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Food Allergy Solutions ReviewNews, Ideas & Strategies to Improve Your HealthSeptember 2003
The Food Allergy Solution to Sinusitis and Runny Nose
Chronic congestion of the sinuses, ears and/or the nose can be an extremely frustrating sinusitis problem that does not ever truly seem to go away.
All too often I hear patients state that they have not found relief even after many rounds of antibiotics or multiple surgeries. (See article below, "Antibiotics and Surgery May Not Cure Sinusitis.") This is because antibiotics and surgery often don’t address the cause of the congestion.
What Causes Sinusitis and Runny Nose?
Sinus infection (sinusitis) and runny nose are inflammatory conditions that result in mucous production and congestion. This leads to the resulting problems of sinus pressure headaches, a runny nose, or stuffy ears.
Then What Causes Inflammation?
Inflammation is caused by anything that can activate the immune system. It can be caused by a bacterial, fungal, or viral infections, or by environmental or food allergies.
Bacterial and fungal infections are readily treated by antibiotics, and viral infections generally resolve on their own. Food allergies are the most under-rated cause of inflammation and congestion, and frequently exacerbate known environmental allergies.
How Do Food Allergies Trigger Sinusitis or a Runny Nose?
An allergy is an immune response, resulting in inflammation and in this case mucous production. Such a response to food can be exhibited in any part of the body, because nutrients are digested, absorbed and circulated throughout the body. This is why food allergies can cause a wide range of problems, including sinusitis and runny noses.
There are many other conditions that can be caused by food allergies.
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What Foods Trigger Sinusitis and Allergic Rhinitis?
Any food that can trigger the immune system via an allergic reaction is capable of causing sinusitis or allergic rhinitis. And the fact is, any food is equally capable of triggering an allergic reaction.
There is no one-to-one correlation between foods and symptoms or diseases. Food allergies result in inflammation, which then leads to problems such as sinusitis.
Therefore proper blood testing must be done in order to determine one’s food allergies.
Why Is It So Difficult to Recognize One's Own Food Allergy?
This is problematic because of the often delayed nature of food allergies. Allergy symptoms may show up hours or even a day later, after a food is well absorbed into your system.
This difficulty is compounded by the fact that certain foods, such as dairy and wheat, are so prevalent in our diet that many people eat them nearly every day. Therefore connecting your symptoms with your eating habits often nearly impossible.
What Causes a Food Allergy?
It is most likely that food allergies are genetically predetermined. In the big picture, humans have only recently introduced many current day foods into the diet, so it’s not surprising that the immune system doesn’t recognize every food as a friendly substance.
Undoubtedly we do not understand everything there is to know about food or food allergies.
How Do I Determine if I Have a Food Allergy?
The only sure way to determine if you have a food allergy is to have your blood tested for antibodies to a variety of foods. This is done with an ELISA Food Allergy Panel, which measure your immune response to approximately 100 different foods.
If you experience sinusitis, a runny nose, or suspect that you may have a food allergy, call 206-264-1111 to schedule an appointment.
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Sinusitis and Runny Nose - Case Studies
Case #1: 52 year old woman (M.S.) with a long history of sinusitis and sinus headaches as well as arthritis, and insomnia from hot flashes. ELISA blood allergy testing discovered very high allergies to salmon, tuna, crab, lobster, and other seafood as well as beef and pork. The patient stated that she ate seafood almost every day. Within one month after the removal of these foods the patient said that she felt “great.” Her sinusitis had almost completely resolved, as had her headaches, and her arthritis was already much better. Hot flashes were also greatly diminished and she was sleeping soundly.
Case #2: 44 year old woman (E.B.) with 15 year history of sinus problems and headaches. She had 3 previous sinus surgeries that had not resolved her problems. As a child she had many ear infections. ELISA blood food allergy testing showed a high reactivity to eggs, corn, and sunflower, and brewer’s yeast. The patient then stated that when she was a child her mom wouldn’t let her eat eggs because they caused eczema. The elimination of these foods resolved her sinusitis and headaches.
Case #3: 14 year old woman (K.K) with a long history of sinus problems. Started antibiotics at age 3 and had sinus surgeries at ages 8 and 13, both of which only helped temporarily. She also had frequent headaches and canker sores. After blood testing she eliminated dairy, broccoli, garlic and pineapple. This led to significant improvement in her sinusitis and the resolution of her constipation, which she had not previously mentioned.
Case #4: 4 year old boy (J.N.) had been experiencing sinusitis and congestion for most of life. He had been on and off antibiotics and had been sick for the greater of a year. Skin testing for food allergies had been negative. ELISA blood testing demonstrated strong allergies to dairy, eggs and beef. Removal of these foods led to a dramatic improvement in in his health. He is now free of sinus infection and very healthy.
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Antibiotics and Surgery May Not Cure Sinusitis
Many people with sinus infection complain that after having taken multiple courses of antibiotics or even following surgery, in the end they feel the same as they did before their treatment. Their sinusitis problem returns with a vengeance. What is the problem? Aren’t they getting the right antibiotic?
The answer is that in these people, the antibiotics are only treating the bacterial infection that is secondary to the inflammation clogging their sinuses. Therefore antibiotics don’t get at the real cause of the problem. The same can be said for surgery. Surgery may scrape out the sinuses or open up a bigger hole for them to drain, but these treatments only address secondary problems resulting from the inflammation. Therefore the original sinus problem remains.
The inflammation that is causing the sinus pain requires a trigger. The real question is, “What is causing the inflammation?” Anything that triggers the immune system can be that trigger, because the immune system is what causes inflammation and mucous production. Bacteria, which are treated with antibiotics, are only one cause of inflammation.
One of the most likely causes of chronic sinus infection or nasal congestion is a food allergy. Food allergies constantly trigger the immune system, therefore the inflammation never permanently goes away. This can result in a persistent runny nose, or recurrent sinus infections due to the moist and poorly draining/inflamed environment that is maintained in the sinuses.
If you have either of these problems then be sure to rule out food allergies by undergoing a food allergy blood test. Call 206-264-1111 for an appointment.Return to TopReturn to Food Allergy Solutions Review Archive
Dr. Stephen Wangen
Center for Food Allergies
1229 Madison St, Suite 1220 · Seattle WA 98104 · 206-264-1111
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