Chronic swollen turbinates and poor health for 6 months. Miserable :(

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Hi everyone. I've been wanting to reach out about my health issues and see if there's anyone else suffering similarly and hopefully get some advice. Will try to keep my story short. I'm 28/F. I've suffered allergies for many years but didn't as a child. Mainly animals (which is tricky because I work with them), pollen and mold. I also developed asthma a few years ago. I'm not overweight, am very health conscious, eat well and exercise.

Back in June my turbinates (glands in the nose) swelled up to the point I could only breath through my mouth for many weeks before seeing an ENT specialist and being put on Nasonex steroid spray. Diagnosis was due to allergies. It helped a lot, reducing them but they were still there. I got the flu a couple times in the months following which was awful. Swollen turbinates with congestion felt like I was drowning when laying down. All round my trouble breathing has been scary especially since my asthma flairs up regularly and I watched my Father die from emphysema. I've never smoked but both my parents smoked around me all the time as a child.

I have the flu again now so 3 times in 6 months. In this time I've only had brief relief from swollen turbinates. I went back to see the ENT as the nasonex hasn't been working like it did last time. Also my skin hates the stuff, it gives me broken capillaries, acne and even hair loss. He put me on the surgery waiting list for a septoplasty (straightening my nose) and turbinate reduction surgery but will have to wait up to a year. He also prescribed a different steroid spray and I can change between the two every couple months. The steroids are keeping them from swelling completely but my airways are still compromised. I booked in to see an allergist. There was a 3 month wait and they lost my appointment so now I have to wait until March unless there's a cancellation. I'm doing everything I can seeking professional.

I've had a persistent pressure headache for 3 weeks now, it started before the flu hit and the past week I've had a very tight/strained neck. It's not just the turbinates worrying me but my failing health accross the board. My doctor says I'm just having a bad run. Only feeling well for a minority of 6 months isn't normal and I'm concerned. Is there anyone else who's suffered like this due to allergies? A suppressed immune system etc? Thanks for reading.

 

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  • Posted

    Well for starters let's call a duck a duck. I don't think you're getting the flu every time I think you're getting colds/virus. Typically you only get the flu once a year maybe you can get a different strain for a second bout but once you get that strain of flu you'll build up an immunity and it's unlikely you get that one strain of flu again. And they are both treated differently so it's important to know which it is. Secondly maybe it's not a cold at all but rather a allergic flare. It may be your body's defense mechanism fighting against all the allergies your throwing out yourself. For example being around all those animals all day long.

    I have had the exact surgery you're talking about and got a tremendous amount of relief from it so I'm glad to hear you're going to have the same and I think you'll find it will make you feel so much better. There are a couple of medicines I suggest of course I'm not a medical expert please check with your doctor first but have you tried Benadryl and/or a sinus decongestant? I would recommend you try either one of those if your doctor approves it. Secondly my doctor put me on Azelastine nasal spray. It's a prescription. It's an allergy nose spray but when Nasonex and Flonase which are both OTC in the US did not work for me this was her solution. And it's work darn good. I can definitely tell if I miss a dose. And finally I recommend you look into how the allergist does an allergy test versus how your ENT does an allergy test. I know they're significantly different in the US. I strongly urge you to use an ENT for your allergy test rather than an allergist.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for you prompt reply. I appreciate your feedback. Virus may be more appropriate. This time my SO has it too so I know it's not just an allergic flare. Yes I know I'm exposing myself to my main allergen. Animals are my passion and my cats mean the world to me. Funny thing is I grew up with lots of pets as a child without issues. I spent many years studying for this line of work. Many people are unable to avoid the source of their allergies and just have to try their best to manage them. My symptoms are manifesting differently to what they used to. I feel I've adjusted to some degree.

      I'm glad to know surgery went well for you. I look forward to it. I've tried Sudafed decongestant with little result. I can ask about Benadryl instead. The body doesn't become dependent like it does decongestant sprays, correct? Azelastine I still have sitting in my cupboard as well as Nasonex and Flucticasone Furoate. Azelastine is indeed very potent and my skin hated it even more than the Nasonex. Yes, breathing is much more important than appearances but spending a fortune on laser treatment trying to combat broken capillaries whilst trying to afford an ENT and allergist isn't feasible but maybe I can incorporate it into my routine at least a couple times per week.

      My ENT did do an allergy test. Can only do 4 items at a time due to Australian regulations. Results were animals normal range <100. Mine was over 2000. Mold medium. Pollen medium. Dust normal. I hope to get allergy injection treatment started before my surgery.

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  • Posted

    There's no reason for you to feel bad or guilty for continuing your work with animals. I'm allergic to animal dander too and I have two dogs, I do find that cats bother me a lot more than dogs do. But I just suffer along because I don't want to be without my dogs. Your allergies can change as you grow older I know this because when I was in my twenties I had an allergy test done and started injections now I'm in my fifties and I'm going to start the injections again. And as far as the nasal sprays none of those are addictive like neo-synephrine or any of those kinds. Those are addictive because they open up the nasal passages that are swollen so when you stop the nasal passages swell and then you can't breathe so you use it again. That is not how nasalcort Flonase or the prescription I mentioned work. And if you're getting a reaction to the medication and you certainly don't want to take it that defeats the purpose. I Wonder has your doctor ever put you on a prednisone pack? That's where they start you at a high dosage of Prednisone and then you start tapering down right away. So you might start out at 60 mg for 3 days then 40 mg for 3 days etc, ect.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your understanding. It's actually pretty common in the animal industry for people to become allergic after working with them for many years. Luckily my cats are short hair. I don't get a full blown 'I have to get out of here' reaction with congestion like I used to. I actually left work earlier this year to go back and do further study. Would've thought my symptoms would've improved. I think it's safe to say I did myself some damage at work and will reassess what to do in the future. Did you have much luck with the injections? After your surgery did you see an improvement in a range of symptoms or just clearer breathing?

      Yes I've stayed right away from decongestant sprays. I took Azelastine last night and today the broken capillaries are tingling which is a sign of them spreading. I might just have to face the fact I may have to sacrifice the condition of my skin for the time being in order to get breathing relief. Can start laser treatment again at a later stage. The Flucticasone Furoate doesn't cause this but I don't think it's helping much either, perhaps it's not potent enough.

      My doctor is leaving this condition up to the specialists. I'm done with the ENT for now so relying on the allergist. I've heard of Prednisone and it sounds like it could be useful so I'll try to mention it when I see them. Looked for benadryl today. In Australia it's a cough syrup with decogenstant (same ingredient as sudafed). Is it an antihistamine in the US? 

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  • Posted

    I too deal with this and have been for about 4 1/2 years. it started with me feeling blah and runned down. in this time frame i have tried several different ENTs. and I am on my second allergerist. it is indeed a very debilitating ailment. what I have  found is with this particular ailment  what works for some does not work for others. the doctors seem to treat every body the same across the board and that is the problem.

    I have been diagnosis with chronic rhinitis/sinusitis. unless u go through it people have no idea what we go through. I do not have any structural blockage. one ent feels that the blockage that does occur comes from my turbinates swelling up do to the many allergen that I have been diagnosised with. as far as I know I did not have allergies earlier on in my life so this has come on late. I have tried just about everything except surgery. the reason I have shied away from surgery is the ENT could not give me even a 50/50 success rate. I also suffer from headaches once the sinuses r inflammed he stated he did not know if the surgery would elleviated them. i have know many people who have done the surgery and r still going through with this problem. I have done the ballon surgery where they place a ballon up into ur sinuses and expand the ballon hoping to open up the sinus passages for better drainage. I am using chiropractic, acupuncture , cupping and taking allergy shots.  my allergens r weeds, mold, dust, trees, grass and cockorach dander. i have taken every allegry medicine otc, some homeopathic things, prednisone, antibiotics,  and I supplement with different vitamins along with doing a netti pot on most days. still I have not found any consistent relief. as I write  this post I am going through a flare up with the stuffy ears, and general feeling that my head is full. my worst time is when i wake up the stuffiness, chills and the flow of mucus coming back down the nasal passages really gives me the most problems.  some time i don’t know if i am sick r an allergy flare up.  so i definitely understand why u would think u had the flu r a cold. I know I could not help but I just wanted u to know u r definitely not alone. I am in the US and the constant change of temperture as not helped with matters. 

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    • Posted

      Hi Deemac. Wow 4 1/2 years is a long time sad I'm glad to know I'm not the only one but am sorry to hear this. Do your turbinates swell intermittently rather than constant? Is that why they can only give you a 50/50 success rate? I do notice they can go from ok to bad quickly. I don't know how rhinitis/sinusitis differs but do know mine are caused by allergies and my turbinates have stayed the same more or less since my CT scan in June which is why surgery is a viable option since medication only gives temporary relief. I've suffered with allergies and asthma for years so I'm not hoping for a miracle with surgery, just to feel more like I did beforehand so clearer breathing and less pressure in my sinuses/head. I have a pamphlet labelled 'Septoplasty and turbinate reduction surgery' (which tells me it's probably fairly common). It says the success rate is 9 out of 10. It's scary to think that it may not work. I've actually had 4 surgeries before for other things and had some complications so can't say I'm looking forward to surgery but will try anything at this stage. I haven't heard of balloon surgery. Sorry that it didn't have much success. Did they find out anything while they did it? Yes the headaches are intense at times. It makes sense since the sinuses extend in to the forehead. Blocked ears is a common thing I get too, have since childhood. How are the chiropractic, acupuncture, cupping and taking allergy shots working for you? Your allergens are daily things that can't be avoided sad I'm wondering how much pollen and such plays a role for me compared to animals.

      "still I have not found any consistent relief." Same. I find temporary relief, sometimes I'm not bad for a few weeks and think I'm getting better until I take a bad turn again. It's frustrating. If I do get a virus my existing condition prolongs it. I'm constantly aware of my environment and even wash curtains on a regular basis, use a humidifier, etc. You know I think weather does play a part. We get big fluctuations here too. I moved house late last year and wonder if this played a role in worsening symptoms though we did replace the carpet, repaint, etc so it's tidy but location may play a role. Sucks playing a guessing game, sucks all around and I hope we can find some more permanent relief. Doesn't help that it's an invisible illness which makes it hard for some people to understand.

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  • Posted

    the homeopathic stuff which u can imagine works over time but at this time nothing has worked. both the chiropractor and the accupuncturist both stated that they do get a lot of people coming into their office with sinus issues.  they both told me that both procedures could aid in helping with improving my sinus issues. my sinus issues like ur r also  related to my allergens according to the ENT.  I have tried every thing 2 CT scans  pulling up rugs, dusting,  I keep purifer going all the time in my  bed room. on humid days I have a dehumidifer going all day. like u said some days I am okay thinking things r getting better and then bam her we go again.  rhinitis is the inflammation of the nose and sinusitis is when the sinuses get infected. there r days i want the surgery because of how I am feeling.  for me the jury is still out on turbinate surgery if I had a polyp r a bad deviated septum maybe it would make the decision easier to have the surgery. I have heard that just doing surgery on the turbinates does not mean ur problem will be fixxed. there is no way of knowing how the turbinates will react after surgey. the turbinate along with scar tissue can actually come back larger. the turbinates r also one section of the nose that is linked to the brain. I am not trying to scare u and just listing why I think the ENT could not give  me a better success rate. but this does appear to be the go to surgery for this type of ailments. the war stories r many around me with people on second and third surgeries. yes this is indeed a invisible illiness that everything looks great on the on the outside  but some days inside we r not feeling so well with the  pressue, pain ear fullness, teary eyes etc.  I have also heard this ailment is growing rapidly and that it has  jumped back injuries as a injury that has people missing a number of days of work as I did yesterday. 

    ps I also went to a neurologist to rule out anything worst happening in regards to the headaches that accompany this issue.  after testing me and checking  the CT scan,  he  stated he also thought the headaches were related to my sinsus disease. so I guess in a way that is good news lol

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    • Posted

      I've heard that too, that the rate in which allergies are increasing is alarming. Which explains why the allergist has a 3 month wait. Sounds like we've both tried everything we can. Is your septum deviated at all? Mine is a bit but not badly, looks worse on the scans. I am worried about the surgery as I tend to be a slow healer. A couple years ago I had a surgery, which they did a fantastic job but 5 days in hospital turned in to 20 with a second surgery as my body wasn't absorbing fluid. I've already had a difficult life and I'd really just like to have good health. My anxiety does play a role in making me feel worse. I'm thinking I might get some medication to help with that. Nothing heavy duty because I've tried them before and had horrible withdrawal effects but maybe something like melatonin as my sleep hasn't been good either. Unfortunately it's not available here in Australia and I'd have to order from the US. Do you get much anxiety over it?

      From what I've heard they no longer perform a full removal of the turbinates as it's risky and instead do a reduction. They can come back over time or like you said it may not work. I'm just grateful that atm I can breath through my nose not just through my mouth. At times I get flashbacks of how I watched my Father suffer and die with emphysema, he was 59. I can't even fathom putting up with this as long as you have. Working with this illness mustn't be easy. I left work at the end of last year because I knew I pushed myself too hard. During my time working with cats I was diagnosed with asthma. I thought my symptoms would've improved but instead it seems I did myself damage that might take a while to come good. The fact I have 3 cats of my own isn't helping but they are the source of my happiness. So I'm allergic to the one thing that makes my smile and laugh every day. Life's a b***h at times. 

      I'm not sure if that's good news or not, because there's not a lot you can do about it rolleyes. At times I do wonder if there's some deeper issue going on. At times I've thought I'd even be relieved to find out I have cancer or something because at least then there's a solid reason with solid treatment and I've even thought death is better than living a life of suffering. Sorry to get all morbid but I'm sure it's something that anyone with chronic illness has thought about. I've found basic pain meds like paracetomol and ibuprofen haven't done much to help with the headaches. I'm trying magnesium to help with the stiff neck which I think is contributing to the headaches. 

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    • Posted

      the ENTs stated that the deviated septum is very small nothing that would cause any blockage. I do get that anxious  feeling sometimes  more so  back when I did not know what was going on.  it made me feel like I was going nuts.  especially because i was never an anxious person. now that I know it is coming from inside the nose i relax and i try to remind myself of that. I am told by doctors  that chilly anxious feeling is the body reacting to the allergens r the infection. kind of like when u get the flu it just that this is chronic.  i actually feel it more on cold days. what i do get is that i don’t know how i am going to feel from day to day  feeling. so  when i get invited to an event my first thought that comes to my mind is how am i going to feel that day which is very frustrating.  i also feel i feel i suffer more on hot humid/ rainy and very cold days. on the point of traveling  I did notice when I traveled to costa rica that although I was not cured there was definitely a differences. especially upon waking up I did not have that heavy head feeling. although I had to use the neti pot the was a cosiderable change in the way that I felt. unfortunaley I can not live in costa rica permanentally. 😊

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    • Posted

      Yeah I should try to relax more. Same, I worry when I'm invited to things about how I'll feel on the day. Helped by the fact I always have a runny nose which is embarrassing. That is one thing nasonex helps with though it's not without it's side effects. I wonder how much the steroid sprays contribute to headaches or if that just comes down to congestion? Yup it's not feasible for most people to just up and move interstate or country. I went overseas a couple years ago and all though I had the flu (common thing for me) my sinuses were pretty good, hardly got a runny nose at all. When I came home I still had it but my symptoms were 10x worse. Thank you for your support and hope you're feeling better than a few days ago.

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    • Posted

      it is not always easy to relax so I completely understand where u r coming from, it is especially  hard when I am cold from the weather. like a walking chill 😊

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  • Posted

    I had very similar symptoms as you, blocked nose, swollen turbinates. I tried pretty much everything, most nasal sprays, I did have turbinectomy!!!! and it did NOT help! I suffered two years with blocked nose, was horrible. My ENT told me I had allergies to dust mites, and the hot humid weather makes them thrive. He told me the surgery and nasal sprays will fix it. Well, it didn't.  am also allergic to cats, so I don't go near them.

    Anyway, it took me 2 years to figure out the the cause of my horrible sinus congestion was nothing to do with dust mites - though I am allergic to them, but simply to do with humidity. 

    So I started to travel, get away from that place - at first for a short time, and I soon noticed some difference, Then I stayed away for 2 month, went to a very different area (Australia), and it made a quite a difference. 

    Went back to that humid hot place, as soon as I left the airport, my sinuses got swollen again. So obviously it was that place which caused me this agony, so I decided to pack up and move.

    I moved 3 years ago, and I can say it is 90% better! I still have some bad days or rather nights when the weather changes, high humidity. But once in a while it's ok, decongestant drop for a day or two won;t cause rebound effect.

    I am not using any nasal spray, any antihistamine tablets, nothing. And I'm fine. I can never ever go back to that place again, but I am ok with that.

    Now back to your symptoms, you have to get rid first of your cold. Use natural remedies, and get rid of it. If you still experiencing sinus problems, that means you could have some allergies or might have a deviated septum. A simple CT will clearly show if you have. Also polyps might be a cause but I suppose your ENT would have told you if you had anything like that. 

    I'm warning you surgery might not help, and it's not without risk either. Turbinectomy might result in empty nose syndrome.

    So what I suggest, since you mentioned that you tried quite a few stuff, sprays, and antihistamines, do what I did. Change your location, stay away from animals, and then you can rule out what might be causing you this horrible sinus congestion. 

    Meantime if you have a really bad day / night try pseudoeffedrine tablets. It's not for long term user either, but u won't get that rebound effect after a few days, like you have from the decongestants. Pseudoeffedrine might not be good for night time, it can speed up your heart and might not be able to sleep. Or try with a small dose.

    You can read in details about my sinus horror story on my previous posts.

    Hope it helps

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    • Posted

      Hi  care4health. Did you have a full removal of the turbinates or a reduction? I've heard they no longer do full removals due to the risks like empty nose syndrome so I'll be having a reduction which like you said, may not work and they can come back. When I started nasal sprays it did fix it for about 6 weeks. Now I feel the sprays are preventing them completely swelling like before (thank goodness) but my nose is still like a blocked straw so to speak. I've had 4 surgeries before for other things and twice had difficulty in the healing process/slow healer so I am scared by it but it still seems feasible in my circumstance which is swollen turbinates due to allergies with a deviated septum. I had a CT scan in June which confirmed this and again this month and they've stayed about the same. Good news is the rest of my sinuses look normal.

      Where did you go in Australia? I'm in South Australia. It's suppose to be quite a dry state compared to Queensland for example. Good on you for moving and I'm glad it helped. That's interesting. It's not an option for me atm but I'd be interested to know if taking a holiday somewhere would make a difference. This cold is lingering. I'm having lots of fruit, veg & herbal tea like usual. Picked up magnesium for the stiff neck. My SO has gotten over it, ironically since he doesn't take care of himself and I try really hard lol. Isn't pseudoeffedrine a stimulant as well as a decongestant? I'm already having issues falling asleep XD. In fact I'm thinking a relaxant like melatonin might help relieve my anxiety around these issues.

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    • Posted

      Just checked out your posts. I'm glad you're a lot better now. You make some good points like "I also read that it could be a nerve damage in the nose, and that the blood vessels loose the ability to constrict. I think doctors looking that problem from the wrong way. Trying to reduce the inflamation in the nose without knowing what causing it.". It seems there's not enough medical research in this field or allergies are kicking out butts with medications not being sufficient. I also worry about overdoing medications as the body can adapt. Occasionally when I feel not bad I try to take a break from things for a week or at least rotate brands every 2-3 months. My skin and hair made a miraculous turn around when I stopped steroid sprays for a week. What did you ENT mean by there's nothing wrong but it's the physiology of your nose... Sheesh. 

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    • Posted

      I had a partial turbinate reduction. according to my hospital record - which I checked after the surgery - toll less than 20 min! I wonder how is it possible to do both sides under 20 min. Anyway while what you say it's ture that they not doing full removal anymore, the danger of ENS is still there, but very rare. However, it's still a risk. 

      What my ENT meant by "there's nothing wrong with my nose and it's only the physiology" I wonder too. I think he probably meant there's no physical problem, like deviated septum or polyp. 

      I used to live up in Cairns, and my allergy struck me a few years later after we moved there. 

      I spent some time in Europe, and in Tassie 2 month. And now I am SE BNE. Last few days were quite hot and humid too, I had to use the decongestant one night. Never using it more than 3 day max in a row, and only 1 tiny drop at night. 

      Pseudoeffedrin for me is something which in my drawer just in case. If I needed something for longer time, I could sway the decongestant for the tablets. Haven't needed so far since we moved, but good to keep it just in case. You can use it for a few weeks I'm pretty sure, even for a few month. But of course any alternative would be better.

      4 surgeries, that's a lot!!!!! 

      A few years ago, after my surgery which didn't help, I went to SYD and seen a specialist who told me I should benefit from inferior turbinate reduction + further middle turbinate reduction + deviated septum correction. I don't even know what the cost would have been, but I opted out from it. I'm glad I did. 

      I've seen another one in BNE, I though about Nasal Turbinate Cautery, it's a procedure they burn the turbinates, not chopping it, but I heard it's very painful procedures, and still a big ? if it helps at all. I opted out from that one as well.

      I now only have one side congestion but only at night, the lower side gets congested. That's the physiology thing, I don't know.

      Have you tried different diet? People say that eliminating all dairy might help. 

      I sent you a p.m.

       

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    • Posted

      Gee that's not much time at all. How was your recovery? I'm glad to have gotten not a cure but much relief with the steroid sprays. I wonder though is it really safe to use them on a long term basis? What if the sinuses adjust and it becomes difficult to come off of them or they become ineffective. The fact it's visibly breaking blood vessels/capillaries isn't good. Anyhows I'm just glad to be able to breath through my nose atm. Did you ever try taking a break from meds for a while and see if your body went back to normal-ish?

      Or maybe it's a term for he doesn't know what's wrong. I got that from my GP in October. They know if you wait a while you'll probably feel a bit better but that doesn't explain why I'm getting reoccurrences. Have you ever had full bloods done to check for deficiencies etc? You're finding being in QLD works well for you? Wouldn't think that the hot humid weather would help.

      Yeah going on my 5th surgery for age 28 isn't good. Oh well, genetics isn't something I can do anything about. Good on your for making those decisions. Sounds like it was the right one. I still have a long wait for my surgery so I'll see how I go in the mean time.

      Well I rarely ever eat junk food or deep fried food. Do love my yoghurt but otherwise don't have much dairy. I've also heard dairy makes congestion worse. Probably don't eat enough meat. Did have my iron tested and it came back slightly low. Have had a B12 shots for deficiency in the past. I do take multivitamins but find too much Vit C makes me restless. Trying my bestest smile Did you try diet changes? 

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