Blowing Bubbles

Just home from Nottingham following another trip to see the surgeon. The outcome wasn’t quite what I’d expected but if it results in the avoidance of further surgery, I welcome it with open arms…

Those of you who follow this blog will remember that I underwent a graft procedure last year having developed post-operative complications following previous surgery on my head. The graft healed well but the donor site for the graft (upper part of nasal septum) has failed to heal and despite regular medical supervision over the past year, using conventional treatment options, I’m still in trouble. Hence I was referred back to the specialist unit in Nottingham for further assessment.

The surgeon had a good look around the inside of my head yesterday using a flexible endoscope and local anaesthetic. Once nasal debridement had been achieved on the affected side, pictures were taken for comparison with previous records. I was then shown the recording with a step-by-step commentary from the surgeon, outlining the nature of the problem.

While my underlying connective tissue disorder (EDS) is a contributory factor, the surgeon suspects that resistant bacteria are the main cause of my failure to heal. Apparently, with a long history of chronic sinus infection, surgery, MRSA, osteomyelitis and long-term antibiotic use, I’m a prime candidate for bacterial biofilm formation… huh?

In other words… the mucosal lining of my head is banjaxed and I can’t shift thickened mucus (snot!) without some extra help. The solution to this problem… wait for it… is to use baby shampoo to rinse out my head!

I thought the surgeon was having me on but no, he was absolutely serious. Baby shampoo when used in nasal irrigations, has been shown to serve as an antimicrobial agent and works to affect mucus properties and promote secretion clearance. I bet you never thought you’d hear that about a baby product!

I’ve been prescribed a 6-week course of twice daily sinus rinse-outs using a well-known baby shampoo at 1% dilution in a commercial saline solution, as an adjuvant therapy to a combination of other conventional medications.

And so… if you see me frothing at the mouth, with bubbles emanating from my nose and ears… you know why!


17 Responses to Blowing Bubbles

  1. BendyGirl says:

    Hi Steph! Great to see your blog inmy reader, but sorry to hear your head’s still not healed up. Hope the baby shampoo washout isn’t too unpleasant, I’d heard of it being used for a type of eye infection but never noses! BG Xx

    • Steph says:

      Hi Bendy

      Lovely to hear from you again.

      The surgeon gave me two treatment options…

      1) another graft procedure only this time the tissue would be taken from inside my cheek.

      2) a 6-week trial of a daily treatment combination of… sinus rinses using shampoo (in saline), applying an antibiotic ointment into each nostil and also going back to using the famous ‘bung’ to occlude air from entering my left nostril.

      The surgical option will only be considered if the 6-week trial fails to get the septum to heal and more importantly, to stay healed.

  2. Annb says:

    What I want to know is who looked at a bottle of baby shampoo one day and thought ‘this’ll do nicely for a spot of nasal irrigation and I’ll wager it works a treat as an antimicrobial what’s it as well’ – God bless ’em whoever it was. Happy bubbles to you!

    • Steph says:

      Annb

      The surgeon knows that I’ve an interest in medical research and so gave me a copy of the research abstract to take home and study as it details the efficacy of using a 1% shampoo nasal irrigation.

      The research study was carried out in Philadelphia and one of the authors of it is coming to Notts shortly to give a presentation on the management of difficult sinus cases. My surgeon plans to use this opportunity to discuss my case with doctors who are leading the way in this field of medicine. Fingers crossed they come up with more non-surgical options!

  3. Achelois says:

    I agree with above comment entirely! I mean do they specify a particular brand or will any old baby shampoo do. I am allergic to anything Johnson’s. Do they suggest you do a test patch for allergy because shoving something up your nose without one is something I wouldn’t recommend. It frankly wouldn’t suprise me if the next thing they suggest is sticking a leech up there.

    Jokes aside if this unusual application works then I wish with all my heart that it does. I remember a pharmacist saying to me years ago that staying hydrated is really important when mucoused up as it helps to break down the snot basically. She also said to avoid milk because that makes it worse but I think thats all well known already.

    I wonder if there is a magical chinese remedy I wish there was.

    I also have a burning question. How did they find out this works?
    Please keep us posted about and I will keep my bendy fingers crossed and that as you know is the easy part!

    • Steph says:

      Achelois

      See answer above to Annb – I have the research methods used.

      They figured that if baby shampoo is sold as safe for eyes i.e. branded ‘no tears’, then it was bound to be safe for the nose. The 1% solution was found to be the most effective at ridding the sinuses of biofilm. They first used in vitro testing to determine the optimal concentration of baby shampoo and then did clinical trials using patients who continued to have chronic sinus infections despite adequate sinus surgery. One patient in the study discontinued using the shampoo/saline solution because of nasal burning and discomfort and a second patient had a rash that resolved with the discontinuation of the irrigation but generally the shampoo solution was well tolerated.

      Baby shampoo is a type of “detergent” that disrupts the walls that bacteria erect called biofilm. In biofilm, certain bacteria get together and erect enclosures around themselves. Think of this as a cellophane cover. With biofilm, the bacteria are protected from the defender white cells of your body. This wall also defends the bacteria from antibiotics. The shell is sticky which makes it difficult to remove. Just as the baby shampoo lifts sticky stuff from the scalp, it does this for biofilm in the nose/sinuses.

      Another bonus of this method of treatment is the fact that baby shampoo is an inexpensive and readily available solution which can be used as an adjuvant therapy to conventional medications.

  4. Lily says:

    Reminds me of the song 🙂

    I’m forever blowing bubbles,
    Pretty bubbles in the air.
    They fly so high,
    Nearly reach the sky …

    • Steph says:

      Lily – 😀

      I hope it won’t be forever but if it succeeds in preventing my sinuses from becoming recurrently infected, then it may well become a regular treatment option. I’m a huge believer in preventative medicine.

  5. magnumlady says:

    Hi Steph, Good to hear from you again. Well I guess it could be worse and at least it smells nice. x

    • Steph says:

      magnumlday – Nice to hear from you again too. I sometimes lurk quietly on your blog as I’m a big fan of your camera eye and I love hearing about everyday life in Sligo.

      I’m well-used to doing regular sinus rinse-outs using a saline solution so it’s no hardship having to add a 1/2 teaspoon of baby shampoo to the mix. So far I’ve not found the addition of shampoo in any way unpleasant and if it works, it’ll be well worth doing.

      I should soon have the cleanest, shiniest and softest nasal hairs going! 😉

  6. Grannymar says:

    Lets have a bubble party! Hope it is working well for you. Chat soon.

    • Steph says:

      Grannymar

      You’re a real party animal these days! I look forward to catching up with you.

      Too soon to say if it’s working as yet. Previous treatments were only prescribed for a 2-week period so I hope that by the end of 6 weeks, I’ll see a lasting result.

  7. Nancy says:

    Hello Steph,

    Now you can go “One up” on Grannymar..What I mean is;you know about her 2,000 gallon tank of vinegar? Well, now you can get yourself a 2,500 gallon tank of Johnson’s No More Tears Shampoo.That will fix her!

    Seriously, I love that your Doctor in Notts is right on top of the latest treatment ideas and is not wasting your time and health on old fashioned stuff from the past.

    You never know what is going to do the trick,so good for you for being open to any and all ideas. I remember years ago when the birth control pill was new and the young girls starting using them, a strange thing happened. Not only did they not get pregnant,their acne cleared up. Seems the hormones in the pill were just the thing for acne.So, then the young boys wanted to clear up their acne ,too so they started to take a reduced form of the “pill” and it worked for them also.

    Hope the baby shampoo is exactly what you need to feel better. Just don’t blow your nose in public,kid,the city might not be ready for the bubble scene yet.

    • Steph says:

      Nancy

      I’m already ‘one up’ on Grannymar – she can’t blow bubbles, the way I can blow bubbles 😉

      Your finger is on the pulse as regards where I’m coming from here…

      The guy I see in Notts is world class and his attention to detail is phenomenal. While my Irish surgeon is top of the pile in his neck of the woods, what goes on in Sherwood Forest is in another league! I like to think that I’ve got the best of both worlds in terms of the meeting of minds.

      Nasal irrigations are already used for a variety of conditions, most notably for the postoperative care of post-surgical patients. Prescription medication use can be decreased as a result.

      Sometimes, it’s the simplest of things that succeeds in bringing about change. I’m willing to try anything as long as it’s inexpensive and safe.

      The alternative option is to continue to take systemic antibiotics which bombard my whole system (particularly the gut) in combination with using steroid nasal sprays/drops. I know which option I prefer.

      I like your analogy of acne and the ‘pill’. Who knows where treating ‘no tears’ will lead to!

      Nancy, you’ll enjoy this…

      the quality of life form used to validate the outcome of baby shampoo nasal irrigations, is called the SNOT-22 test. I love it! 😀

      SNOT stands for the Sino-Nasal Outcome Test which measures 22 items concerning symptoms before and after treatment. Whoever thought that one up… deserves a medal!

  8. […] was busily rinsing out my hair sinuses with shampoo this morning (please don’t ask why) when I heard the doorbell ring. Quickly wiping away any telltale bubbles from my face, I rushed […]

  9. Blaz says:

    Hello Steph,

    it’s been 2 years since you began the 1 % baby shampoo rinse. How did it go? It would be awesome if you report back to us.

  10. jon says:

    the mayo clinic has stated that 92% of the cases they encountered with chronic / reoccuring rhino sinusitis is due to FUNGAL infestation hence antibiotics are useless.

    Its NOT viral or bacteria causing the congestion
    bacteria grows when the fungus is present and the biofilm is created by the build up of catarrh ( almost like vulcanized snot)

    i have suffered from reoccuring sinusits but rarely get head colds as my immune system is very good and i always take lots of great stuff to build my immunity

    im 50 male had a polypectomy 10 years ago and they are growing back slowly. also suffer from anosmia( lack of smell and taste) it comes and goes but doesnt last more than 2 days at a time then months can go by until i can smell and taste again

    now im getting serious to fix this issue/

    antimicrobial antifungals are the key plus vit a, c, d, b12, cocount oil is essential to take for sure, ginger, pau d arco, garlic, saline sprays mixed with j&j?? , (havent tried this yet but about to), drink lots of water daily
    do lymphatic massages (see utube), tannic acid, l lysine, bee propolis, Baccillinum 200 ( highly effective but hard to find and buy)

    the lymph system is the key as well so learn all u can on it, spleen, gallbladder, etc if u suffer from tonsilitis also your lymph system is out of whack

    white blood cells called eosinophilia attack the sinuses increasing the mucous adding to the congestion

    probiotics are essential so take them as required asap especially if u have been on antibiotics as u need them asap

    body ph is also critical

    i can go on and on

    so much to know and do for a congested sinus to combat is nuts

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