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Fungus as a Potential Cause of Sinus Infections

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woman with hands on sinus cavity areas of face   If antibiotics haven't been helping your sinus infections, it may be because they aren't being caused by bacteria.

Fungus as a Root Cause

Chronic sinusitis is a common problem for people with fibromyalgia, scoliosis, pectus excavatum and/or other signs of connective tissue disorders. I remember my mother having chronic sinus infections when I was little to the point where she would have her head x-rayed. When my children were little, they would get sinus or ear infections almost every month, especially in winter. They were on antibiotics almost as much as they were off of them. We stopped getting as many infections, and stepped off the antibiotic treadmill, when we went changed our diets. (Also see my section on mold allergies - how diet changes helped my son.)

Recent research has linked chronic sinusitis to fungal infections. Some interesting links on the subject are listed below:

  • An article on the Dr. Greene web site notes that for years doctors may have had it all wrong by treating sinus infections with antibiotics. It turns out that in the Mayo Clinic study, out of 210 subject, 202 had fungus in the mucus. Dr. Greene notes that antibiotics actually make fungal infections worse. That has certainly been our experience.

  • From the Mayo clinic: Studies at Mayo Clinic have found links between certain fungi and recurrent sinus infections. Read more in this article from Science Daily.

Knowing what I know now, it is no wonder that my kids never really completely recovered until we went on a diet that addressed the underlying cause - a fungal infection. The antibiotics they had been receiving most often was Amoxicillin, made from penicillin - a mold. So for many years here I was giving my children prescription doses of mold (mold is a subset of fungi) when most likely the root cause of their problems was actually a fungal infection.

mushrooms, a type of fungus, on a plate
  I love mushrooms, but since they are a type of fungus I am not sure about eating them these days.


What Helped Us

I usually do not get sinus infections any more since I changed my diet to eat less sugar and dairy products, but this past week I had a doozy. My family and I had each taken our turns with the flu and everyone else was getting better except me. I started to get better and then got worse. I realized I had a sinus infection which was worse than the initial illness. My husband was urging me to get antibiotics, but I really wanted to fight it on my own.

Listed below are the home treatments I used to fight the infection. Once I got serious about treating myself vigorously I started to get better right away.

1. I changed the sheets and pillowcases frequently. I realized that I felt much worse in the morning and after naps. I think I was reinfecting myself from the microbes on my bedding and pillows. I even washed my pillow. This helped a great deal.

2. I ate a lot of modified Cambell's chicken noodle soup. Research shows that chicken soup, and specifically Campbell's brand, actually help the symptoms of a cold, and it helped my sinus infection, too. To the canned soup I added whatever healthy foods I could find around the house and I ate many bowlfuls of this concoction. The ingredients I added were ground beef (for zinc), and corn, onions, black beans, red peppers, green peppers, and artichokes (for liver function) from the freezer. I don't know if the soup alone would have had the same effect, but this mix really helped. My symptoms were 70% better after about 6 bowlfuls of this soup.

See the related article on chicken soup: Science Finally Proves What Grandma Knew All Along.

3. I gargled and rinsed my mouth with Listerine to kill the germs. I also held a mouthful of listerine in my mouth and bent forward with my head upside down so that the Listerine was resting on the top of my mought where it hurt the most. I did this many times throughout the day and after each time I felt a little better. At times I also did the same routine with warm salt water to try to get the microbes the Listerine wasn't killing. I felt better right after my first garge and after many Listerine or salt water gargles my sore throat went away.

4. I stayed away from dairy products (except for yogurt), apple cider vinegar and sugar. When I had these foods I got worse right away. I think the fact that I reacted to the vinegar is a clue that I had a fungal infection, because of the fermentation process that creates it.

5. I drank variations of hot toddies during the day with drops of fresh sqeezed lemon, honey, and sometimes a little whiskey (the alcohol helps kill germs). This helped, but lemon water can be hard on tooth enamel so I tried not to do the lemon drops too often.

woman eating yogurt
  Yogurt with active cultures contains good bacteria.

6. I took Olbas cough syrup and ate Mountain High yogurt (for beneficial bacteria). Olbas cough syrup is a herbal / honey remedy available at places like Whole Foods or health food stores. Mountain High yogurt can be bought at the grocery store. It is best to get the kind without any added sweeteners.

7. I ate a slightly acidic, low glycemic diet emphasizing meat, nuts, eggs and vegetables.

8. I did yoga poses to relax the muscles in front of my chest and neck because these felt really tight. Interestingly, a physical therapist once told me that an unintended side effect of his massage and heat treatment of some of his clients for upper body pain occasionally cleared up their sinus infections. The main poses that I did that seemed to help were backward bends. There is a pose in yoga called the camel pose that is a great chest opener, but I did an easier variation of this bending backwards over a chair and sometimes a balance ball.

9. I kept warm, got a lot of rest, and let my husband take care of the meals and housework for a couple of days.

When I started to get serious about my sinus infection and did all of these things I got better after a couple of days. Before that I had been bed ridden and in so much pain I was considering antibiotics. I'm glad to not have to take any prescription drugs when home remedies will do, so I was relieved that these steps worked out for me.


Related sections of interest:

Allergic to mold? Diet changes might help.

Beneficial Bacteria

Diet Tips for Irritable Bowel

Read my Section on Sinus Infections

Itchy Skin / Sensitive Skin

MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivities)

Natural Therapies for Morgellons - The cause of this disorder is controversial and not clearly understood. My family had some similar symptoms so I wrote up what we found helpful.


Selected Links:

Sinusitus treatment through nasal irrigation - an interesting yoga treatment from Health and Yoga.


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