I recently posted about Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting’s sinus surgery, and how the Big Bang Theory actress says it changed her life. What hasn’t been discussed until now is precisely what her symptoms were, and whether any particular disease or disorder may have been to blame.
Now the actress has begun speaking out, claiming that her own over-reliance on nasal spray led to lasting damage of her sinuses. A number of responses have emerged from ENTs nationwide; here’s one that is more reasonable than many:
“Over-the-counter decongestant sprays can cause rebound effects,” explains the allergy and immunology doctor, “which make you feel like you need to keep using them over and over.”
The actress’s reason for needing surgery also makes sense, says Dr. Ishmael, since these types of medicines can cause tissue damage if used too often or for too long.
This is not a controversial opinion. Many medications create rebound effects; this phenomenon is what causes withdrawal after prolonged exposure to depressive drugs such as alcohol or heroin. The mechanism that makes this process run in the sinuses is inflammation; the spray reduces it, but the body responds with additional inflammation once it is taken away. Thus begins a vicious cycle which drives people to spray even more often. And that’s where the problem arises:
Overuse of decongestant sprays can cause blood vessels to narrow so much that blood supply to parts of the nose become cut off, causing tissue to die, Dr. Ishmael says. This can leave you vulnerable to infections, sinus pain, and persistent inflammation and congestion.
The best advice for chronic sinusitis sufferers is to forgo the spray after a few days and seek more permanent solutions, including septoplasty or balloon sinus surgery. To learn more about your options, contact your Los Angeles sinus surgeons here today.