MANAGEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS for
CHRONIC SINUS and NASAL SYMPTOMS
Prolonged antibiotics or surgery rarely cures recurrent sinus infections. In fact, there are studies indicting that a very large percentage of chronic sinus infections are not due to bacteria but yeast/fungi. Surgery does allow the sinuses a chance to drain, and if obstruction is the cause of the infections, then a “cure” may be achieved. Of course, there are many other factors that promote sinusitis. Unless these are addressed, the problem will remain and unfortunately, the bacteria or fungi may only get more resistant to the antibiotics/antifungals available. My approach is identify and correct (as possible) any of the contributing factors:
Allergies – cause the nasal lining to swell preventing sinus drainage and stimulate excess mucus production. Foods and inhaled allergens can be the culprit. By strengthening the adrenals, allergies can often be reduced to a minor nuisance. The basis for medications used to reduce inflammation (nasal steroid sprays) and decongestants are both derived from the chemicals produced by your own adrenals.
Immunodeficiency – allow even the weakest of viruses and bacteria to overgrow. Subtle immune insufficiencies may not always be associated with serious infections. Many immune disorders have a nutritional basis.
Re-infection – repetitive exposure to infectious individuals raises the risk of infection. Wash your hands! If you’ve been on antibacterials, replenish your gut flora with beneficial probiotic bacteria and you should reduce re-infections.
Gastrointestinal – as an outgrowth of the embryonic gut, the sinuses share innervation with the gut. Mucus secretion is a natural response to gastrointestinal irritation and may involve the sinuses reflexively. A healthy gut includes proper digestion, bacterial flora, mucosal integrity, etc. It is intriguing that the stomach meridian in Traditional Chinese Medicine ends over the maxillary sinuses.
Cervical/Neck – the second cervical vertebrae innervates the sinuses. Irritation of the nerve roots may promote congestion and mucus secretion that creates a favorable environment for bacterial overgrowth. A kink in the neck or subluxed disc could contribute to sinus symptoms.
Structural – an obstructed opening to the sinuses allows mucus and bacteria to accumulate. Surgically creating or improving the passageway can be curative in this case. The septum is rarely deviated enough to cause obstruction, however.
Membrane irritation – irritants that injure the mucus membrane give microbes an entryway past the primary defense barrier into vulnerable tissues. A healthy mucus membrane is key to resisting infection. Supplemental food based vitamins can visibly improve your mucus membrane barrier. Minimizing irritants will also help reduce inflammation and allow healing.
Metabolic – an over-stimulated parasympathetic nervous system may create congestion and excess mucus. Acidity is associated with a tendency to viral infections (hence the development of cold sores and canker sores with acidic foods). Other conditions promote allergies, reduce immunity, etc.
Dental – an infected dental root or implant could be supplying the sinuses with a source of bacteria.
There are three main goals in treating sinusitis in the short run:
Decrease nasal congestion to allow the mucus to drain from the sinuses.
Drain the infected mucus. Leaving mucus will allow the infection to hide from the antibiotic and allow the bacteria a place to re-grow.
Eradicate the infection itself. Sinus irrigation is an option that directs the anti-microbial to the target without flooding the body just to reach the sinuses via the blood stream. As you can imagine, the sinus cavities are difficult to influence with oral medications.