinusitis or to deal with it effectively if it should occur.
Avoiding the use of antibiotic drugs is one of the best tips. Often, the first thing many doctors will do is to prescribe antibiotics for a bad cold or suspected sinusitis. Typically sinusitis is either a viral or fungal infection and antibiotics may not do the trick. And in addition, if your body is inundated with antibiotics, true bacterial infections can become immune to these drugs. This only increases your risk for sinusitis and other infections. Below are some natural sinusitis fighting techniques that can support your body’s natural healing abilities.
- Hydration. Drink generous amounts of filtered water. This will do many beneficial things for your body, including keeping your mucous membranes moist and healthy. This alone can prevent many cases of sinusitis. (Mayo Clinic 2012b; NIH 2012) Add some organic lemon juice to further help with respiratory concerns.
- Moist Air. Use a humidifier, especially during the winter months, to keep the air in your home moist. Moist air will also keep your mucous membranes healthy and less prone to infection.
- Warm Compresses. If you do develop sinusitis, try applying warm compresses on your face and head. Warm compresses will keep mucous in the sinus cavities more fluid and thus more easily expelled from the body. Warm compresses may also help reduce pressure and pain. (AAFP 2008; Mayo Clinic 2012b; NIH 2012)
- Environmental Pollutants. Avoid environments that are polluted with pollen, mold, smoke, and other potential irritants. If these common triggers of sinusitis can be avoided, it will certainly be to your benefit.
- Nascent Iodine. As indicated above, sinusitis can be caused by a yeast imbalance in the body. Iodine is a proven anti-fungal and many have found that it can help with sinusitis. I highly suggest a quality nascent iodine. Take orally according to bottle directions. You can also place one drop of nascent iodine along with warm purified water in your netipot and rinse your sinuses 2-3 times daily.
- Liver Support. Your liver is the main filter of your body. When it is toxic or sluggish infections can get a stronger hold on the body. Liver cleansing will help to support your immune system as well as making sure that your body is eliminating toxins effectively.
- Yeast/Candida. Be watchful for symptoms of yeast overgrowth and other factors such as antibiotic use that can encourage Candida overgrowth. Take a quality probiotic/prebiotic to promote intestinal health and the growth beneficial flora in the body. Performing a therapeutic parasite cleanse can help eliminate Candida over-growth as well as other parasites. ACS200 Extra Strength along with ACZnano Extra Strength is also recommended for yeast overgrowth.
- Wild Mediterranean Oregano Oil is highly beneficial in helping with yeast overgrowth as well as calming down allergies and sinus inflammation. The one my family uses and finds effective and the one I use and recommend is Oregatrex.
- Vitamin C. The human body is unable to synthesize vitamin C, thus Vitamin C must be acquired from the diet (Hemavathi 2010). Research shows a sufficient daily intake of Vitamin C is required for the immune system to defend the body against infections (especially viral infections) (Ely 2007). Evidence suggests that supplementation with 1000 mg daily of Vitamin C can decrease the risk of catching a cold (Holt 2010). When given in doses greater than 200 mg daily, vitamin C has been shown to reduce the duration of cold symptoms by 1-4 days (Khalid 2011).
- Healthy Diet. Fresh organic vegetables and fruits will not only make you feel better but they can help to boost your immune system. Eliminate refined sugar, white flour, dairy, hydrogenated oils, junk foods and pre-packaged foods. Focus on real plant-based foods that are organic and anti-inflammatory. A diet rich in antioxidants may boost immune function and help fight infection (NIH 2012).
- Zinc. Zinc supplementation is considered an effective therapy for reducing the duration of the common cold (Roxas 2007; Nriagu 2007). A 2011 study concluded that zinc supplementation significantly reduced both duration and severity of the common cold when administered within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms. This study also revealed that zinc supplementation over 5 months was helpful for preventing infection by common cold viruses (Singh 2011). I personally use and recommend Zinc Orotate.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine consumption, since they can cause dehydration and contribute to nasal and sinus swelling (AAFP 2008; Mayo Clinic 2012b)
- Salt-Air Respiratory Inhaler. The use of salt for therapeutic treatment for asthma, sinus concerns and other respiratory ailments has been practiced successfully through the ages. Halotherapy (Halo=Salt in Greek), and Speleo-therapy (Speleos=Cave), are well known in Europe. Many find this an exceptional way to help clear sinus congestion. (Friedman 2006, 2012)
- Steam. Inhaling steam with a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil in it can loosen up sinus congestion and allow for better drainage and faster healing. Try putting a towel over your head to form a tent that will give you the best results.
- Don’t Skip on Sleep. Quality sleep is critical too, especially when fighting sinus or other infections. Try sleeping with your head elevated. You will be able to breathe easier and and as a result get the sleep your body needs to repair and heal. Be sure to allergen-proof your bedding and pillows. (AAFP 2008; Mayo Clinic 2012b)
- Immune Enhancement. During cold, flu and allergy season using an immune enhancer can be very profitable in curbing sinus and yeast infections. Lauricidin® (anti-bacterial, fungal/yeast and viral) may offer a distinctive nutraceutical alternative to many drugs and antibiotics.
- Sinusitis Relief with Therapeutic Ultrasound. Therapeutic ultrasound, in which low-frequency ultrasound waves are applied to the sinuses, appears to be an effective drug-free treatment for chronic, as well as acute sinusitis, with little potential for side effects (Patel 2012). A 2012 study on 30 chronic rhinosinusitis patients who received therapeutic ultrasound 3 days per week for 10 sessions revealed a reduction of sinusitis symptoms of up to 65% (Ansari 2012). In a larger 2010 trial involving 42 subjects with acute sinusitis, therapeutic ultrasound administered for 4 consecutive days provided as much relief from symptoms as the antibiotic amoxicillin (Hosoien 2010). Therapeutic ultrasound has been shown to disrupt biofilms (Karosi 2012). A Biofilm is a layer of mucus-like film secreted by some pathogens that helps infectious organisms colonize a surface. Organisms embedded in a biofilm are very difficult to eradicate. In the sinus cavities, biofilms appear to contribute to persistent infection and are associated with sinusitis (Biel 2011; Bezerra 2009). Therapeutic ultrasound appears to disrupt biofilm, which may contribute to its efficacy in relieving sinusitis symptoms (Karosi 2012; Patel 2012; Young 2010).
In 1999, the Mayo Clinic published that 99% of all chronic sinusitis cases were influenced by fungus. 99%!! It’s safe to say that mold, fungus and mildew can play a huge role in causing inflammation in the sinuses. Yet, many doctors, almost 20 years later, still hand out antibiotics as treatment for sinus issues. We must find better standard treatment recommendations since the ones now used may certainly be responsible for sustaining a fungal infection that may be the actual root cause of sinus issues to begin with.
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