ex Neti Pot Devotee
August 29, 2008 12:44 PM   Subscribe

For over seven years I used and loved my Neti Pot. It worked wonders, I wanted to tell everyone about it. Suddenly a few weeks ago, it stopped working for me. How can I breath again. Slightly nasal details inside.

I know you are not my Dr., or probably even a Dr. at all.

I used it once a day during most of the year, twice during allergen season. I use the same sea salt, and a little baking soda, and warm water out of my tap which is well water. I can feel my breathing is constricted, but no icky goo comes out when I use the Neti Pot (like it once did), and the water doesn't even flow well. I don't want to go to my Dr. because he never thought much of using the Neti Pot, and I'm not really sick, I just want the great breathing I had back.

So Neti Pot head MeFi members, help me, you are my only hope.
posted by Classic Diner to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you used it for over 7 years, I can't see how that can be the issue. I don't think you would suddenly develop an "immunity" to its effects.

Have the allergens you've been on changed any? Are you drinking more or less water than you used to? Are you taking any other medication that might cause you to dry out?

I find that during rough allergen times here (Austin) I have to take Zyrtec AND do the neti pot once or twice a day. Neither is enough by themselves.
posted by fiercecupcake at 12:49 PM on August 29, 2008

Oops. 2nd graf should read: Have the allergens you've been around changed any?
posted by fiercecupcake at 12:49 PM on August 29, 2008

Neti pots can help sinus issues for many, but also come with a slight risk of driving sinus infections deeper into your sinuses.

Are you showing any signs of sinus infection?
posted by batmonkey at 12:54 PM on August 29, 2008

It's possible that it's not icky goo that's making it hard for you to breathe, but swollen sinus tissue. I had the same issue the other day with my neti-pot - I couldn't breathe and the water barely flowed through. A couple shots of the steroid nasal spray my doctor prescribed helped immensely, which told me it was actual swelling of the tissue and not stuff blocking the way.

So talking to your doctor may not be all bad. Or you can try a decongestant or antihistamine.
posted by thejanna at 12:55 PM on August 29, 2008

If it is swollen nasal tissue, increasing the amount of salt you use might help. I often use up to double the amount indicated for isotonic solutions. A hypertonic solution can help draw moisture out of the mucous membrane and shouldn't sting. Maybe try going to half again the salt first, see if that makes a difference.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 1:23 PM on August 29, 2008

I agree that it may just be a change in allergens to which your body is reacting differently. I've got awful allergies and terrible sinus problems, so I really hoped the neti pot would add some oomph to my claritin and save my life. Alas, my symptoms are primarily due to swollen nasal and sinus tissues; no goo of any kind has ever come out when I've used it. It's kind of soothing and pleasant but never actually helped very much.

If your previous allergy symptoms were due to secretions and are now due to swelling, I can see why it wouldn't help as much. I'm personally curious about Dipsomaniac's suggestion to use more salt to draw moisture out of the tissues.
posted by mostlymartha at 2:06 PM on August 29, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the ideas. Swollen tissues sounds closer than dire sinus infection. I'll try the double salt, then decongestant/antihistamine and if still no relief in two weeks, a doctor appointment. Thanks.
posted by Classic Diner at 2:33 PM on August 29, 2008

Seconding the double salt, that usually does it for me when my normal routine isn't quite cutting it.
posted by gemmy at 2:52 PM on August 29, 2008

Seconding adding steroid nasal spray to regular neti use. Worked for me.
posted by underwater at 3:56 PM on August 29, 2008

batmonkey, you said that using a Neti pot can create "a slight risk of driving sinus infections deeper into your sinuses." Can you provide more information about that? Links to published studies would be great.
posted by conrad53 at 4:47 PM on August 29, 2008 [2 favorites]

It's just common sense that filling a cavity with water would tend to spread around any germs that are floating about.
posted by gjc at 5:39 PM on August 29, 2008

My information came from research I did a few years ago to see if neti pot use could help my own chronic sinus problems. As I never imagined I'd need that info beyond providing it to my own brain, I'm afraid you'll have to look it up for yourself :)

To be specific, I thought I'd just run a similar search to the one I did lo those many years ago and apparently the little buggers have become so popular that any kind of real studies are buried deeeeeeeep underneath new-age product sites and local paper lifestyle articles.

I can tell you that my physician at the time was one of those nice Western docs who support use of "alternative healing methods" and was overall positive about the neti pot, but did warn me about waiting until the current infection was eliminated due to that same concern.

I'm not sure if you've ever seen a good diagram of our sinus systems and how they operate, but the way it was described & illustrated to me was that the warm water provided a perfect wading pool for the virus to float around on and, water being what it is, find itself in areas of the sinus cavity it would never been able to reach on its own.
posted by batmonkey at 7:10 PM on August 29, 2008

This is a bit of a tangent, but this meta analysis concludes that "there are no significant side-effects reported in trials" and this review, which looks at bacterial sinus infections, claims "there are no documented serious adverse effects."
posted by suncoursing at 10:10 PM on August 29, 2008

Go back to your doctor. The nasal rinse actually has some real research behind it now that it didn't used to. If he still doesn't believe in them, get a new doctor.
posted by chairface at 11:43 PM on August 29, 2008

You might want to take a look at Dr. Gossan's take on nasal irrigation.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 6:11 AM on August 30, 2008

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