Q: My sinus problems have gotten much worse over the last few years.  I can't breathe through my nose, have headaches behind the eyes and ears and in my forehead, and am constantly sick and tired, despite getting a full night's sleep. The problems get worse when my allergies are acting up. The sneezing, itchy eyes, dizziness and continuous throat drainage are intolerable.  All my doctor has been able to do is give me antibiotics for inflamed sinuses, but as soon as I'm finished with the medicine, the problems come back. I also suffer from sleep apnea and have been trying to lose weight, but it isn't easy.  My wife makes me sleep on the couch because of my snoring.  She's not sleeping either now because my snoring wakes her up, and it is affecting her moods.  What can I do?  We are miserable.

I hope that you can help.

One sick sinus and allergy sufferer

A: Dear one sick sinus and allergy sufferer:

It sounds to me like you suffering from both allergies and sinus problems.  Sleep apnea can cause heart attack or stroke, so it can be serious-at the very least, it can make you tired.   Your symptoms are real and make sense as I will describe below.  

I believe that your sinus problems are connected by what I call CAID--chronic airway-digestive inflammatory disease which connects sinus problems, allergies, asthma, snoring, sleep apnea, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).  Most important is that you are concerned about your wife.  They say a happy wife is a happy life.  She has to get her rest.  So let's get started.  First, sinus infection can give you yellow green discharge which can be thick and sticky, cough, dizziness and all the other symptoms that you complain about. 

So what can you do to resolve this? 

  • First you might want to start by irrigating your sinuses with saline solution.  You can use a netipot, a squeeze bottle, or a Grossan Hydropulse.  You can get these at any local pharmacy or on line. 
  •  Next you should make sure that your environment is clean of dust and molds.  Clean the wet rooms in your home.  You bathrooms, wash rooms and kitchen may be areas where there is mold and will need to be cleaned with bleach.  This will kill the mold. And afterwards keeping these areas dry will help.
  • If you have a weight problem than you should immediately find someone that can help you to lose weight.  Most people know what they need to do to lose weight and this would include exercise so you can start immediately.  This is not easy, but it is very important.  This will help with the snoring and the sleep apnea. 

Understand that your problem is complex and that you are going to need the help of a physician.  You will likely need to be on antibiotics for longer than a week.  Generally, patients with similar symptoms need to be on antibiotics for a minimum of 3-8 weeks, as well as on a host of other medicines. Your doctor will need to decide the best course of treatment. 

Your doctor should also refer you to a board certified ENT (sinus specialist) who is a CAID or sinus specialist.  You should not take these problems lightly--if you suffer from snoring and sleep apnea, it is critical to know that they can have devastating consequences, for both your health and your relationships.

Other symptoms that people may suffer from include either nasal symptoms--nasal blockage, stuffy or runny nose, yellow, green or white discharge which can be thick and sticky, nasal bleeding (epistaxis), post-nasal drip, allergysneezing, runny nose, itching, sinus or facial pain, pressure or headaches, dental- gingivitis-gum disease, cavities, bad breath (halitosis), toothache, dental sensitivity, pain; ear problems- ear infections, hearing loss, ear pain, difficulty flying and diving and equalizing,  tinnitus-ringing in the ears, dizziness; headaches- sinus and or migraines,  eye problems like tearing- tear duct blockage (dacrocystitis), redness of the eye-conjunctivitis, burning or itching, swelling of the eye(s); chest problems-chronic cough, wheezing, asthma, bronchitis, shortness of breath; throat problems- throat clearing, hoarseness, laryngitis, sore throat, tonsillitis, and difficulty swallowing.

A big issue is that many physicians are unable to connect their symptoms to their sinuses--which may actually be the root of their problem.  Many patients call me from around the world after they read my book, Sinus Relief Now and say: How did you know?  Your book describes me to the tee and my docs don't understand.  Well I am a fellow sufferer.  And there are solutions.  Good sinus health equals good body health, so get to the right doctor so that you can start feeling better.

So start irrigating and losing weight and cleaning up your environment.  You are going to have to address your allergies as well, and Sinus Relief Now will give you a lot of information about how to attack those offending allergens to make your allergies better and more livable.  I would certainly be interested in you letting me know what you think about the book after you read it.  And give us some follow up after you see a sinus specialist that understands CAID.

Good Luck and keep us posted.


Dr J

Dr. Jordan S.  Josephson is an internationally renowned nasal and endoscopic sinus surgeon.  He has recently written a book for the public entitled Sinus Relief Now (www.sinusreliefnow.com) on sinus disease, allergies, asthma, snoring and sleep apnea and GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease) which he believes are all related inflammatory diseases and he has coined the term CAID -chronic airway-digestive inflammatory disease to describe this inflammatory process. He was recently on Oprah discussing a patient that he successfully treated for snoring and sleep apnea.  He was featured in NY Magazine as one of 13 innovators in medicine and is listed as one of Castle Connolly's Top Doctors in the United States.  He finished the first fellowship in Endoscopic Sinus and Nasal Surgery in the United States at the Johns Hopkins Medical Center.  He held the academic rank of an instructor at Johns Hopkins Medical School.  He was a consultant to the National Institutes of Health for six years where he did research on Wegeners Granulomatosis and nasal and sinus disease. 

 Presently, Dr. Josephson is in private practice in Manhattan. He is affiliated with prestigious institutions including Lenox Hill Hospital, Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat Hospital and St Lukes Roosevelt Hospital. Beyond the traditional clinical treatment of his patients, he actively participates in the latest research and uses this knowledge as a medical educator, lecturing around the world.  He treats patients with difficult sinus disease, allergies, asthma, GERD, snoring/sleep apnea, and nasal deformities leading to airway obstruction. He performs nasal surgery including rhinoplasty for nasal breathing and deformity problems.   Dr Josephson utilizes a combination of the best of eastern alternative and western medicine treatment in conjunction to his expertise in Functional Endoscopic Sinus and Nasal Surgery and Snoring Sleep Apnea Surgery to treat the most complicated cases.