Sinusitis / Hayfever / Allergic Rhinitis

An inflammation or infection in the paranasal sinuses. The most common inciting agent of sinusitis is a viral upper respiratory infection, although bacteria, fungi, and allergic reactions may also be responsible. Any factor that creates edema of the nasal tissues resulting in obstruction and the lack of proper drainage of the area will often lead to sinus infection. As the obstruction continues, oxygen is resorbed back into the blood vessels, causing a painful relative negative pressure that draws transudate from the mucous membranes. The transudate is an excellent medium for bacteria, especially Streptococcuspneumococcus, hemo-philus influenza, and Staphylococcus, which are the bacteria most implicated in acute sinusitis. The bacterial overgrowth leads to an influx of serum and leukocytes to fight the infection, setting up a painful positive pressure.

Chronic sinusitis is often associated with an allergic individual, and dental infections account for 25% of chronic maxillary sinusitis. Swimming and diving, and injury to the area (especially fractures to the ethmoid or frontal sinuses) are other precipitating factors. Chronic sinusitis may present as acute sinusitis or may be relatively asymptomatic presenting with only mild postnasal discharge, recurrent headaches, musty odor, or a nonproductive cough. X-rays may reveal a thickening of the mucous membranes, though cultures of the nose and nasal discharge uncover no pathogenic organisms. Note: With chronic sinusitis that seems to go away after an antibiotic then returns consider Candidiasis. (See Candida Albicans section. Signs and symptoms include tenderness to palpation, swelling, redness, and opaque trans-illumination of involved sinuses, fever, chills: suggest expansion of the infection beyond the sinuses, nasal congestion and serous or mucopurulent discharge (usually yellow or green, and can often excoriate the nasal tissues), malaise, headache and/or dizziness that changes with position and is worse lying down or bending over, history of upper respiratory infections, dental problems, nasal allergies, or injury to the area, nasal mucosa is erythematous and edemic, and the exudate may be seen in the turbinates corresponding to the infected sinus(es) Lab findings include, X-rays that will clearly show the sites of involvement and to what degree: the radiograph will pick up the swollen mucous membrane or the exudate. X-rays of the apices of the teeth are mandatory to rule out a periapical abscess when there is chronic maxillary sinusitis. Cultures not reliable.

Naturopathic Approach

A naturopathic approach to treating someone with sinusitis includes supporting the immune system regardless if that is to “quiet” it down if the sinusitis is due to allergies, or nourishing the immune system if the sinusitis is due to infection. A specific diet that is both anti-inflammatory and hypoallergenic may be prescribed. Clinical nutrition and botanical medicine may be used to decrease inflammation, congestion and to support tissue repair.