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  • Writer's pictureDr. Kari Young

The 7 Main Causes of Chronic Rhinosinusitis

Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is a serious inflammatory disease that affects the mucosa of the sinus cavities, resulting in the retention of mucus and microbial colonization. Once the immune system is activated, the inflammatory process causes the inflamed tissues to block the airways.

Chronic rhinosinusitis is among the most common chronic conditions globally, affecting every age group. CRS is a deceivingly serious condition with a more debilitating effect on a person’s life than diabetes or heart disease. People with CRS often suffer from overall declining health, missed work, inability to engage in social activities, and is associated with mental health problems.

CRS is a top reason that people seek medical care, and the condition has been deemed incurable by the medical community. CRS takes a huge economic toll on sufferers as well as the economy. According to the NIH, “... indirect costs of CRS are due to missed workdays, absenteeism and productivity loss, and are estimated to exceed USD 20 billion per year in the USA.”

The good news is that CRS can actually be improved and healed, once the root cause is removed.

The Link to Other Health Challenges

Many sufferers of CRS go untreated, are ineffectively treated, or simply dismissed. Infection triggers further inflammation and exacerbates the chronic disease process. People with chronic rhinosinusitis also tend to have other associated issues, including:

  • Autoimmune diseases (Lupus, Hashimoto’s, etc.)

  • Allergic rhinitis (Hay Fever)

  • Poor sleep

  • ADHD

  • Cognitive decline

  • Anxiety

  • Asthma

  • Depression

  • High blood pressure

  • Insulin resistance

  • Migraines

Symptoms of Chronic Rhinosinusitis

The most common symptoms of CRS include:

  • Facial and jaw pain

  • Coughing

  • Diminished ability to smell

  • Pressure in the ears

  • Pressure of the face when leaning forward

  • Fever

  • Headaches

  • Nasal congestion

  • Postnasal drip

  • Swelling and inflammation

  • Tooth pain in the upper jaw

  • Yellow or green discharge

The 7 Main Causes of Chronic Rhinosinusitis

#1 Bacterial Infection

Bacterial rhinosinusitis refers to a collection of conditions caused by bacterial infections of the paranasal sinuses. Since the sinuses share lymph drainage pathways and blood vessels with parts of the central nervous system and the eyes, a bacterial infection can be life-threatening.

Chronic rhinosinusitis causes mucus build up which collects and captures the bacteria we breathe. Bacteria thrive on mucus which can lead to an escalation to a bacterial infection as the bacteria multiply.

Microbiologic studies of CRS show that bacterial infection normally involves multiple microbes, usually from one to six species, with a domination of anaerobic types.

#2 Toxins

We are constantly exposed to an array of allergens, chemicals, irritants, pollutants, and toxins that we breathe, causing disease and CRS. Interestingly, the same toxins that cause and aggravate asthma overlap with CRS.

  • Carbon monoxide

  • Nitrogen dioxide

  • Sulfur dioxide

  • Tobacco smoke

  • Dust

  • Adhesives

  • Air fresheners

  • Allergens such as cockroaches, dust mites, mice, pets

  • Cleaning products

  • Indoor pollutants and particulate matter

  • Paint

  • Polish

  • Solvents

  • VOC’s


Our gut health is vitally important to achieving overall health, and is connected to the health of the respiratory system.

GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), also referred to as acid reflux, is directly linked to respiratory conditions, such as asthma, chronic coughing, and CRS. This is due to the production of excessive stomach acid outside of the gut, which affects the mucosal membranes and leads to sinonasal inflammation.

#4 Fungal Infection

Fungus loves the dark and moist environment of the sinuses, and studies indicate that all people have some level of fungal growth in their sinuses. A fungal infection can occur when there is a strong response to the fungal growth and the fungi are inhaled and deposited in the nasal passageways, causing inflammation.

Fungal species associated with final infections include:

  • Alternaria

  • Aspergillus

  • Candida

  • Cryptococcus neoformans

  • Sporothrix schenckii

#5 Mold

Not surprisingly, mold is one of the biggest culprits in causing fungal infection of the sinuses. Mold toxicity is extremely common, and causes an array of adverse health effects, including CRS, asthma, cognitive deficits, lung disease, and pneumonia.

Unfortunately, because mold spores normally enter the body by inhalation, the respiratory system and brain are exposed to the poisonous mycotoxins. This causes inflammation and disease, such as CRS.

#6 Parasitic Infection

Parasites commonly live in our nasal cavities and can attack the nasal mucosa and cause symptoms of CRS. Common types of parasites include acanthamoeba, helminths, nematodes, pinworms, and screwworms. Many clients have seen parasites come out of their noses during a parasite cleanse. Although it can be strange, getting them out is preferred to allowing them free rent.

The immune system will respond to parasitic antigens and stimulate the production of inflammatory cells. This response can create CRS and other inflammatory conditions. Parasites are a substantial cause of CRS and must be addressed as a main cause.

#7 Viral Infection

About 90% of all sinus infections are viral. A viral infection that is left untreated, or ineffectively treated can quickly turn to a bacterial infection within just 10 days.

How to Treat CRS

Ready to heal from CRS? There are several natural solutions to get you started:

Support the body’s natural detoxification processes, and allow the body to clean out bacteria, chemicals, parasites, pollutants, and other toxins that may be causing inflammation in the sinuses.

  • Address gut health issues to support your overall health.

  • Parasite cleanse.

  • Boosts the body’s immune system to fend off the stressors and toxins we’re exposed to every day.

  • Once you have boosted the body’s drainage processes, support the gut microbiome and respiratory system — both of which are crucial for avoiding and/or treating CRS.

  • Prevent issues such as GERD.

  • Use a Neti Pot or sinus rinse.

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