The human sinuses are warm moist places that are bombarded with irritants and cleansed with mucus. Normal mucosal flow is in fact, about a liter a day.
Mucosal flow is typically not very viscous and simply drains down your throat unnoticed and carries the irritants from your sinuses into your stomach where they are passed. This mucus is a polysaccharide, and as a sugar, it is food for bacteria and fungus.
It is quite normal for colonies of bacteria and fungus to live and grow in this environment. It is also normal for our immunity system to be constantly attacking them in order to keep their numbers in check. This immunity system balance of the normal flora and fauna in the nasal and sinus passageways is ongoing and usually does not result in any noticeable inflammation.
However, if the system becomes imbalanced (too many pathogens) inflammation can occur as an irritation of the tissues characterized by swelling and sensitivity. This is often the cause of congestion.
Moreover, if the immunity system is fighting an attack somewhere else in the body, or if a sinus gets closed off and the fauna and flora grow faster than the immunity system can manage, an imbalance will occur. The resultant damage of cells from the bacteria and strong response to this over population can be significant.
The inflammation response to the increased toxins produced by the bacteria and fungus leads to swelling of the tissue, increased mucosal flow and the resultant congestion symptoms resulting in problems such as headache, pressure and fever.
A simple cold or even a response to seasonal allergens can cause congestion. This congestion can cause a sinus passage to close off and become out-of-balance as the bacteria and fungus trapped inside begin to multiply with impunity.
Oftentimes, one can feel this happening but be helpless to overcome the situation. It can manifest as jaw pain, pain in the forehead and even simply pressure in the facial area. The difficult aspect in treating this situation is that until it becomes a full-blown sinus infection, it is difficult, if not impossible, to see a doctor and/or procure a prescription.
Flushing with saline from a neti-pot offers some relief as it can open the blockage and carry away some of the pathogens. More often than not, it simply irritates the tissues and removes only a very few of the bacteria or fungus. The benefit is slight since the pathogens adhere quite well to the sinus membrane.
Antibiotics, when taken orally, reach the sinuses through the bloodstream. In order to achieve a lethal dose to the microbes in the nasal tissues, one must ingest enough to produce a bacteriacidal level sufficient to do so in the entire body.
This causes problems because the antibiotics will kill bacteria throughout the body, but only the bacteria that are susceptible to this particular antibiotic will be killed. The susceptible bacteria die, leaving fertile tissue space for the resistant or unaffected bacteria and fungus to take over.
Therefore and unfortunately, after multiple courses of various antibiotics, the only bacteria left are difficult to kill. Additionally, nasal tissue that was once inhabited by bacteria can be taken over by fungi. Fungi do not respond to antibiotics.
This shifting of the natural fauna and flora to the stronger bacteria and fungi makes the situation more difficult to fight next time and becomes increasingly so with each renewal of the infection. It can often lead to fungal over-growth more commonly referred to as a yeast infection.
While the approach of continually prescribing antibiotics to fight sinus infections will likely provide short-term relief, it can produce a long term and escalating problem which can result in different problems in other parts of the body.
Subsequent vaginal yeast infections or digestive disorders associated with candida overgrowth are all too common consequences of using antibiotics to combat sinusitis.
Another problem is that since the antibiotics reach the infected tissue through the bloodstream, bacteria that are not in close contact with the tissues are insulated from the antibiotic taken. Fungi within your sinus passages can lay down a cellular matrix upon which bacteria colonize. The fungi are in contact with the capillary bed, but they are not affected by antibiotics.
This makes killing the bacteria very challenging as the bacterial colony is then out of reach of the immunity system and the capillary system that would deliver immunity agents or drug agents to kill it. When this happens, the body’s defense system is at a significant disadvantage in fighting the infection even if the immunity system is healthy.
The ingested drugs are relatively useless since they don’t have access to the pathogenic organisms for which they are intended. Surgery can leave scar tissue that is poorly vascularized. This further hampers the ability of the immunity system to keep the fungal and bacterial populations in check.
To make matters worse, the fungi can excrete toxins that irritate the nasal tissues and cause continual and chronic inflammation. This results in a stuffy and runny nose and painful nasal tissue that are characteristic of chronic sinus infections.