Hi, it's Sue again!
For years I suffered from chronic sinus infections, colds, allergies, and mucus that never seemed to go away, even when I wasn't sick. Antibiotics would help the infections for awhile, but they always came back, and there was always mucus and more mucus! My situation eventually turned into sinus disease, and I had to have sinus surgery.
I'm going to share with you a method I developed that has helped turn my sinus condition around. It involves three commercially available products that can be purchased by anyone, without a prescription. Product #1 is a saline sinus rinse and has given me a moderate amount of relief. Product #2 is an expectorant, which can help in conjunction with the sinus rinse. But Product #3 is what really took me from "kind of clear" sinuses to "oh my gosh I can really BREATHE again" sinuses! It's a combination of natural plant extracts called Sinus Doctor.
If you'd like to skip ahead, use the navigation links below to jump directly to the three different products.
Otherwise, just keep reading!
Here's the thing about sinusitis, sinus infections, and sinus disease - there is a parallel relationship between these illnesses and mucus. We're often told that the mucus is a side effect of these problems, but I've become convinced that excess mucus is part of the cause. Long before I started having sinus infections, I had constant mucus. Mucus traps bacteria. Mucus gets stuck in hard-to-reach places. (Mucus also causes terrible bad breath, by the way!) By the time I developed sinus disease, I had suffered through years of mucus buildup in my sinuses that my body wasn't able to remove.
The key to preventing sinus infections? GET RID OF THE MUCUS BEFORE IT STARTS CAUSING PROBLEMS!
After my surgery, I was healthy for a year or so. And then the old symptoms started to creep back in - constant nasal congestion, post-nasal drip, sinus headaches, and terrible pressure under my cheekbones. I decided to be proactive this time around and take my health into my own hands before I started getting chronic infections again. I did a lot of research and found some simple things that I can do to keep my sinuses clean and prevent mucus from building up. I consulted my doctor about my "homemade" treatment plan, and he told me it wouldn't hurt me. He wouldn't express an opinion about whether it would help me... I guess doctors don't want to put themselves out of business, right? (You should check with your doctor before embarking on ANY health treatment plan you find online, including this one.) I'm proud to say that my sinuses have been completely clear ever since I started doing three simple things. Read on!
1. Use a saline nasal rinse:
A saline sinus rinse is extremely important. Flushing your nasal passages and sinuses with a correctly prepared saline solution helps remove mucus before it has a chance to thicken and harden. The nasal rinse also helps remove allergens that may be stuck in your nose - the saline solution has proven to be a great home remedy for allergy sufferers, too. There are a lot of saline rinses out there on the market, and I've tried several of them.
My favorite is from NeilMed - it's a genius little squeeze bottle that flushes a high volume of saline solution through your sinuses very quickly, which is incredibly effective if you're trying to get to the really stubborn mucus that's stuck in there. To the left is a picture of mine, along with one of the packets that you mix with water to make the solution. You can buy this in pretty much any drug store, but I've found that it's significantly cheaper online from Amazon:
Eventually you'll run out of the saline packets, but don't worry - you don't need to buy a whole new bottle! NeilMed sells the packets by themselves, and they're very reasonably priced. I know a couple of people who've tried to make their own saline mixture, but it turns out to cost about the same as buying the packets, and making it yourself is a ton of work.
2. Use an expectorant:
This one is optional. I know that a lot of people are looking for a completely natural remedy, so it's perfectly fine to skip the expectorant, which is an over-the-counter drug. That being said, expectorants are pretty great at thinning mucus and phlegm, which then allows the saline solution to flush out even more stuff. My favorite expectorant is Mucinex (it's the strongest one I've found) and you can get it at a drug store or by clicking HERE. Which Mucinex product you buy is up to you (there are a number of them that are targeted for different conditions, different age groups, etc.) Just know that what's important is the expectorant ingredient, called Guaifenesin. Go for 600 or 1200 mg of Guaifenesin, and check with your doctor or pharmacist first if you have any medical conditions. Guaifenesin's use is listed as "helps loosen phlegm (mucus) and thin bronchial secretions to rid the bronchial passageways of bothersome mucus and make coughs more productive" but I find that it thins mucus everywhere in my body, not just in my bronchial passageways.
3. Sinus Doctor:
The third product is what really took me from "kind of clear" sinuses to "oh my gosh I can really BREATHE again" sinuses! I had been using just the saline rinse and the expectorant, with medium results, when I stumbled across the Sinus Doctor product and got curious. It's created by Joe Johnson, who's been researching sinus problems and looking for a natural cure. He uses plant extracts that have natural antiseptic and antibacterial properties, and he's created a product that's natural and much more effective at clearing away my mucus than anything I've tried before. It's a nasal congestion remedy, and it takes care of all the symptoms of sinus pressure and post nasal drip. I started using it on the tail end of a sinus infection (I had gone to my doctor for antibiotics). In the past, getting over a sinus infection had included weeks of mucus drainage, as my body struggled to get rid of all the stuff my sinuses had produced. This product had me mucus-free in a day or two, and I've been using it ever since. Joe's site has a lot of great info about sinus issues in general, and I recommend taking a look to better educate yourself about your sinus problems. Click here to go there now.
I wish you as much success with these methods as I've had!
Have you ever seen a picture of the human sinus cavities? I made a Youtube video to help people find this site, and I think it's worth sharing here just for the diagrams of the sinuses - it's amazing how much empty space is in there!
I'd also like to share some images of my maxillary sinuses. This CT scan image was taken before I had sinus surgery, and it shows just how much buildup had accumulated in my sinuses. (If only I had known more about how to properly care for my sinuses! I probably could have avoided getting to the point where I needed surgery.) The image on the left is the original image, and on the right I've colored in the inflamed areas that needed to be surgically removed. My doctor told me that these areas were the result of many sinus infections, and mucus that just thickens, builds up, and becomes impossible for the body to break down or remove on its own. The arrow on the left of the image points to a large polyp full of infected fluid that antibiotics weren't able to reach.
Pretty awful, huh? Sinus surgery is usually a last resort, and isn't usually necessary if you've been taking proper care of your sinuses and cleaning out the mucus that builds up. I've learned my lesson, and I do a number of things to get rid of the mucus in my nasal passages and sinuses. I'll be sharing them in my next post - stay tuned!