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New solutions for sinusitis: The most common hidden infection

Have you ever suffered from a chronic sinus infection? Not only can it be frustrating, but it can sometimes be debilitating. Today, we will take a closer lose at chronic sinusitis, and what you can do to feel better.

Sinus Infections: Defined

When it comes to sinus infections, they typically begin with congestion – followed by pressure and pain. You cannot breathe and you feel very uncomfortable.

You visit the doctor and are promptly prescribed a round of antibiotics. The symptoms go away for a couple of weeks and then the infection reappears.

Key Insight: Chronic sinus infections are characterized by being present for a period of at least 12 weeks. At Integrative Health I have treated people that have had sinus infections for months – and even years!

Diagnosing A Sinus Infection

When it comes to a proper diagnosis. At least two of the following must be present:

  • Anterior and/or posterior nasal discharge
  • Nasal congestion or obstruction
  • Pain at the site of your sinuses
  • Inability to smell1

Key Insight: Don’t forget that for an infection to qualify as chronic, it must be present for at least twelve weeks.

Daily Reset Shake - Dr. Alan Christianson

It all starts as a viral infection2 that should be cleared by a healthy immune system, but because of stress3, environmental allergies, inflammation, and even poor nutrition4 a weakened immune system allows the infection to progress.

Ultimately, you can reduce your chances of having a chronic infection by considering the following:

  • Reducing stress in your life
  • Enjoying appropriate nutrition
  • Taking steps to reduce inflammation
  • Rid yourself of environmental allergies (more to come on this!)

Understanding Infectious Agents

Chances are that you might be reading this because you currently have a chronic infection, let’s dive into what causes them…

Bacteria

The sinuses, just like your gut, are covered with good bacteria. Sometimes, an overgrowth of bad bacteria can lead to an infection5.

When the sinuses get an overgrowth of bacteria that produce inflammatory compounds, you will begin to see more of these pesky symptoms.

The most problematic bacteria in the sinus are the category of anaerobes, or bacteria, that can grow without the use of oxygen. The most common problematic anaerobes are:

  • Fusobacterium nucleatum
  • Pigmented Prevotella spp
  • Porphyromonas spp
  • Peptostreptococcus spp

Aerobes, or bacteria that utilize oxygen for growth, are commensal flora. Recent studies have shown that aerobic bacteria can also be problematic because they create an acidic environment where bad bacteria thrive.

These include both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. The gram negatives are:

  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae
  • Proteus mirabilis
  • Enterobacter spp
  • Escherichia coli
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis

Key Insight: If bacteria are constantly exposed to antibiotics they can mutate and become resistant like MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)5.

Most importantly, bacteria can create biofilms or “scaffolding” made up of minerals that help them protect themselves from the antibiotic attack. These biofilms also help foster a living environment for fungus6.

Fungi and yeasts are not bacteria, they are a completely different organism that can colonize the sinuses. The invasion might start with exposure to mold or spores from dirty air conditioners, misters or mildew from water damage.

Bottom Line: These types of infections are often missed because nasal swabs mostly test for bacteria. If you have suffered from chronic infections a thorough culture should be investigated7.

Fixing The Problem

First, identifying that you have an infection and your symptoms are not caused by seasonal, environmental allergies or food allergies is very important. This should be done by your doctor with objective testing and a physical exam.

If invasive bacteria or yeast are found, antimicrobial therapy should be used. At Integrative Health, we try to steer away from antibiotics because they can also affect your gut health.

Instead, our docs prefer nasal antimicrobials that will not hurt your good bacteria8. For example, grapefruit seed extract sprays coupled with biofilm inhibitors are very effective at reducing the bacterial load.

Once the microbiome of your sinuses is clean, re-populate it with good bacteria. In fact, the presence of Actinobacteria, Burkholderia and Propionibacterium phylotype have been shown to predict full resolution of chronic sinusitis after therapy9.

Key Insight: You can populate your sinuses with good bacteria with chewable sinus specific probiotics.

Your immune system should also be optimized. The use of glutathione for an improved immune system is well documented10. Coupling glutathione with nutrients such as vitamin C, in the form of an IV, can improve the immune system wonderfully.

Finally, if your immune system is under constant attack from your allergies, desensitization therapy can be life-changing. Desensitizing therapy introduces your most allergic compounds in very diluted doses to help your immune system understand and tolerate them without fronting an attack11. In practice, we have seen this therapy be a life changer!

Remove the obstacles to health and consider the following:

  • Eradicate the bacteria or yeast (if it is present)
  • Improve your immune system with glutathione
  • Resolve nutritional deficiencies
  • Train your immune system and get rid of environmental and food sensitivities

Should You Get Checked?

If you suffer from chronic sinus infections, you should get tested. The test is simple, a non-invasive nose swab sample can be performed at Integrative Health and sent to a special lab where the samples are kept for a month to ensure that even the slowest of growing bacteria and fungi are identified and tested to ensure the proper treatment is selected.

Bottom Line: If you have had multiple antibiotic treatments for respiratory infections, if you live in areas of high humidity, you have found mold in your house or if you suffer for an intractable hidden infection and you’ve checked your stool and blood for infections like Lyme and EBV and your results were negative, you might have a Chronic Sinus Infection.

Resolve Chronic Sinus Infections Today

There is hope for chronic sinus infections. Remember, these infections are multifactorial that involve your immune system, bacterial overgrowth, resistance to antibiotics, mold, yeast and biofilms.

Make sure to get an objective diagnosis and appropriate treatment that fully removes obstacles to health.

In Good Health: We believe that chronic sinus infections have been preventing people from achieving optimal health for far too long. For this reason, for the month of July we are offering a $40 discount on Chronic Sinus Infection Testing, for current Integrative Healthcare patients, to help you achieve your goals of Optimal Health!

1. Rosenfeld RM, Piccirillo JF, Chandrasekhar SS, et al. Clinical Practice Guideline (Update): Adult Sinusitis. Otolaryngol Neck Surg. 2015;152(2_suppl):S1-S39. doi:10.1177/0194599815572097.
2. Sande MA, Gwaltney JM. Acute community-acquired bacterial sinusitis: continuing challenges and current management. Clin Infect Dis. 2004;39 Suppl 3(Supplement_3):S151-8. doi:10.1086/421353.
3. Morey JN, Boggero IA, Scott AB, Segerstrom SC. Current Directions in Stress and Human Immune Function. Curr Opin Psychol. 2015;5:13-17. doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.03.007.
Albers R, Bourdet-Sicard R, Braun D, et al. Monitoring immune modulation by nutrition in the general population: identifying and substantiating effects on human health. Br J Nutr. 2013;110(S2):S1-S30. doi:10.1017/S0007114513001505.
5. Brook I. Aerobic and anaerobic bacterial flora of normal maxillary sinuses. Laryngoscope. 1981;91(3):372-376. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7464398. Accessed June 2, 2018.
Karunasagar A, Garag SS, Appannavar SB, Kulkarni RD, Naik AS. Bacterial Biofilms in Chronic Rhinosinusitis and Their Implications for Clinical Management. Indian J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2018;70(1):43-48. doi:10.1007/s12070-017-1208-0.
7. Hamilos DL, Lund VJ. Etiology of chronic rhinosinusitis: the role of fungus. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol Suppl. 2004;193:27-31. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15174758. Accessed June 2, 2018.
8. Lim M, Citardi MJ, Leong J-L. Topical antimicrobials in the management of chronic rhinosinusitis: A systematic review. Am J Rhinol. 2008;22(4):381-389. doi:10.2500/ajr.2008.22.3189.
9. Wagner Mackenzie B, Waite DW, Hoggard M, Douglas RG, Taylor MW, Biswas K. Bacterial community collapse: a meta-analysis of the sinonasal microbiota in chronic rhinosinusitis. Environ Microbiol. 2017;19(1):381-392. doi:10.1111/1462-2920.13632.
10. Ghezzi P. Role of glutathione in immunity and inflammation in the lung. Int J Gen Med. 2011;4:105-113. doi:10.2147/IJGM.S15618.
11. Scurlock AM. Oral and Sublingual Immunotherapy for Treatment of IgE-Mediated Food Allergy. Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. April 2018. doi:10.1007/s12016-018-8677-0.

Written by Dr. Guillermo Ruiz of Integrative Health. Dr. Ruiz is an Associate Physician with Integrative Health, interested in the treatment of endocrine disease with a focus on thyroid health. Under the mentorship of Dr. Alan Christianson, Dr. Ruiz expanded his knowledge on the treatment of Hashimoto’s and Grave’s disease and has completed advanced endocrinology training in order to better address and resolve endocrine disease.

Learn more about Dr. Ruiz here

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