Overview - Sinusitis
A lingering or neglected cold / allergy can easily develop into something more difficult such as sinusitis. When you have been suffering from symptoms of a cold for longer than 8 to 10 days and experience constant stuffiness of nose, headache and pressure in your head and face, you may well be suffering from sinusitis.
Sinusitis is the term used for inflammation or infection of one of the paranasal sinuses. Sinuses can be described as small, air-filled spaces (cavities) in the skull around the nose and eyes. Thus affection of the sinuses causes pain in the region of the cheekbones and forehead besides many other symptoms such as nasal obstruction, impaired breathing, fever, etc.
Double-blind, placebo-controlled studies done on the efficacy of Homeopathic medicines in the treatment of sinusitis have clearly shown that the treatment is effective and is without any adverse effects. At Dr. Batra's, we have treated thousands of cases of Sinusitis with good results in most cases. Homeopathy treatment helps patients with acute as well as chronic sinusitis. Majority of our patients experience significant reduction in the frequency and severity of sinusitis attacks after taking homeopathy. It is advisable that patients with sinusitis opt for early treatment of the same in order to avoid any complications later.
What is Sinusitis?
You may have often heard one of your family or friends saying 'I'm having a sinus attack'. What exactly is this sinus attack or sinusitis? Let us start by first understanding what a 'sinus' is.
Sinuses are four pairs of air-filled cavities/spaces located in the skull in the region around the nose and the eyes. Being located around the nose, they are also called as paranasal sinuses. When we breathe in, air enters the sinuses through the nose and this helps to moisten and warm the air that we breathe. Mucus produced normally by the sinuses drains into the nose. The four pairs of paranasal sinuses are:
- Frontal sinuses: Located above the eyes, in the region of the eyebrows
- Maxillary sinuses: These are situated in the cheekbone area
- Ethmoid sinuses: Located between the eyes and behind the bridge of the nose
- Sphenoid sinuses: These sinuses are located at a deeper level, behind the ethmoid sinuses
Sinusitis involves inflammation or infection of any of these four pairs of sinuses. When this happens, the sinuses get swollen and mucus secretion gets blocked inside the sinuses. The blocked secretions can become infected due to growth of bacteria, fungi, etc. giving rise to the symptoms of the disease.
Almost 15% of people across USA and close to 12-15% of the people globally suffer from sinusitis. Every year, billions of dollars are spent on the treatment and related healthcare costs for sinusitis globally. It is amongst the leading causes of absenteeism from work leading to an additional burden on the world economy. But there is good news and it is that Homeopathy has an effective and a safe answer to this problem. Homeopathy treats sinusitis gently and effectively, and that too without any side effects.
Causes of Sinusitis
Numerous factors can trigger an attack of sinusitis in any given case. The commonest thing that can trigger it is infection:
- Viral infection: Sinusitis is most frequently caused by common cold viruses. The sinusitis attacks of this kind are generally acute in nature.
- Bacterial infection: When the sinus blockage persists for longer than 7 to 10 days, bacteria tend to grow and multiply giving rise to yellowish or greenish discharge form the nose. This is generally seen in sub-acute, chronic or recurrent cases.
- Fungi: In rare cases, when the immunity of the patient has been compromised (such as in HIV, ongoing chemotherapy treatment, etc.), fungi may tend to thrive in the sinus secretions. Fungal infection of the sinuses tends to run a chronic course.
Some of the factors that can lead to infection of the sinuses are:
- Allergy: Nasal allergies, hay fever, etc. can lead to inflammation of the sinuses and blockage of the same.
- Deviated nasal septum (DNS) (one of the commonest causes)
- Nasal polyp
- Nasal tumor
- Enlarged adenoids
- Dental caries - infection can easily spread from dental caries to nearby sinuses
- Facial injury can lead to a mechanical blockage of the sinus
- Chronic exposure to smoke, pollutants (leading to chronic inflammation of the sinuses)
- Reduced immunity (weakened immune system) due to HIV, immunosuppressant drugs, etc.
- Medical conditions like Cystic fibrosis, gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), etc.
Symptoms of Sinusitis
A patient with Sinusitis will frequently give the history that he has been suffering from a cold since a few days. This was followed by progressively worsening blockage of the nose and heaviness in the head. Gradually the nasal discharge turned yellowish or greenish and he suffered from headache, cough, bad breath, etc.
This chronology of events is precisely what happens in most cases of sinusitis, whether they are acute, chronic or recurrent.
Listed here are some of the common symptoms of sinusitis. Not all of them may be seen together but varying combinations of these are seen in most cases:
- Runny nose - the discharge being thick and yellowish or greenish
- Nasal obstruction, blocked nose, obstructed sensation in the nose
- Sensation of pressure in the face and head
- Passage of mucus from the back of the nose into the throat (called post nasal drip or discharge)
- Reduced sense of smell
- Bad breath
- Bad taste in mouth at times
- Cough with mucus production (more at night when lying down)
- Teeth pain
- Blocked sensation in one or both ears
- Soreness in throat
- Tiredness, fatigue
Pain and tenderness due to sinusitis may vary in location depending on the sinus that is affected in a given case:
- Frontal sinusitis: Pain in forehead region, around eyebrows
- Maxillary sinusitis: Pain in cheekbones, upper jaw, upper teeth on applying pressure
- Ethmoid sinusitis: Pain between the eyes, around the bridge of the nose. There may be swelling of the eyelids.
- Sphenoid sinusitis: Pain deep inside the head, ear pain, neck pain.
Watch out for these signs and symptoms since they indicate that you need immediate medical attention:
- High fever above 101 degrees F
- Swelling of forehead
- Swelling around eyes
- Headache that does not respond to routine medication
- Stiffness of neck
- Double vision or other vision disturbances
Diagnosis of Sinusitis
The history given by a patient of sinusitis suffices in most cases to diagnose the condition. Tenderness over the sinuses on pressure further confirms the diagnosis. A physical examination done by the physician will rule out or confirm conditions such as nasal polyps, deviated nasal septum, nasal tumor, dental caries, etc. that can be a cause of sinusitis.
Certain investigations may be done to confirm sinusitis thought these are rarely done:
- X-ray of sinuses to detect infection, obstruction, tumors, etc.
- Nasal endoscopy: This procedure involves the passage of a thin, flexible fiber-optic tube (endoscope) through the nose into the sinuses in order to examine the interior of the sinuses.
- Computerized Tomography scan (CT scan) or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can reveal the finer details of the sinuses especially those that are not detected by an endoscope.
- Allergy tests may be done to rule out any kind of allergies
- Blood tests may be done to rule out HIV
- A laboratory culture of material scraped form the nose may be done to rule out bacterial infection or fungal infection in cases not responding to treatment
Homeopathy has been successfully used for the treatment of sinusitis for many years now and has clearly proved its efficacy in a number of cases as well as research studies conducted on the same. Time and again, homeopaths have saved a number of patients from surgery for sinusitis.
In one of the research studies conducted on chronic sinusitis patients in Berlin, Germany, it was concluded that the patients treated with classical homeopathy showed marked health and quality of life improvements that lasted for 8 years. Even other studies conducted over a period of years and clinical experience of homeopaths has shown that homeopathy medicines provide significant relief to sinusitis patients and that too without any adverse effects.
At Dr. Batra's, we have treated thousands of cases of sinusitis and have the experience of treating such cases for 35 years now. Majority of our patients experience good relief from sinusitis after starting homeopathy treatment. Homeopathic medicines help in controlling the acute inflammation of the sinuses as well as preventing the condition from progressing to a chronic stage. In cases of recurrent sinusitis, homeopathy medicines can help in reducing the number of attacks as well as the frequency of these attacks.
Regular treatment with Homeopathy can improve the immunity of individuals so that they do not fall prey to recurrent attacks of sinusitis. It can help in preventing the need for frequent antibiotics, decongestants, etc. that only tend to provide temporary relief. Homeopathy may also help in avoiding the need for endoscopic sinus surgery for sinusitis as far as possible. All in all, Homeopathy is strongly suggested for all sinusitis patients and the earlier they opt for treatment, the better the results.
Self care tips for Sinusitis
Sinusitis can lead to significant discomfort in the day to day functioning of the patients and hence warrants prompt treatment. However, besides the treatment there are several self care tips that can be used by the patients for relief from the nagging pain, nasal obstruction and other symptoms of sinusitis.
At Dr. Batra's, we have treated patients of sinusitis with Homeopathy for more than 35 years and have had good response in most cases. The treatment is safe and effective and without any side effects. In addition to the homeopathic treatment, there are several clinical tips that we suggest to our patients since we have clinically verified them time and again and have found them to be helpful to patients.
Here are some of the important clinical tips for managing sinusitis effectively:
- Steam inhalation helps in reducing the symptoms - must be done 2-4 times a day (for few minutes at a time)
- Plenty of fluids must be taken orally since it helps in thinning the mucus aiding easy drainage
- Beverages containing caffeine or alcohol should be avoided since they cause dehydration
- Using a humidifier can also provide some relief
- Plenty of rest ensures speedy recovery of the patient
- Diet must include plenty of fruits and vegetables (this ensures adequate intake of vitamins, essential nutrients and antioxidants to improve immunity)
- If there is a known allergy that triggered the sinusitis in your case, avoid the potential allergens
- Avoid exposure to smoke and pollutants
- Take adequate measures to effectively combat stress
- Avoid traveling by airplane if you have severe nasal congestion and blocked ears
- Avoid sudden changes in temperature
- While sleeping, keep the head elevated so as to aid better draining of the sinuses
- Applying a warm cloth to the face frequently may help in relieving the congestion