Diagnosing and Treating Chronic Sinusitis in Tampa
By: BioDesign Wellness Center Staff
March 13, 2019 | Category: Health Advice
Approximately 30.8 million Americans, representing 9.5 percent of the adult population, suffer from chronic sinusitis — inflammation of the nasal passages that lasts for at least three months despite treatment. And in Tampa, where chronic nasal issues are rampant, residents are similarly at risk. Symptoms include the following:
- Nasal congestion
- Thick, discolored discharge from the nose or throat
- Post-nasal drip
- Pain, tenderness, and swelling around the eyes, cheeks, nose, and forehead
- Impaired or lost sense of smell
- Persistent cough
Symptoms may also include these:
- Aching teeth or upper jaw
- Sore throat
- Bad breath
Many people who suffer from chronic sinusitis try to self-medicate with a variety of over-the-counter decongestants and antihistamines. Conventional doctors often assume sinus infection and prescribe an antibiotic without performing any testing. As a result, patients often continue to suffer, taking medications that provide little relief and that may cause more harm than good.
Considering Possible Causes
Chronic sinusitis has a number of diverse underlying causes:
- Nasal allergies, such as hay fever
- Food allergies or intolerances
- Chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS), caused by exposure to mold and viruses and/or the biotoxins they produce
- Bacterial infections that are often resistant to antibiotics
- Fungal infections, on which antibiotics have no effect
- Chronic viral infections, also resistant to antibiotic treatment
- Nasal polyps — tissue inside the nasal passages that irritate and block the sinuses
- Deviated nasal septum
- Gastric reflux
In 1999, three doctors from the Mayo Clinic — David Sherris, MD, Eugene Kern, MD, and Jens U. Ponikau, MD — studied 210 patients with chronic sinusitis. Although nearly all study participants, including those in the control group (those without chronic sinusitis), had fungus present in the mucus samples collected from their sinuses, those with chronic sinusitis had eosinophils(a type of white blood cell activated by the body’s immune system) in their mucus and tissue samples.
According to the researchers, whose findings were published in the May 2000 edition of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, in sensitive individuals, the body’s immune system sends eosinophils to attack the fungi, and the eosinophils irritate sinus membranes. Chronic sinusitis is not an IgE-mediated allergic response but is due to an immune system response to the fungi in individuals who are sensitive to those fungi. The researchers believe that the presence of certain fungi, not bacteria or allergies, is at the root of most cases of chronic sinusitis. However, they also point out that because fungi are present in the sinuses of nearly everyone and cause problems in only a small segment of the population, their findings are open to challenge.
The Importance of Testing First
Patients and doctors often engage in a practice we like to refer to as “diagnosis by prescription.” That is, they prescribe a medication, and when that doesn’t work, they prescribe something else. They continue the process until they find something that works, they run out of options, the body heals itself, or the patient (utterly frustrated at this point) stops making appointments.
At BioDesign Wellness Center, we take a more scientific approach — we test, first, to identify underlying causes, and then target our treatments to address those underlying causes. Through testing, we can identify specific underlying causes, such as the following:
- Antibodies to environmental and food allergens that indicate an immune system response may be involved.
- Sensitivities to certain foods that may be contributing to inflammation.
- Checking for GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) as a cause of chronic sinus or post nasal drip, and then treating it using holistic methods that address the root cause.
- Mold exposure. The presence of TGFB1 (Transforming growth factor beta-1) is a good indicator of eosinophilic expression (higher than normal white blood cell count), which can contribute to sinusitis, esophagitis, and polyps.
- MARCoNS (Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staphylococci) — an antibiotic-resistant bacterium that resides deep inside the nasal passages.
- Low Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormone (MSH), which can result in increased inflammation, including inflammation in the respiratory tract.
- Antibodies to certain molds or fungi that are known to infect the sinuses.
- ERMI (Environmental Relative Moldiness Index) testing for your home — to check for mold spores using DNA sequencing (it’s important to purposely avoid air samples as a sole indicator of the presence of mold).
Formulating a Personalized Treatment Protocol
At BioDesign Wellness Center, we do not offer a one-size-fits-all treatment for chronic sinusitis. Treatments vary depending on the underlying cause(s) which differ from one patient to the next. Treatments may include the following:
- Eliminating further exposure to mold and other biotoxins.
- Detoxing, if tests show high toxic load.
- Pharmaceutical nasal washes to eliminate MARCoNS.
- Anti-inflammation diet, such as a keto or modified keto diet.
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) treatments to restore gut health and calm the immune system response.
- Correcting other digestive imbalances that can lead to sinusitis – GERD and Gallbladder reflux, for example.
Take the First Step: Get Tested
If you have chronic sinusitis that is not being effectively controlled with existing treatments, you are essentially flying blind. We encourage you to take the first step toward successful treatment — get tested by a medical practice that’s intentional about finding the root cause of your chronic infection. Until you know the underlying cause, you cannot be sure which treatments are likely to work, which are just a waste of time and money, and which may actually be doing more harm than good.
Schedule an appointment today to start your journey toward restoring your health and feeling your very best! Contact Lori Corica — she’s our Patient Care Coordinator — by phoning (813) 445-7770.
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Disclaimer: The information in this blog post about diagnosing and treating Chronic Sinusitis in Tampa, is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect current medical thinking or practices. No information contained in this post should be construed as medical advice from the medical staff at BioDesign Wellness Center, Inc., nor is this post intended to be a substitute for medical counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate medical advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a licensed medical professional in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.