Do you have a stuffy nose? Or a cough that’s worse at night? Suffer sore throat or ear pain? If so, you may have chronic sinusitis (inflammed sinuses).
32 million people have this kind of persistent sinus infection. Pain (in the forehead, upper jaw, or teeth, or around your cheeks, eyes, or nose), postnasal drip, bad breath, fatigue or irritability, dizziness, and even nausea can also signal chronic sinus inflammation.
Commonly prescribed for a sinus infection, antibiotics can turn temporary pain to a chronic problem. That’s because sinus inflammation often stems from biofilms (clumps of pathogens implicated in 80 percent of infections)—and oral antibiotics don’t work against them.
Producing a slimy coating that’s hard to penetrate, Candida albicans is a notorious—and difficult to eradicate—source of fungal biofilms in the body. Because antibiotic drugs kill off both good and bad bacteria, they create an internal environment where Candida yeast, which occurs naturally in the human body, quickly grows out of control.
Antibiotics can also disrupt the body’s natural pH balance. Without a healthy acid balance, immunity is compromised, allowing yeasts, molds, and harmful bacteria to multiply.
One in three American women have symptoms of candidiasis, a chronic yeast infection. Besides nasal congestion and sinus pain, yeast infections cause fatigue, indigestion, acne and skin rashes, sore or bleeding gums, thrush (white patches in the mouth or throat), and urinary or vaginal problems.
Candida yeast overgrowth is prevalent in women who use antibiotics—whether to treat a sinus infection or acne—or who have been on estrogen (including birth control pills), have had children, and/or consume a high-sugar diet.
First, Control the Yeast Infection
To kill off yeast that’s the underlying cause of chronic sinusitis, eat more protein (beans, chicken, fish, and lean meat), as well as essential fats and vegetables. Cut out sugar and high-glycemic carbs, especially grains that contain yeast or molds.
Fungi produce over 300 types of dangerous mycotoxins on foods. Grains pose the most frequent and serious risk for fungal contamination. So people with yeast infections need to limit their consumption of corn, wheat, and peanuts—all subject to fungal contamination.
New research in South Korea finds that pumpkin skins contain a potent antifungal protein that combats yeast infections, including candida. Known as Pr-2, this substance in pumpkin rinds also blocks fungi that attack plant crops.
Caprylic acid, found in coconut oil, is an effective antifungal in the digestive tract. It works as well in tamping down yeast overgrowth as the drug nystatin, which may damage the liver. I also like olive leaf extract, a potent antimicrobial, to fight fungi and yeasts—along with bacteria and viruses.
Most important in crowding out systemic yeasts and other pathogens, take Flora-Key, which contains both probiotics—each teaspoon has 6.5 million good bacteria including acidophilus and bifidus—and prebiotics to feed these beneficial bacteria.
Then, Clear Out Your Sinuses
More effective than antibiotics, salt can prevent sinus problems in the first place. Combine ½ teaspoon of non-iodized salt (or ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon baking soda) in a cup of lukewarm water and use this mixture in a sterile eyedropper or neti pot.
Rinse your nasal passages twice a day until the infection clears—or whenever you feel sinus pain starting up again. If your throat is sore too, gargle with warm salt water.
Many aromatherapy oils—eucalyptus, oregano, tea tree, and thyme—are antifungal. Use one of these healing essential oils in a room diffuser or add a few drops to your bath water—the steam will help keep your sinuses clear.