sinus problems

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Chronic congestion of the sinuses, ears and/or the nose can be an extremely frustrating sinusitis problem that does not ever truly seem to go away.

All too often I hear patients state that they have not found relief even after many rounds of antibiotics or multiple surgeries. This is because antibiotics and surgery often don’t address the cause of the congestion.

What Causes Sinusitis and Runny Nose? 

Sinus infection (sinusitis) and runny nose are inflammatory conditions that result in mucous production and congestion. This leads to the resulting problems of sinus pressure headaches, a runny nose, or stuffy ears.

What Causes Inflammation? 

Inflammation is caused by anything that can activate the immune system. It can be caused by a bacterial, fungal, or viral infections, or by environmental or food allergies. 
Bacterial and fungal infections are readily treated by antibiotics, and viral infections generally resolve on their own. Food allergies are the most under-rated cause of inflammation and congestion, and frequently exacerbate known environmental allergies.

How Do Food Allergies Trigger Sinusitis or a Runny Nose?

An allergy is an immune response, resulting in inflammation and in this case mucous production. Such a response to food can be exhibited in any part of the body, because nutrients are digested, absorbed and circulated throughout the body. This is why food allergies can cause a wide range of problems, including sinusitis and runny noses. 
There are many other conditions that can be caused by food allergies.

What Foods Trigger Sinusitis and Allergic Rhinitis?


Any food that can trigger the immune system via an allergic reaction is capable of causing sinusitis or allergic rhinitis. And the fact is, any food is equally capable of triggering an allergic reaction. 
There is no one-to-one correlation between foods and symptoms or diseases. Food allergies result in inflammation, which then leads to problems such as sinusitis. 
Therefore proper blood testing must be done in order to determine one’s food allergies.

Click here for more information on testing for food allergies.

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(Image thanks to medicalcenter.osu.edu)

Many people with sinus infection complain that after having taken multiple courses of antibiotics or even following surgery, in the end they feel the same as they did before their treatment. Their sinusitis problem returns with a vengeance. What is the problem? Aren’t they getting the right antibiotic?

The answer is that in these people, the antibiotics are only treating the bacterial infection that is secondary to the inflammation clogging their sinuses. Therefore antibiotics don’t get at the real cause of the problem. The same can be said for surgery. Surgery may scrape out the sinuses or open up a bigger hole for them to drain, but these treatments only address secondary problems resulting from the inflammation. Therefore the original sinus problem remains.

The inflammation that is causing the sinus pain requires a trigger. The real question is, “What is causing the inflammation?” Anything that triggers the immune system can be that trigger, because the immune system is what causes inflammation and mucous production. Bacteria, which are treated with antibiotics, are only one cause of inflammation.

One of the most likely causes of chronic sinus infection or nasal congestion is a food allergy. Food allergies constantly trigger the immune system, therefore the inflammation never permanently goes away. This can result in a persistent runny nose, or recurrent sinus infections due to the moist and poorly draining/inflamed environment that is maintained in the sinuses.

Image thanks to medicalcenter.osu.edu