Thursday, January 10, 2013

I'm New to the Neti Pot

Although I managed to escape the funk from getting into my ears or my chest, I didn't escape congestion. This ailment was probably fed by the fact that I'm pregnant and have a higher production of mucus that usual due to heightened estrogen (and other hormones) levels. Yippee.  Luckily, I had a scheduled visit with my fantastic midwife and I was able to tell her all about the germs in my house and the steps I had taken to fight them off.

A Quick Recap

I tried to do all I could, especially when I wasn't at home with my medicine cabinet, to stave off any infections or horrible viruses from zapping me and Baby Boy.
  • Emergen-C: 1,000 mg , 2x a day since the onset of the girls' and Drew's symptoms.
  • Kombucha: One bottle twice a day -  I increased this by adding the second bottle.
  • Zinc: I was taking a zinc supplement but it seemed to create some nausea so I stopped after two days.
  • Elderberry syrup: 2 tsp, 2x a day.
  • Pregnancy Tea: All kinds of goodness, including nettle and peppermint. (You can get some from Totem Herbal.)
  • Regular, daily multi-vitamins: We use doTerra.
  • Good, real food.
  • Resting and staying off my feet when I could.

My Midwife's Suggestion

I mentioned the concern that I had over the change in color I was experiencing in my nasal discharge, shall we say. I told her all I had been doing to fight off the funk and my overall healthy status other than my congestion. I asked for any additional tips she had and she suggested a Neti Pot.

The Neti Pot

Image by epidenver via Compfight.

A Neti Pot is a little, ceramic pot that looks like a tea pot that has been stretched. It is used to irrigate the sinuses and clear them of any congestion and debris. You use it by mixing up a solution of salt and warm water and pour the solution up one nostril into the sinuses and out the other side. Gently blowing can rid any additional clumps that were loosened. Then the process is repeated on the other side. 

This process is very different than a saline spray that is sometimes used when experiencing congestion. A saline spray is good for moisturizing nasal passage when they are congested and temporarily relieving symptoms. However, they do nothing to remove the mucus or blockages that are present in the sinuses. 

Neti Pots can be used therapeutically. Regular use will remove mucus and prevent bacteria from growing and causing infections. It's use is also helpful in preventing ear infections. Clearing out blockages in the sinuses prevents anything from backing up into the ears and breeding bacteria. Much like hand washing to get rid of germs and prevent the flu, Neti Pots wash the germs out of your sinuses and prevent the funk.

I've Never Done This Before

I've never been a fan of anything going in my nose. That's a serious understatement.  I'd fight my mom about nasal and saline sprays as a child to the point I'd make myself sick. Yet, here I was as an adult, purchasing a device to pour a salt and water solution through both sides of my nose.

I read websites and the instructions- several times. I climbed into the warm tub and filled the Neti Pot. I added my salt and mixed it. Then I stared at the pot for a few minutes. Here I was a 32 year old mother of 2.6, but I was afraid of the Neti Pot sitting on the side of the tub. I took a deep breath, placed the spot in my nostril, got a good fit, and tipped my head down and to the side.

What Happened?

At first, nothing- I wasn't tipping my head down enough so nothing was happening. I relaxed my face and tipped my head a little further down the left. The warm salt water started running up my nose and into my sinuses. It felt similar to getting water in your nose but not nearly as painful because it was flowing through, not being inhaled. It wasn't nearly as horrible as I thought it would be.

I felt things in my head loosening. Some water/discharge mixture did flow/fall into my mouth and I'd spit that out. After using half the solution, I switched and cleaned the other side. The process was a lot easier now that I knew what to do. I emptied the pot, bent over, and gently blew through my nose to get everything out that was loosed but not removed. 

When it was all over, I felt like my head was 20 pounds lighter.  My ears, which had felt stuffy for the last two days, seemed to be loosening. Over the next hour or so I would get the sensation that my nose was running, so I'd blow it and get a lot more grossness out that I anticipated. My cough from drainage stopped. I had no problems breathing clearly and that distant sick taste in the back of my throat disappeared.

Moving Forward

I plan to use the Neti Pot daily for the next two weeks to be sure that I have washed out all possible bacteria from my sinuses and allowed my ears to drain completely. I will then use the Neti Pot every 2-3 days as a preventative measure to keep things clear and germ/bacteria free. I've also done a little bit of research on naturally treating sinus infections and will be getting some garlic supplements to start taking. I will be staying on those through the end of the pregnancy in order to prevent the development of Group B Strep, which we'll discuss soon.

Have you ever treated your sinus congestion or infection naturally? What did you find most helpful?

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