Sinuses - causes, symptoms and solutions

Sarah Hyland

27 February 2019

How do you know you have a sinus problem?

You will know that you have a sinus issue if you are endlessly stuffy and congested. There may be pressure felt in the face and a loss of smell, glue ear and tinnitus. If the mucous is very discoloured an infection is indicated but that may not always be the case. A chronic problem may be a result of a number of problems.

What are the causes and symptoms?

Untreated allergies may cause inflammation of the lining of the nose and this incessant irritation leaves the poor nasal passages very susceptible to infection. I would suspect this if sneezing and a nasal drip were symptoms.

The mucous membranes can dry out and when that happens they are no longer able to moisturise and protect the airways. Nosebleeds and a dry crusty feeling often accompanies this and are very common in older women.

Falling oestrogen levels can reduce the body's ability to stay nice and juicy and that can be anywhere. Our noses need to be moist to trap particles of dust and pollen that may irritate and to capture bacteria, yeasts and viruses that may cause infection. Nosebleeds can be a sign that the nose is dry and inflamed.

A cold or a flu will leave the lining of your nose and sinus very raw and sore. This makes it a sitting duck for all sorts of infections, viruses and bacteria who love to prey on inflamed and vulnerable mucous membrane cells.

What can you do?

For allergies it is sensible to consider the allergens, could it be pollen, dust, animal dander, chemicals or mould? Try to identify and eliminate the suspects; buy a new pillow or kick the cat out of the bedroom! Foods like dairy products and sugar may cause excessive mucous so cutting back on these may help reduce the symptoms of allergies.

What remedies are available?

  • A.Vogel's Pollinosan is a useful remedy for the treatment of allergic rhinitis and hayfever, available as a nasal spray and in tablet form. It can be used long term.

  • For nasal dryness, an essential fatty acid deficiency may be responsible. A diet rich in omega 3 foods like salmon, tuna and flax oil would be ideal.

  • For post-menopausal women a sea buckthorn supplement may help as this would provide omega 7.

  • These may take time to alleviate the symptoms so do use nasal irrigation, a Neti pot or a sinus spray in the meantime to keep the canals comfortable. This delivers a salt water solution to soothe, sterilize and manually decongest the nose.

  • For on-going congestion, A.Vogel's Sinuforce original will help keep the airways free by manually dissolving gunk and sterilizing the area. It's convenient and effective. Sinuforce Extra Dry has soothing chamomile as well as hyaluronic acid which acts like a moisture magnet.

  • A.Vogel's Plantago is a little super herb that can both soothe, decongest and reduce inflammation. It heals mucous membranes without drying them out. Unfortunately, many medicated remedies clear congestion by drying out the nose but that may only worsen the situation in the long term. Plantago can relieve congestion and pressure while healing and protecting the sensitive lining. It can be used for longer periods to really clear and treat long term issues like glue ear and is safe to use on small children. I find it very useful as a pre-emptive before I fly as my ears bother me during changes in cabin pressure. I'll take it for a couple of weeks before my holiday.

  • Use A.Vogel's Echinaforce to hopefully prevent, but also to treat cold and flu, if there are sinus issues. This may help you defend yourself from infection that could worsen the condition.

  • Vitamin C is essential to help repair damage to mucous membranes and to support healing and the immune system.

    For really chronic situations, I would ask that a doctor also check for physical obstructions like nasal polyps. Keeping hydrated, getting adequate sleep, exercising and eating a sensible diet will all help too.

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