Have you ever experienced a cold that just won’t quit?
Even after symptoms of throat and chest pain subside, it can take another few weeks for stuffiness and nasal discharge to clear up.
While this extra mucus and congestion can be normal in some cases, it can also be an indication of a sinus infection.
What Is Acute Sinusitis ?
Sinusitis is an inflammation, or swelling, of the tissue lining the sinuses. Normally, sinuses are filled with air, but when sinuses become blocked and filled with fluid, germs (bacteria, viruses, and fungi) can grow and cause an infection.
About 37 million Americans suffer from at least one episode of sinusitis each year (1).
The condition is typically caused by:
- Nasal mucous membrane swelling (caused by allergies or a cold)
- Blocked or narrow drainage ducts
- Nasal polyps
- Immune deficiencies, immunosupressant drugs or antibiotics
Common symptoms include:
- Facial pain/pressure
- Nasal stuffiness
- Nasal discharge
- Loss of smell
- Congestion and headache
- Bad breath
- Dental Pain
The Truth About Acute Sinusitis
Although the condition is often treated with antibiotics, bacteria isn’t the cause of most sinus infections.
It’s been estimated that up to 80% of the U.S. adult population has some form of candida overgrowth (2).
Candida is a fungus that occurs naturally in the human body and is kept in balance by the healthy bacteria in your gut, which actually feed on the yeast. Antibiotics and stress kills off your good bacteria, causing the yeast to overgrow (2).
The pathogenic fungus is particularly difficult to fight because it forms a protective biofilm which renders antibacterial and antifungal medication useless (3). They thrive in moist and dark areas like nasal cavities (4).
Actually, fungal sinusitis is almost exclusively caused by candida overgrowth, although some kinds of fungal sinusitis can also grow into mushroom-like polyps (2,5). The fungus can also cause thrush in the throat and mouth.
In fact, a 1999 study found that that allergic fungal sinusitis is present in most patients with chronic rhinosinusitis. To be precise 96% had fungal cultures in their nasal secretions. These subsided after anti-inflammatory and antifungal treatment (6).
Control The Yeast
The best way to prevent and treat fungal overgrowth is by supplying your gut with beneficial bacteria through probiotic and prebiotic foods.
It’s also a good idea to avoid fungus-prone grains like wheat and corn and cut out excess sugar from your diet (7).
A group of Korean researchers have also discovered that the skin on pumpkin seeds contains Pr-2 proteins which fight the species of candida responsible for vaginal yeast infections, yeast-related diaper rash, and other yeast-related health problems (8).
You can also add more coconut oil and apple cider vinegar to your diet, which are both potent anti-fungals (9,10).
How To Clear Your Sinuses
Along with changing your diet, you can clear the fungus from your sinuses by rinsing out your nose and mouth with a saline solution.
Just use a cup boiled water with ½ a teaspoon each of sea salt and baking soda. Pour it into a sterile eye dropper or a neti pot and drain your sinuses daily.
You can also find relief by applying warm compresses to your face to lessen inflammation or inhaling the steam of oregano, tea tree, eucalyptus, or thyme essential oil, which all have anti-fungal properties (11).