by: Dr. Craig A. Maxwell
Do you clear your throat constantly? Are your nostrils so plugged up, you can’t even remember the last time you could keep your mouth closed while chewing? Chronic sinus problems are an issue for millions of people so you’re not alone. Let’s take a look at some of the common causes of chronic sinus problems and what you can do to clear the mucous out of your nose and throat for good!
Types of Sinus Problems
Most sinus sufferers typically deal with a variety of nasal ailments that are triggered by the following:
- Allergic Rhinitis – For some, chronic allergies are a way of life. Not only do they have hay fever, they struggle with sensitivity to dust, pollen, mold, pet dander, and (it may seem) everything else under the sun.
- Postnasal Drip – Food and environmental allergies often lead to an annoying condition called postnasal drip. Mucous is thick and collects at the back of your throat in layers. You may find yourself constantly clearing your throat or “sucking” the snot out and swallowing hard to get it down.
- Overactive Sinuses – Overactive sinuses are another common cause of sinus problems. It doesn’t seem to matter what you do, your nose is running or mucous is draining into the back of your throat. Overactive sinuses can be triggered by anything and often seem to be worse after eating or when just waking in the morning.
- Chronic Sinus Infections – Chronic sinus infections are an issue for many people. Symptoms include pressure and pain in the sinus area, stuffed nose, green or brown discharge from the nose, and postnasal drip.
- Chronic Sinusitis – Chronic sinusitis means the sinus passages are nearly always inflamed and it may be difficult if not impossible to breathe through either nostril.
What Causes Chronic Sinus Problems?
- Deviated Septum
Sometimes, chronic sinusitis and other sinus problems are the result of a deviated septum. The front portion of the nasal passages has a firm but bendable structure of cartilage separating the two nostrils. The ideal septum should be placed right down the midline so that both nostrils take in and release air evenly. When the septum is too far from the midline, it is called a deviated septum and can cause all of the above-mentioned sinus problems.
- Food Allergies
Food allergies are another common cause of sinus problems. Gluten intolerance and milk allergy (not to be confused with lactose intolerance) are likely triggers. With milk allergy, the body produces a histamine-allergic response to the milk, alerting the body to create mucous and inflammation to fight what it believes to be a foreign invader. Gluten intolerance is an inability to digest the protein found in wheat, rye, and barley, and certain types of oats. People with this intolerance notice symptoms such as chronic gastrointestinal upset, brain fog, and sinusitis.
- Environmental Allergies
Environmental allergies are a common nasal problem trigger. Dust, pollen, mold, and pet dander can keep the body’s defense mechanisms in hyper-drive throughout the day, leading to chronic and lasting sinus problems. Furthermore, chemicals such as cleaning products, air fresheners, and cosmetics can trigger post-nasal drip and other sinus problems.
- Overactive Immune System
Autoimmune disease, environmental allergies, food allergies, leaky gut syndrome, chronic candida, parasitic infection, and low gut bacteria can all contribute to an overactive immune system. People with overactive immune systems react to everything. Their bodies produce mucous on an almost 24-hour basis to “defend” them against everything in their environment.
To test for chronic candida infection, parasites, and leaky gut syndrome, I recommend Doctor’s Data Comprehensive Stool Analysis x 3 DD Kit, which evaluates for parasites, all strains of yeast, leaky gut, dysbiotic bacteria, digestive enzymes, digestion capability, and even a count of all probiotics!
Natural Treatments for Chronic Sinus Problems
Most conventional methods for treating chronic sinus problems include antihistamines, decongestants, and expectorants. These may work in the short term to address symptoms but they do nothing to address the underlying cause. For my patients, I recommend a more holistic approach.
- Elimination of Allergies
Patients with chronic sinus problems often benefit from finding out what foods and environmental causes are triggering their allergic reaction. When you’re struggling to figure out which chemicals or foods might be causing your sinus problems, narrowing them down by elimination can be almost impossible.
This is why I recommend the Alcat Comprehensive Wellness 1-Kit. It tells you exactly what foods and chemicals you might be sensitive to, and how severely. Just take it to the nearest Labcorp office for blood drawing and they pack it and send it off for you! You should receive your results in 7-10 business days.
- Dietary Changes
Oftentimes, whether you’re allergic to milk or not, eating lots of dairy products can make mucous production worse, causing postnasal drip, cough, and sore throat. Switch to dairy-free alternatives to see if this makes a difference. Also, try cutting gluten from your diet for a couple of weeks to see if this relieves symptoms.
Since your body is already overactive and oversensitive to its environment, it’s important to cut junk from your diet. A whole-food diet filled with organic vegetables, fruit, flax seed, garlic, cayenne pepper, lean meats, whole grains, and healthy fats can go a long way in fueling your body and getting your immune system back in balance.
An overactive immune system needs good support. When you’re living with chronic sinus problems, you especially need good nutrition. No matter how healthy your diet, poor digestion and food allergies can lead to malnutrition, which could make your sinus issues worse.
For my patients, I recommend the following supplements:
These whole-food dietary supplements aren’t anything like the store-bought vitamins you’re used to. They are made from food ingredients with no additives or preservatives, making them bioavailable to your body so you can actually absorb them!
Foundation’s nutrients include:
- Vitamin A – 7,500 IU
- Vitamin C – 500 mg
- Vitamin D3 – 500 IU
- Vitamin E – 100 IU
- Vitamin K – 50 mcg
- Thiamine – 25 mg
- Riboflavin – 25 mg
- Niacin – 25 mg
- Vitamin B6 – 38 mg
- Folic Acid – 400 mcg
- Vitamin B12 – 500 mcg
- Biotin – 200 mcg
- Panthothenic Acid – 150 mg
- Calcium – 100 mg
- Iodine – 113 mcg
- Magnesium – 200 mg
- Zinc – 10 mg
- Selenium – 100 mcg
- Copper – 1 mg
- Manganese – 2.5 mg
- Chromium – 200 mcg
- Molybdenum – 25 mcg
- Potassium – 50 mg
- Choline Bitartrate USP – 50 mg
- Inositol – 50 mg
- Mixed Tocopherols – 50 mg
- Lipoic Acid – 25 mg
- N-Acetyl-Cysteine USP – 25 mg
- Rutin – 25 mg
- Lutein – 3 mg
- Boron – 1.5 mg
- Lycopene – 1 mg
- Vanadyl Sulfate Hydrate – 1 mg
Diamond Nutritionals’ Ultra Probiotic Formula
Up to 70% of your immune system is located in your gut and if gut bacteria is low, your immune system may be overactive. Adding a good quality probiotic supplement to your diet can reduce chronic inflammation and cut down on allergic response.
For my sinus patients, I recommend Diamond Nutritionals’ Ultra Probiotic Formula. Unlike other probiotics, which only contain 1 or 2 active cultures in a low-dose capsule, each packet of Ultra Probiotic Formula contains 225 billion CFUs (colony-forming units) complete with six unique probiotic strains to populate your gut fast and relieve the discomfort of chronic sinus problems.
These strains include lactobacillus plantarum, lactobacillus acidophilus, bifidobacterium lactis, lactobacillus salivarius, lactobacillus casei, and bifidobacterium bifidum.
Diamond Nutritional’s Sinus Formula
To get your sinuses back in balance so you can start breathing easy again, I recommend Diamond Nutritionals’ Sinus Formula.It contains a blend of ingredients designed to keep nasal passages clear and inflammation-free.
These ingredients include:
- Vitamin C – 150 mg
Vitamin C acts as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that gives your immune system the support it needs to ease chronic sinus congestion and postnasal drip.
- Quercetin Dihydrate – 200 mg
A powerful anti-allergen, this biologically-active flavonoid prevents the release of histamine, blocking chronic allergic response.
- Stinging Nettles Leaf – 200 mg
Stinging nettles act as a natural anti-inflammatory that eases chronic nasal inflammation.
- Bromelain – 50 mg
Slow or poor digestion can lead to overactive immune system response. Bromelain cuts down on this by providing your digestive system the support it needs to assimilate nutrients and eliminate properly.
- N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine USP – 25 mg
This helps ease chronic inflammation and allergic symptoms while providing immune system support.
- Neti Pot Solution
Chronic sinus problem sufferers would do well to try a neti pot solution. Neti pots look similar to small genie lamps and hold a saline solution designed to flush your sinuses of debris for better breathing and decreased mucous build-up.
To make your own neti pot solution, you’ll need:
- ¼ teaspoon of betadine
- ¼ teaspoon of baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon of liquid glycerine
- 4 ounces of warm water
Mix the solution together in the neti pot and use in both nostrils over a sink or basin. When you’re using a neti pot correctly, the solution should go into one nostril and out the other. Oftentimes, a blocked nostril or a deviated septum will halt this progress. If your nose is too congested, try using a baby bulb syringe instead to flush out the sinuses. You may also wish to use a homeopathic nasal decongestant to temporarily open up blocked nostrils so you can use the neti pot or bulb syringe.
For patients with chronic sinus infection and incredible amounts of mucous running down into their throats on a daily basis, there’s hope. Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of diet and lifestyle change and the right kind of supplements to address your unique condition. After that, you’ll be back in control and on your way to optimum health!
Dr. Maxwell frequently consults with patients who are suffering with sinus conditions. His goal is to identify and eliminate the underlying cause(s). Please feel free to call our Integrative Medical Center at 513-741-4404. We will be glad to schedule a consultation for you and answer any questions you may have.