Once the mucus becomes thick, it can pool in the sinuses or in the nose, leading to the familiar congestion, drainage, headache, cough, and post-nasal drip. Mucus that remains stagnant provides fertile ground for infection with bacteria. Some drugs used to treat the symptoms of sinus problems unfortunately have the side effect of causing the mucus to become even thicker.
Nasal washes are the only way that thick mucus can be washed out of the nose. Rather than treating the symptoms of sinus disease, nasal washes actually treat the root problem – thickened mucus. As an added benefit for allergy sufferers, nasal washes have also been shown to rinse pollen, dander, and other allergens out of the nose and sinuses and reduce allergy symptoms.
Many SinuCleanse® users are amazed that a simple, drug free, and inexpensive treatment works when so many other things they have tried have failed.
Sinus infections, nasal allergies, or anything else that causes nasal obstruction or swelling of the lining of the nose can temporarily impair the sense of smell. When the nasal lining is swollen, air does not contact the olfactory area of the nose, so smells in the air cannot be detected.
What we call our sense of taste is very dependent on the sense of smell. The actual taste buds in the mouth and their nerve connections to the brain are not affected by sinus infections. Even with no sense of smell, we can distinguish the basic tastes of sweet, salt, bitter, and sour on our tongues. Flavor, however, is a combination of the taste, smell and texture of food. While we eat, the fragrance of the food in the mouth travels up to the olfactory area of the nose. People who have a sinus infection often complain of poor sense of taste as well as smell because the experience of “flavor” is changed while the sense of smell is blunted. Usually, once the sinus infection has cleared and the congestion or obstruction in the nose has resolved, normal smell (and therefore “taste”) returns.
It is also possible, although much more rare, to the damage the fine olfactory nerve endings as they pass through the skull base into the nose. Generally this is caused by the trauma to the face, head or nose area, and the nerves are literally sheared apart. This form of loss of smell, as well as the associated change in the appreciation for flavors, is permanent.
Some people also use SinuCleanse® every day to help prevent infections or when cold and sinus symptoms begin.
The lining of the sinuses normally produces about one quart of mucus every day. This mucus is thin and watery when the nose is healthy. The mucus drains out of the sinuses into the nose and from there runs down the back of the throat. Here it mixes with saliva and is swallowed. People with healthy noses and sinuses do not sense that they are swallowing a quart of nasal drainage every day.
If the mucus becomes thick, however, things change. The mucus can become trapped in the sinuses because it is too thick to drain through the small openings between the nose and sinuses. Mucus that cannot drain efficiently will stagnate and can become infected with bacteria. Persistent symptoms including headache, facial pain, toothache, nasal drainage, congestion and post-nasal drip with cough may indicate a bacterial sinus infection.
Antibiotics are medications that fight bacterial infections. They can be lifesaving and revolutionized the practice of medicine when they were discovered in the early part of the 20th century. They are available only by prescription in the United States. Antibiotic overuse can and has led to the development of “resistant organisms,” bacteria germs which antibiotics once killed but that have now developed defenses allowing them to live and flourish even when exposed to antibiotics.
Respiratory infections, including those involving the nose and sinuses, are a frequent diagnosis leading to prescriptions for antibiotics. Millions of prescriptions are written every year for respiratory infections in the United States. Sometimes the antibiotics are really needed, but other times the infections may be a viral infection, which will not be affected by antibiotic use.
True sinus infections begin when there is a blockage in the nose that leads to mucus backup into the sinuses and stagnation. This initial blockage may be the result of allergies, the common cold (a viral infection), or even airborne irritants breathed into the nose (smoke, soot, chemicals, etc.) The most effective way to prevent a sinus infection is to treat this nasal blockage, and to keep the sinus drainage thin by using SinuCleanse® nasal wash. Antibiotic treatment alone, without also addressing the obstruction present in the nose, is doomed to fail as the obstruction / infection cycle repeats itself. Many people with acute or long-standing sinus and nasal symptoms are able to avoid the need for antibiotic prescriptions by using SinuCleanse® when symptoms begin, keeping their secretions thin and flowing.
There are small openings, called “ostia,” that connect the sinuses to the inside of the nose. Sinus drainage that is normally produced by the sinus lining must pass through these ostia into the nose. The secretions then drain down the back of the nose, mix with the saliva in the mouth, and are swallowed.
Blockage of the ostia results in build up of secretions in the sinuses. If the secretions cannot drain, they become stagnant and can get infected.
To keep the sinuses healthy, it is important to keep the ostia open. Nasal decongestants are designed to shrink the lining of the nose, thereby opening the sinus ostia. Nasal steroid sprays are one form of nasal decongestant. These sprays shrink the lining of the nose when used regularly.
SinuCleanse® nasal wash makes the sinus secretions thinner. Thinner secretions are able to pass through the small sinus ostia more easily than thick, sticky secretions. If your health care provider has recommended nasal steroid sprays to treat your sinus and nasal symptoms, we recommend that you use SinuCleanse before you use your prescription nasal spray. This will remove crusts and thick mucus from your nose, allowing the steroid spray to better contact the nasal lining and potentially work better.
Some people are able to discontinue prescription medications after regular use of SinuCleanse®. You should, of course, discuss any change in prescription medication use with your health care provider.
Antihistamines are medications used for treatment of allergies. Antihistamines are available either over the counter or by prescription in the United States.
Millions of adults and children suffer from nasal allergies and the number seems to be growing. Symptoms may either be seasonal (for instance, grass allergy) or may last year-round (dust mite allergy). Inflammatory cells within the nose of allergy sufferers release chemicals when they nasal lining comes in contact with an allergen (the substance the individual is allergic to). These released chemicals are responsible for allergy symptoms of sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes.
Antihistamine medications work by keeping the cells from releasing these chemicals, so they are a great choice for allergy sufferers. However, a side effect of all antihistamine medications is thickening of mucus. Mucus that is thick cannot efficiently drain through the small openings between the sinuses and the nose. These thick secretions can become trapped and build up in the sinuses. Secretions that do not drain will become infected. Antihistamines, then, can be both a help and a hindrance.
People who truly have nasal allergies should use antihistamines to treat their allergy symptoms. If they also have frequent sinus infections, using SinuCleanse® nasal wash will help keep the nasal mucus thin and flowing and decrease symptoms related to mucus stagnation in the sinuses. Studies have also shown that regular use of a nasal wash decreases the amount of allergen in the nose and decreases the amount of released inflammatory chemicals in allergy sufferers. Regular use of SinuCleanse® during an individual’s allergy season may be able to control symptoms enough that other medication use can be decreased or even discontinued.
You should, of course, discuss any change in prescription medication use with your health care provider.
People who do not have allergies should not use antihistamines for their sinus and nasal symptoms. The mucus-thickening side effects can actually worsen the overall health of the nose and sinuses.
1. Water temperature. If the water temperature is too warm or too cold the nasal wash will be uncomfortable. Adjust the water temperature so it is lukewarm, and try again. Solution entering the upper nostril should feel the same temperature as the body.
2. If stinging or burning or irritation occurs and the temperature of the solution is lukewarm make sure the ingredients are completely mixed up by thoroughly stirring the solution. Any un-dissolved ingredients from the packets will be uncomfortable in the nose.
3. If the temperature of the solution is lukewarm and the solution is thoroughly mixed and you are still experience any burning or discomfort, reduce the strength of the solution by one-half (1/2 packet of dry ingredients per pot) and gradually work up to using the solution at full strength.
4. If the solution is lukewarm and thoroughly mixed half strength and you are still experiencing any discomfort discontinue use of SinuCleanse® and return for a full refund.
This is a normal occurrence after using a nasal wash and no cause for concern. Some people who frequently experience this drainage find it more convenient to wash their nose at bedtime rather than in the morning.
Another possible reason is swelling in the lining of the nose. This can be temporarily reversed with various over-the-counter nasal sprays containing oxymetazoline. An example is Afrin™, although the generic versions work as well.
We recommend trying to spray your nose with one of these decongesting sprays, wait approximately 10 minutes, and then again try the SinuCleanse® wash. If the solution still does not go through, there is an obstruction in your nose, most likely from a deviated septum but possibly something else. The only way to be certain would be a visit to your health care provider for a nasal examination.
If SinuCleanse® solution does go through after using the decongesting spray, continue to use SinuCleanse® regularly to keep the nasal lining healthy. The over-the-counter sprays are clearly labeled to only be safe for use for 3 days… they are very hard on the nasal lining and should NOT be used every day. There are prescription nasal sprays that are safe for daily use that may help you if the SinuCleanse® does not solve the problem completely.
During the SinuCleanse® nasal wash, saline solution runs through the back of the nose and often directly over the nasal opening of the Eustachian tubes. When blowing the nose to remove the SinuCleanse solution and mucus from the nasal passages, some of the solution may be forced into the Eustachian tube opening. Particularly with forceful blowing, this can cause a painful stinging sensation in one or both ears. This is generally short-lived. Rarely, individuals have more persistent feelings of ear fullness, pressure and “popping” after using SinuCleanse®. Again, this is related to the Eustachian tube and how frequently it opens.
Using SinuCleanse® is not harmful to your ears, and having saline solution in your Eustachian tubes is not dangerous. By clearing up the nose, in fact, ear symptoms may improve. However, if you experience ear discomfort when using SinuCleanse®, try to blow your nose more gently after the wash. If the problem persists, the openings of your Eustachian tubes may be particularly wide and SinuCleanse® use may need to be discontinued.
When mucus is healthy and thin, we don’t sense that quart of mucus draining down the back of our throats. However, if the mucus becomes thick, the sensation of “post-nasal drainage” occurs. Instead of flowing easily, the thick sticky mucus remains in the back of the nose and throat, where it may causes discomfort, congestion, cough (particularly when lying down) and bad breath.
Using SinuCleanse® thins the mucus in the nose and sinuses, which keeps the mucus flowing easily through its usual pathway out of the sinuses, into the nose, and down the throat. This relieves the sensation of post-nasal drainage in many people.
The SinuCleanse® System is available as both a Neti Pot, a Squeeze® bottle and an ultra-fine mister. You and your patients can choose whichever system is best for them.
Additionally, regular use of saline nasal washes during the allergy season has been shown to decrease the amount of allergens in the nose and reduce the amount of IgE (a protein the body makes in response to allergens) in the bloodstream of both children and adults with nasal allergies.