Nasal Irrigation: Friend or Foe?


Nasal irrigation is a process in which you use a sterile saline solution to clear out the allergens and mucus that build up in your sinus cavity and cause sinus problems. Usually, these irritants are held at bay by the cilia, which are the hair-like substances in your nose that act as a filter. When the cilia gets clogged, they are unable to function properly, which is when sinus problems arise.  

The treatment originates from a practice from India called Ayurveda that used nasal irrigation as a daily hygiene practice. Today it’s used as a sinus and allergy treatment, and different types of kits can be bought in pretty much any store health section. You can also find instructions online on how to make your own. Since all of the irrigation systems do the same thing, picking one comes down to personal preference.

The irrigation process involves pouring a sterile saline solution into one nostril so that it runs through the nasal cavity and comes out the other nostril. As the solution passes through, it removes dirt and allergens and thins out the mucus that is causing congestion and sinus problems. To see how it works, click here.

If you ask people about nasal irrigation, such as a sinus flush or neti pot, you’ll find that they’ll either swear by it or be terrified by it. But what do the medical professionals say?

Actually, there is some disagreement in the medical community. Most doctors agree that if done correctly, the procedure is beneficial for short-term treatment. However, many are concerned that long-term usage can be counterproductive and actually harmful. In 2009, a study by the College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology showed that “patients who used nasal saline irrigation for a year and then stopped using it for a year had a 62% lower incidence of sinusitis during the year in which they stopped.” There are a few reasons for this outcome:

  • While some mucus is bad, some of it is necessary to keep your sinuses functioning correctly. In addition, there are beneficial agents — antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral — that are also flushed out with nasal irrigation.
  • People use contaminated water,which can lead to illness. It is important to use distilled or sterile water. If you have to use tap, boil it first.
  • Irrigation, according to some sources, can damage the mucus membrane in the nose.
  • The irrigation device can carry germs. If not properly disinfected, the treatment can quickly turn to a cause.

Overall, using nasal irrigation is a lot of work for a short-term solution, especially when CT Sinus Center can help you put a permanent end to your allergies or sinusitis suffering without the hassle. We offer an in-office procedure called balloon sinus dilation that, in just under an hour, will flush away your sinus conditions forever. Schedule a consultation today with one of our expert physicians to see if you are eligible for balloon sinus dilation or any of our proven methods of time-tested treatments.
For more information on sinus conditions and CT Sinus Center, visit our website and blog.

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