Sinusitis and Congestion

by Dr. Wendy Schauer, D.C., R.K.C. on April 8, 2012

If any of you who read my blog live in the Pacific Northwest I would presume that you either have or know someone who has had chronic sinus congestion. I myself live with chronic congestion.  It has been a part of me since 1987 when I worked in a moldy office.  I worked in an office that had once been a hair salon where the purple shag (yes, I said purple shag) carpet was where they shampooed hair.  When I think about it I get really grossed out at what was in that carpet.  That is when I first started getting sinus issues and since then I have tried everything to get rid of it. 

The reason for this post is that I have had numerous patients coming in recently asking for help with their sinus problems and allergies. They are congested and they can’t seem to get rid of it.  I am going to give another side of the story and hopefully those with congestion will try it and see what happens.

First I am going to tell you what I have tried: antibiotics, neti pot with saline, Neil-Med, antihistamines, decongestants, prescription nose sprays, natural nose sprays (including those with grapefruit seed extract, xylitol, cayenne pepper sprays, natural anti-inflammatories), natural anti-inflammatories supplements, natural supplements spefically for sinus issues, vitamin C in high doses, nettles, quercitin, de-humidifier, misting and I am sure I am leaving some things out.

I have patients who take Claritin or some type of decongestant daily to help.  Some use the saline washes and are effective for them. But there is a large percentage of people who do not get help from anything.  Most of these have taken antibiotics, which haven’t helped them at all.  What floors me is that medical doctors keep prescribing antibiotics even though they aren’t effective.  I have patients that have been on 6-7 rounds of antibiotics.  If it didn’t work four times what makes you think it will work 7 times.  I just think of their insides. All of their good gut bacteria is gone, setting them up for other problems.

Here is my take.  I have always believed that mold had something to do with it and that is why antibiotics don’t work.  I just recently ran across a study done by the Mayo Clinic in 1999 (done by Drs. Sherris, Kern and Ponikau) that revealed 96% of people suffering from sinus issues test positive for mold.  They believe it is an immune response to mold not an allergy that causes sinus issues.  “As long as the fungi remain then so will the irritation.”  Antibiotics and other medications geared towards getting rid of bacteria and inflammation may work on acute sinus infections but not chronic problems.

So what do we do?  Diet plays a big role in this one.  A diet high in sugar and carbohydrates will feed the fungus causing it to worsen.  Gluten and sugar work the same way with fungus, causing a breeding ground for it.  Here is my treatment protocol:

     1.  Completely eliminate all sugars and gluten containing products. (candy, cakes, pies, pop, cookies, breads, pasta, cereals) There is no room for compromise if you are trying to get better.

     2.  Eliminate or severely restrict dairy.  Dairy is mucus producing so will add to inflammation.

     3.  If you live in a damp environment get a de-humidifier to take the moisture out of the air.  Mold lives in an environment of over 45% humidity.  I live where the humidity is above 75% almost year round.

    4.  Take probiotics daily to help replace good bacteria and eat raw fermented foods  like sauerkraut to also increase the good bugs.

     5.  Take a Candida supplement to help reduce the Candida (fungus) in your body.  My favorite product is from Rainbow Light called Candida Cleanse.  Take this supplement, or one like it, for 3-6 months to kill the Candida in your body.  You can also take Oregano Oil in tablet form called ADP that you can get from Abundant Health Center, LLC.

     6.  Clean any moldy areas with vinegar (shower curtains, window sills) and get your air vents cleaned.

I have been doing this protocol for three weeks and I am getting better.  In another two weeks I am going to try a grapefruit seed extract nose spray that is supposed to also kill mold.  I tried it before but I was so congested that it just made me worse.  Now that the congestion is better I will try again.  Stay tuned for my response.

Yours In Health,

Dr. Wendy


Annie Born April 9, 2012 at 4:39 AM

You have amazing info here!
Great for everyone who wants to discover more about how to care for thier body!
Looking forward to tomorrow!
Time to Care for the Caregiver!

Sonya Lenzo April 9, 2012 at 6:42 AM

Having worked in the insurance industry for 30 years, I saw many, many cases of mold making people sick.
Myself, I was sick for the entire time I lived in an older building in the United States, and got well when I moved to Costa Rica and lived in a more well ventilated house. Also, changed a lot of my eating habits. Before that I had a bronchitis, sinus problem so severe that I coughed all the time, kept loosing my voice and often could not get my breath. Now I am fine.
Sonya Lenzo

Suzanne Laramoe April 9, 2012 at 10:05 AM

I have had severe sinus problems most of my life and have tried just about everything you listed. Dietary changes seem to really make the most difference. Especially leaving off sugar and limiting starchy carbs.

Lisa Wilcox April 9, 2012 at 10:07 AM

My husband suffers from “allergies” “hayfever” etc., I love your advice. An elimination diet would help people suffering. I know it’s hard for people to understand that the foods they eat can contribute to their sinusitis. Wheat, sugar, dairy elimination would greatly help! Taking the probioitics are a must! I have taken and recommended ADP (oregano oil) which is a great product.

Local Foodie!
Lisa Wilcox

Jake April 9, 2012 at 2:22 PM

I think maybe I should move into a tipi to cure my sinus stuff. Or I’ll just do the things you mention:)

Jake – Trainer

Shane Aric April 9, 2012 at 4:09 PM

WOW. Is all I can say. I have been using a humidifier at night with Eucalyptus. I am addicted to that stuff lately! it sure makes sense though about DE humidifying. And Diet for certain. I agree and in the spring I stay away from everything you mention as much as possible. It is good to see that I am doing it right! A little reinforcement from your post! LOL Thanks

Kevin Hogan April 9, 2012 at 6:39 PM

You mentioned to take a Candida supplement to kill Candida. Was that a typo, or could you teach me how that works?

This is definitely great thinking and advice,
but I always thought that using a humidifier to help a congested or runny nose caused from allergies was more effective or better for the sinuses?

Looking forward to more information,

Kevin Hogan

Margarita April 9, 2012 at 7:53 PM

I like your recommendations about dealing with Sinusitis and Congestion. I personally always swipe my energy filed and clean it, especially in the affected area. It is called pranic healing. Always works. Our hands can heal.

Neil Dhawan April 9, 2012 at 8:03 PM

Hi Dr. Wendy,

Great information. I know a lot of people who suffer with sinus congestion. The line that just rung out to me was “There is no room for compromise if you are trying to get better.” Looking forward to reading more and gaining some wisdom from you experience.

To Your Successful Life, Neil
Successful Life – The Beginning

Cherie Miranda April 9, 2012 at 10:50 PM

Great and very timely post, Wendy. I can definitely use the information. Thanks!

Cherie Miranda
Meditation for Memory Improvement

Singles Dating Coach April 14, 2012 at 10:13 AM

Hi Dr. Wendy,

The Mayo Clinic study makes so much sense, that sinus congestion has a connection to our immune system more than an allergic response.

So much wonderful information for handling it well with less emphasis on prescriptive meds. How marvelous.

Happy Dating and Relationships,

April Braswell
Singles Classes LA

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