I'm a 29 year old male who has suffered with recurrent bouts of acute sinusitis for years. In the past two years, it's gotten really bad (about 6-8 bad infections per year, with more time spent sick than not). I've tried just about every do it yourself, home remedy sort of deal, and what I've found is that -- by far and away -- the most effective measure I can take in addition to taking certain potent antibiotics as prescribed, along with standard stuff (guafnesin, keeping well hydrated, good sleep & diet, occasional psuedoephedrine) is a daily nasal lavage and a "flooding" treatment with a 5% solution of Xylitol.
After trying numerous different biocidal agents, from hydrogen peroxide to diluted Listerine, to clorhexidine mouthwash to colloidal silver, Xylitol stands out as the best one for the job. For not only does it have outstanding biocidal activity against pathogenic colonizations of the bacterial flora that typically reside in the human oronasal cavity, as confirmed by numerous studies to date. It also is, unlike all the other biocides mentioned (besides perhaps colloidal silver), not harmful to the mucosa in any way. Not only that: its application also actually helps to moisturize and thus lubricate the mucosa over and above saline solution. If my hunch is correct, this peculiar property of Xylitol helps to restore, during times of infection, the normal action of the cilia, those microhair-structures that push secreted mucus out and away from the site of the infection. What's more, Xylitol is readily soluble in water, and is thus a natural osmolyte, meaning that it alters the osmotic pressure water places upon the cells of your mucus membranes. A 5% solution contains the exact ratio of Xylitol to water that is needed to keep the solution isotonic to your body's cells, meaning that the solution will exert no untoward pressure on the cell membranes, and thus cause no further irritation of the mucosa. Whereas a hypotonic solution (5%) WILL cause irritation - something that must be avoided in order for the mucosa to effectively heal.
Unfortunately for the consumer, most commercial Xylitol products marketed for sinus health carry a hefty price tag - which is ridiculous, given how cheap the chemical itself is to manufacture, and how much Xylitol you're actually getting in a premade solution. Good thing that Xylitol is available in bulk form as a sweetener -- I purchased a 3 lb. Bag of Xylosweet bran from a local healthfood store for 20 dollars. Also, it's good news, I've discovered, that after over 10 years of having taken it in High School, I've just brushed up on my Chemistry by studying for and taking the Chemistry CLEP exam, which has really come in handy as of today.
For the past few weeks, I'd been making my own Xylitol solutions using store bought Xylitol crystals. I have not been exacting about the ratio of Xylitol to water until today, when it dawned upon me that trial and error wasn't really cutting it. My mucus membranes, reason being, were still feeling agitated by the act irrigating them; something, I reasoned, needed to change in my approach. So, taking an example from the studies and abstracts I'd read online, I set about trying to make a solution that was exactly 5% in my nasal irrigator, whose capacity is 240 ml.
Now, the specific gravity of Xylitol is 1.52 grams/ml, whereas water's is 1. What this means for our purposes as sinus sufferers, is that per every volume of water to be mixed, 0.075 of the same in Xylitol must be utilized to provide a 5% solution. For 240 ml of solution, this amounts to about 20 ml of Xylitol and 240 ml of water. Of course, I'm using crystalline Xylitol, which has air gaps etc. That makes for an imperfect conversion from volume to weight, but from the results I've experienced, I do believe that there is such a thing in this case as close enough. 20 ml amounts to about the same as a heaping tablespoon (roughly 4 teaspoons).
I have tried this amount and found that it makes for a very pleasant washing experience -- even smoother and more comfortable than what I've felt utilizing pre-mixed, store bought, buffered Neilmed sinus rinse packets. I use a pulsatile irrigator that can be purchased at most drugstores -- the NeilMed "Sinugator" -- and as a rule, I irrigate in multiple iterations per session, until all the purulent gunk has been pushed from the sinus cavity, and the discharge out of the exit nostril and into the sink runs completely clear.
After irrigating in this way today, I took an empty squeeze bottle of about 450 ml. In volume, and added 35 ml. of Xylitol to it, filling the rest with water, again attempting to recreate as close to a 5% solution as is practicable/necessary. I then squirted this solution into either nostril, while laying in bed, per a "sinus flooding" protocol originally developed by an ENT on the East coast for use with Mesosilver brand colloidal silver. To put it simply, I filled my sinuses up until solution was overflowing from the nostrils, and laid down in bed for about 5 minutes, my head flat on the bed with no pillow underneath it. Then, I pinched my nose and, while holding it, turned belly down, with my head leaning over the edge of the bed. I held the solution there for about a minute, discharged it into the sink, and irrigated one more time.
It's been about an hour since all this has transpired, and I am already feeling the positive effects. My right maxillary sinus cavity has been severely compromised by this disease over the years, with discharge often being bloody, and a practically permanent sensation of swelling and pain in the tissues that surround it, even when it's not acutely infected. The relief I'm currently experiencing from this is nothing short of remarkable, and I believe it has everything to do with keeping the ratio of Xylitol to water as exact as I can, with my methods being a little haphazard/inaccurate.
When I am able to purchase one in a few days, I am next going to try using a 5% Xylitol solution with a Vick's personal steam inhaler, which many sinus sufferers have rated highly on amazon.com. I will report back with my findings. Until then, I cannot say how encouraged I am by my findings today. I have lost so much health and hope owing to this disease, which prevents me from exerting myself at work, and also exercising routinely and vigorously -- something that someone wired like me needs to do to keep sane and healthy. As of now, it seems like this method, in combination with continuing to take care of my overall health, limiting dairy/lactose consumption, limiting/eliminating alcohol consumption, and refusing any kind of smoke inhalation, may just let me hit the gym and bang out some heavy squats and deadlifts very soon, without having to worry about getting yet another full blown sinus infection afterwards. I'm ecstatic about this, and hope it can help anyone else save some money and relieve themselves from suffering.