Mayo Clinic researchers say they have found the cause of most chronic sinus infections -- an immune system response to fungus. They say this discovery opens the door to the first effective treatment for this problem, the most common chronic disease in the United States. An estimated 37 million people in the U.S. suffer from chronic sinusitis, an inflammation of the membranes of the nose and sinus cavity. Its incidence has been increasing steadily over the last decade. Common symptoms are runny nose, nasal congestion, loss of smell and headaches. Frequently, the chronic inflammation leads to polyps, small growths in the nasal passages that hinder breathing.
Fungus allergy was thought to be involved in less than 10 percent of cases. The new studies indicate that, in fact, fungus is likely the cause of nearly all of these problems. And it is not an allergic reaction, but an immune reaction. The disease process in sinus patients, in sensitive individuals, the body's immune system sends eosinophils to attack fungi and the eosinophils irritate the membranes in the nose. As long as fungi remain, so will the irritation.
Antibiotics and over-the-counter decongestants are widely used to treat chronic sinusitis. In most cases, antibiotics are not effective for chronic sinusitis because they target bacteria, not fungi. The over-the-counter drugs may offer some relief of symptoms, but they have no effect on the inflammation. Thousands of kinds of single-cell fungi (molds and yeasts) are found everywhere in the world. Fungal spores (the reproductive part of the organism) become airborne like pollen. Some people develop allergies to fungi. The new evidence from the Mayo study suggests that many people also develop a different kind of immune system response.
Mayo Clinic Proceedings September 1999
COMMENT: I believe that another major tragedy in medicine, nearly as bad as the million gallbladders that are removed every year, are the tens of thousands of unnecessary sinus surgeries. That surgery rarely works, and I strongly discourage nearly everyone from having it done. I have had a fair amount of success in neutralizing patients for mold allergies in the treatment of their chronic sinus problems. For those that failed our PN program, we will be using our Applied Psycho Neurobiology (APN) and Total Body Modification programs for allergy neutralization. So the bottom line is, if you have a chronic sinus problem, avoid the use of antibiotics, avoid any sinus surgery, and find a doctor who can treat you for mold sensitivities.