Rhinitis: Hay-fever, Sinus Congestion & Post-nasal Drip

Snot. There. Said it. Read on if you dare. Sinus congestion comes in many forms, and most of them produce some kind of snot. There is the runny, watery kind that streams out with sudden bouts of hay-fever, then there is the stickier, gluggier, goopier kind that comes in an array of colours and can have a variety of causes. Our bodies produce mucus to help deal with any unwanted threats; this can include viruses, bacteria, fungi or substances we are reactive to (pollens, foods, etc).

 

So let’s start with a few notes on terminology. Rhinitis simply means inflammation of the nose, while sinusitis is inflammation of the sinuses. Allergic rhinitis is a medical term for hay-fever. Nasal or sinus congestion can be short term (acute) or long-term (chronic), and in some people this can lead to a post-nasal drip, as the the mucus trickles down the back of the throat. Sometimes the cause is infection, sometimes reactivity, and sometimes, frustratingly, both.

 

The effects of congestion in the sinuses range from breathing issues and snoring right through to headaches, tiredness, or a persistent feeling of unwellness.

 

Many people know all too well what is causing their congestion, especially those who suffer from seasonal allergies. For others however, the triggers can present a complex puzzle which sometimes feels unsolvable.

 

Environmental substances are a common source of irritation for the obvious reason that the reactive substance is inhaled and sets up a reaction in the nasal cavities or sinuses. Dust, dust mites, animal hair and pollens are all common triggers.

 

Many sufferers of congestion know that when their body is in balance, they are less reactive and can breathe more easily. Eating foods that are wrong for our systems can indeed make us more disposed towards ill-health, and sinus congestion is one aspect of this. Changing our diets to foods that suit our individual systems can have significant impact on our sinus health and help us to breathe easy again. Many people, for example, report that when they are eating the right foods, they sail through pollen season without their usual issues.

 

The right balance of nutrients is also important for reducing our susceptibility to sinus congestion. Vitamin C and bioflavanoids are especially important in mediating the histamine response, while essential fatty acids such as Omega-3 oils are important for reducing inflammation.

 

Because sinus health is impacted upon by both internal factors (diet, nutrition) and external factors (environmental irritants), it is important to understand how both of these interact in any individual in order to support clear airways.

 

Recent Posts

Is Wine Making You Wince? It Could Be HISTAMINE

At this time of year, histamine springs to mind quite often, especially for those suffering with hay fever and seasonal allergies. While histamine is well-known for causing itching, sneezing and scratching, it can also be responsible for a host of other effects in the body. If you have digestive upsets, multiple food intolerances or migraines, … Continued

Read more

Staying Strong This Summer: Iron

When you hear the word IRON do you think of an iron bar? Strong and unbreakable and undeniable? Or if the Beef and Lamb marketing campaigns have been successful, maybe you’ll think of a juicy plump piece of steak. I’d like today to talk about both of these images: the iron bar and the steak, … Continued

Read more

Is SIBO Driving Your IBS?

There is a growing awareness among naturopathic and medical experts alike that many people presenting with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) have a bacterial imbalance in their digestive tract known as Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). It is thought that approximately 50% of people with IBS have SIBO.   What is SIBO? We all know now … Continued

Read more