For the past year, I have been on antibiotics constantly and within 24 hours of them being out of my system, the horrible sinus headaches, fatigue and post-nasal drip, sometimes with coughing, begins again. I have been through my general physician, rounds of allergy testing with an allergist/immunologist, ENTs, two sinus surgeries, tonsils and adenoids removed, CT scans, MRI's, cultures of my sinuses, multiple blood tests and quite a lot of time, money and pain. None of the doctors can figure out why my symptoms return almost immediately after stopping the antibiotics. They switch me back and forth from cefuroxime to Bactrim every other month, but others will work for it, too, after I get a cold and it turns into a raging infection. They have never been able to confirm that it is bacterial, however I know for certain that antibiotics are the ONLY thing that keeps the pain away, and as soon as they are stopped, it comes back. Doesn't matter if I have been on them for months at a time beforehand.
The doctors are all stunned (I live in Baltimore and have gone to Johns Hopkins and even they don't know what to do with me) and I am at my wit's end. I want to be able to stop damaging my body with these pills and my husband and I would like to start a family soon and I won't take medicine while pregnant. Other things they have had me try are the sinus rinses (never helped the headaches), prescription anti-histamine sprays as well as steroid sprays, and prednisone, which had very little effect. My ENT mentioned that antibiotics can sometimes act as anti-inflammatories but blood tests don't show significant inflammation in my body. He also mentioned it could be a biofilm infection, but cultures come up completely clean after 5 days off the antibiotic (with me missing work and having no life besides sleeping and laying on the couch). I have to stay on them to function and it's really taking it's toll. I often wonder if it has caused an overgrowth of fungus, though no doctor has ever mentioned it as a possibility. Has anyone else had this experience or ever heard of this happening????
I have the exact same issue. This has been going on for about 2 years now. Look into the Anti Candida diet. Even though I am a male, and Candida overgrowth is more common in women, I have just started it and am seeing small results. My theory is since I have been on a constant antibiotic, there is no more "good" bacteria left in my system which is creating an off balance immune system. The candida diet not only puts good bacteria back into your body, but it starves the bad bacteria also. I have not consulted my ENT about this yet, but I am going to when I see him on the 21st. Ive tried everything else so Im praying this works.
It could be just what the doctor said, a biofilm. Also, bacterial infections become encapsulated, and antibiotics can't penetrate them, but will only clear out the bacteria on the edges of the infected mucus capsule, and they'll grow back.
If the infection is in the upper sinuses, saline irrigation won't work, due to gravity. This uses gravity, rather than fighting it.
The Flip-Turn Sinus Flush is mildly risky, because you have to bend over to do it, preferably in a shower, but you can also do it outside on soft ground, or you can kneel down and lean over a bathtub, or perhaps a plastic basin or tub, with the shower running for steam.
I removed a biofilm with this. It was nasty and scary looking.
Ed8765 may very well be correct about the Candida. Try it.
It may also be a fungal infection. A recent innovation is to use a nebulizer with an anti-fungal.
Ed8765 is also correct about the balance of microbes. A healthy sinus system has about 200 different microbes in it. I am almost to the point of recommending to stick a finger in somebody else's healthy nose, and then innoculating your own, but that's gross.
Lastly, google "antibiotics retina" so you'll know which antibiotics to avoid.
Ed8765 - Probably TMI, but I have always suspected a problem with yeast, as was confirmed by my GYN back in October. He gave me 2 diflucan to take, but I knew it would be pointless to take them while I was still on the antibiotic. Since posting this, I've been on 3 different antibiotics since the last round of azithromycin wore off and the horrible symptoms returned. First one was doxycycline, which I couldn't tolerate the side effects of, second one (amoxicillin) didn't do anything at all, good or bad, and the third was another round of azithromycin, which I had taken just weeks earlier and many, many times before and had no issues, but couldn't tolerate it this time for some crazy reason. It seems like the doxy just totally screwed up my whole body or something. Anyway, tomorrow will be a week since the last azithromycin and last night I remembered about the diflucan I had stashed away for that miracle time when I wasn't on antibiotics anymore, so I thought now would be a good time to try it. I had often suspected candida in the past and started doing more research on the diet this morning before I had even checked here! I did very well with the diet today but it is so hard!!!! I'm already gluten free, so that part isn't an issue, but just figuring out recipes and living on what I consider "plain" veggies and meat (I'm a cheese and sauce lover) is so hard!! I'm going to try to stick with it for as long as I can, since I do have another diflucan to take in 2 days. Best of luck to you and let me know how you are doing!
The possibility of a biofilm is quite daunting, and it seemed like my ENT only wanted me to stay off the meds indefinitely and keep coming back week after week to keep culturing it. That would have been fine except I couldn't function at the time without the meds and I was a month away from getting married and just didn't have the time to devote to it then, so I just went back on the antibiotics and hoped for the best. Now, I'm back into trying to figure it out :)
That Sinus Flush is very intriguing!! I often wondered how it was supposed to help me when my pain ranged throughout all my sinuses, not just the ones where gravity reaches. I may have to give it a go.
Also adding an anti-fungal crossed my mind, as well as the candida. So many possibilities, and I feel so alone in my fight as the doctors have done all they can and not once have they suggested candida or fungus as the cause of my sinus problems. I am so glad for the internet and forums like this to be able to figure out some things to try on my own!
I never had a sinus infection before January 2007 -- and it was awful. Since then, I've had dozens and average maybe six per year. Summer months are my best time of year. The hotter and dryer the better. The minute the seasons change back to cold and damp... and bitter cold and dry, I'm in trouble. My sinus infections always begin on the right side. I'll feel them begin as much as 10 days in advance... eventually, I lose, they take over the right side of my head and 3 to 5 days later spread to the left.
I've had fantastic success with sulfer based antibiotics. I don't remember the name. 500mg twice a day for 10 days -- that's what he does for me. Knocks it out every time.
If I'm able to begin antibiotics on the day that I feel it begin to take hold, I experience a complete reversal -- sulfer based ONLY and within 3 to 4 days, it's 90% gone... and I never miss a dose and I always complete treatment.
My Doctor recomended something else and I've had a significant reduction in the number and frequency of sinus infections I've had.
This sounds dumb, but he told me to not just brush my teeth 3x a day Morning, Lunch, Before Bed -- but also gargle with Listerine in the back of my throat for a minimum of 30 seconds and as long as I can take it.
I've always had good oral hygiene. Obviously now it's even better. He read a study linking bacteria in the mouth, especially at night, to frequent sinus infections.
For whatever reason, I'm prone to sinus infections. I was super clean before. Everything I do now revolves around hygiene. I wont even blow my nose w/o first washing my hands.
Lastly, going to the gym before, during and after a sinus infection greatly reduces the symptoms. There's nothing better than being able to breath and get some air in. You'll just have to experience it -- 40 min on the tredmill is better than any anti-inflamitory.
Listerine 3x a day
Tredmill/gym 5x a week -- 4.2 mph for 40 min
I've had only 3 sinus infections since Dec 2012/Jan 2013 -- had one over christmas, at the end of March and again in mid May.
Flying also causes them -- flying is a guaranteed sinus infection for me.
I have suffered from chronic (and at times acute) sinus infections for over 15 years. I have had pseudomonas, MRSA, and enterobacter, as well as strep and other staph and even penicillium fungi. All were cultured from my sinuses. I've had 2 surgeries, and voila, the infections return. My entire body has now been affected (and I am unable to work). I have had 7 central IV lines for IV antibiotics, and am on antibiotics nearly every day. I have been to large hospitals and small ones, and have seen multiple ENTs and IDs. I have been told the bacteria (pseudomonas is most prominent) has colonized. I am allergic to the oral meds for pseudomonas.. This is life. I have had a full work up from an immunologist too. I am in the low normal range for my immune factors. So, my life has been altered greatly. What I say is but the tip of the problem. The headaches and facial pain, as well as earaches and horrible drainage, are a constant. One doc tell me to irrigate, and the next tell me to NOT irrigate. I hope for your sake, that the infection can be corrected prior to having children, and a very full life! I am grateful my children are grown. I feel lucky that I do not have to care for small ones, but sadly, my work identity has been taken, and I miss it greatly. I think the sinus irrigations work fairly well and at least reduce the amount of drainage. My doctors now are wonderful and caring, and it's the best I can hope for. Has anyone tried more alternative modalities, like acupuncture? Has anyone tried hyperbaric O2 therapy? Thoughts?
I had constant sinus infections -- one right after another.They would almost get over and another one would start. I went to the ENT for a review of a cat scan and she found out I had enlarged turbinates, and my sinus drainage areas in my nose were too small. I had day surgery where she trimmed the turbinates back, and enlarged the sinus drainage holes. Now I'm down to 1 or 2 sinus infections/year. SULFAMETH/TRIMETHOPRIM works the best for it. Antibiotics don't help.
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