Conquering Sinusitis: The best I’ve felt in a long time

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Corin – I recently found out that I may have a dairy allergy due to the symptoms of constant sinusitis and GI problems.  So I decided I'd had enough of the sinus issues and constant headaches and tried going dairy free for 1 month now.  I just can't believe how much better I feel!  It's truley amazing.  My sinuses are clear, I can breathe through my nose and easier in general, my stomach is so much happier, my skin is softer and not itchy, the dark circles under my eyes gone, and my eyes are no longer bloodshot red …

I didn't realize what eating dairy was doing to me- I consumed these products practically every day of my life and slowly, my sinuses and stomach were getting worse and worse.  It's like the frog in the pot of water analolgy- slowly heat the water and it doesn't realize what's harming him.

I accidentally had a piece of cheese a couple weeks ago and I instantly felt ill and those old symptoms returned.  I'm never going back to the pot of boiling water (or milk)!

Now if only a doctor would have told me about this years ago…instead I wasted years on different meds, accupuncture, nasal lavage…and the answer was all right here- going dairy free!

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

30 Comments

  1. I excluded dairy products from my diet three days ago. I’m curious about how long did it took to you for the sinus symptoms to go away?

  2. I found Kyolic Garlic the best for unblocking my sinuses. Truely magic.
    Had to be give up all dairy due to sinuses and constipation problems.
    Much better now. I slipped up recently, feeling good , ate some cream. Straight back to to the drawing board…
    Thank God for Kyolic

  3. I absolutely love dairy. Through years of experimenting with different diets I was able to get rid of hay fever and problems with sinuses.
    For the hay fever 1 month strict dairy free detox was necessary. For the sinuses I switched to raw milk and raw milk cheese if available. It kept me going free of sinus problems for 5 years. This year however I had to change milk supplier (still raw) during lockdown and the sinusitis came back with a vengeance. Never had it so bad in my life and now understand better how bad and crippling this condition can be. Headaches every few days, post nasal drip since April nearly every day and not partially blocked nose most of the time. Since I love dairy so much I kept eating it hoping my body will get use to it. And hot cup of tea with milk it is my favourite treat. I was vegan for a year in the past, and even though it cleared my issues, I was not thriving on the diet. I had severe pressure headache 2 days ago with sore throat so decided to leave the dairy for a week or so. Today, 2 days with no dairy I can breathe through my nose really well, headache is gone. So decided to keep dairy free to see if I can sort this out. And will let you know.

    • Hi Lucy, thank you for sharing your story and I hope that you continue in good health. I’m sure you know this, but a vegan diet is far more restrictive than a dairy-free diet. That might be why you had challenges in thriving before.

  4. My experience: I’m 56 years, dairy consumer all my life. Finally got to where I could never breathe through my nose, eyes swollen, etc. Out of desperation, stopped dairy. First week had huge double eyebags, creases down my face, rash on my face, etc. I would assume detox. Before that week was over though, able to breathe through my nose at night for the first time I can remember in my life.
    I don’t plan to go back to dairy, or maybe occasionally. I thought I would miss it worse than I do, but I guess breathing is more important to me! Dairy is in many products. Cheese is on so many things. I can turn down pizza now too. Good luck!

  5. Hi everyone. I do not have sinus problems but have recommended going dairy free to several people who have had and they are so much better now. I cannot have dairy ( and other things) because I have vertigenous migraine but I can have goats and sheep’s milk products. I recommend Swedish Glace a dairy and gluten free ice cream that is delicious. Once you stop dairy & habitually, read labels it does get easier

  6. I’m trying to go dairy free after years of sinus problems. How long did it take to start noticing the difference? I’ve not had dairy for 5 days and feel awful today, the same dizzy/woozy feeling, pressured headache and nasal drip alongside feeling ‘sinusy’. I’m hoping this will clear soon as I feel as bad today as I do after a few days of a heavy dairy intake.

    • Hi Ceri, I’m not a physician and can’t speak specifically to what you are going through. I have had several readers say that they went through a “detox” when going from heavy dairy intake to dairy-free that had symptoms similar to what you are saying. You might want to join the Deliciously Dairy Free group if you are on Facebook. There are many people there who can share their own stories with you if you post this concern. It might help!

    • I’ve had chronic sinusitis for 30 years, it wrecks my life. They are always inflamed and I feel hot and like crap all of the time. Does that sound familiar? I’m going to try dairy free, but so many things have milk in them.

      • I’ve heard of many people having chronic sinus issues that resolved with dairy-free living, but couldn’t say if it will work for you for sure! Hopefully the resources here will help you.

  7. I am in the same boat- I have discovered a whole number of dairy free cheese sorts and all other related items at a good shop. Not sure about eggs yet. Not necessarily sinus but it does create migraines after a few days of eating it.

  8. Thinking of attempting dairy free to conquer my sinuses! I have chronic sinusitis and have had 2 surgeries already with a 3rd one needed :/ for relief with sinuses, would it just be milk products or would you also suggesting cutting out eggs? Not sure if eggs count as “dairy” for this purpose or not!

  9. What kind of things do you eat that are dairy free? I am a cheese lover and eat it every day, so I know this is going to be very hard. I need some food ideas so I won’t quit on day 1!

  10. I tried going dairy free but didn’t notice any improvement in my sinuses. I am trying again as I cannot live like this ; headaches that feel like my head is exploding , constant nasal congestion and post nasal drip. I’ve also cut out grains. Hope it helps xx

  11. I’m going to try give up dairy again, as my sinus problems cause me to go very red faced, around hot stuffy dusty places..

  12. I went in for testing to see why I was having so many issues with food, everything was hard on me. YEAR later, I found out I have celiac disease. Get tested for autoimmune diseases too. it may be more then just dairy.

  13. My kids 3 year old and 17mnth old suffer sal from sinus. Dr also recommended that whe goed dairy free. Is there alternatives that can be used. For example my kids love yogurt. Would lactose free yogurt be okay or will it still affekteer their sinusses?

  14. My doctor has advised me to go on lactose free products as I get very bloated after eating and have suffered for years from sinusitis and itchy eyes after consuming dairy. I have also over the past two years developed breathlessness and wheezing. Should I use lactose free products or cut all dairy out of my diet?

    • Hi Irene, lactose intolerance is a digestive condition and typically does not correlate to allergy symptoms. I’d guess that your doctor meant dairy as a whole (the protein in dairy is what triggers allergies, not lactose, which is a sugar), but this must be verified with your physician. The above is for informational purposes only and must not be construed as medical advice.

  15. I have been advised to go dairy free also due to having about 5 sinus infections the past year alone. I also have asthma. One doctor said dairy free wouldn’t be worth the hassle but another said that for many people it does really help. On a dairy free diet do I just cut all products from cows milk? I would love if I could still use goats milk products.

    Thanks
    P

    • If you have been advised by your doctor to go dairy-free specifically, then yes, that would include all cows milk products and goats milk products (sheep, etc), most likely. Most who have issues with cow milk also have issues with goat milk, so doctors often advise cutting out both and then introducing goat milk once you are symptom-free or much improved to see if it reproduces reactions. This also means reading labels to ensure that the food does not contain any milk products.

  16. Oh my goodness… This sounds just like me! I am 37 years old and have had chronic sinutities and post nasal drip ALL my life! I’ve had three surgeries, been on a number of antibiotics due to sinus infections, have tried every nasal spray under the sun, I use nasal washes, I have tried acupuncture, gluten free, you name it I’ve tried it. The one thing I had not tried was dairy free. I have been dairy free for about a week. I feel much better! My head/mind is more clear. I can breath better. I still have some post nasal but hopefully in time that will improve. I do miss icecream and cheese on my burgers but I don’t want to go back to feeling like crap so I’m done with dairy!

    • Hi Carol – that sounds like amazing success! I hope that it keeps up for you. And don’t worry, it’s only been one week, dairy-free gets much easier and many if not all cravings subside. There are so many good options out there now, too!

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