You awake with that familiar foggy head, nasal stuffiness, thick nasal drainage, fatigue, your teeth hurt and your head is splitting. Oh no, another sinus infection. You make an appointment with your health care provider. You tell your provider, “I know I have another sinus infection. The only thing that will clear it up is an antibiotic. Nothing else works.” Does this sound like you? Both you and your health care provider may be making a huge assumption that there is a bacterial cause to your sinus infection. In reality the root cause is very likely fungal. Taking an antibiotic will only mask the root cause and make a bad situation worse. Now certainly the cause could be bacterial, but it also could have a viral or fungal source.
In September, 1999 the prestigious Mayo Clinic reported that nearly all sinus infections were an immune response to a fungus. You read that right. Nearly all sinus problems have a fungal source. Our world is full of mold spores that are airborne. You inhale them through your nasal passages, and in a susceptible host (you) this can lead to inflammation within the nasal passages and sinuses. So instead of asking for an antibiotic, you might want to ask, “Could this be a fungus?” An anti-fungal may actually help alleviate and treat your symptoms for fungal sinus infections. That is certainly a step in the right direction. The more important question is, “How do I prevent myself from getting yet another fungal sinus infection in the first place?”
In my last blog I spoke about how the gut is the epicenter to good health. This is true with chronic fungal sinus infections as well. You want your body to be in the best possible position to decrease your risk of developing an infection, including sinus infections in the first place. This starts with eating a healthy diet. Fungus, aka yeast, LOVES sugar and this is its food. So stop feeding it. Eliminate sugar and high carbohydrate foods from your diet. You want to starve the fungus. Avoid foods that can be contaminated with fungus. These can include sugar, alcohol, wheat, rye, barley, peanuts, cottonseed, sorghum, hard cheeses, and corn. You may also have an underlying food sensitivity contributing to your sinus inflammation. Start with eliminating dairy products for a month to see if this helps. There could be other foods contributing to your symptoms as well, but dairy is at the top of the list in addition to those foods listed that are known to be potentially contaminated with fungus.
To help restore balance, aside from eating a healthy diet, start taking a probiotic that
contains Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. The probiotic repopulates the gut with
good bacteria. Additionally, incorporating extra virgin cold pressed coconut oil in your
diet acts as a natural antifungal and can also help decrease fungal overgrowth. Just
adding two tablespoons into your daily diet can help. Use a neti-pot with saline (salt and purified water) to rinse your nasal passages can also help provide relief of nasal congestion. Finally, essentials oils such as peppermint oil, or thieves can not only help you breathe easier but help to reduce fungus and bacteria. Applying these simple tips may help you to breath easier.