What is a Sinus Irrigator?

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KN
A sinus irrigator is used to clean the sinus passages, shown near the top in this image.
A sinus irrigator is used to clean the sinus passages, shown near the top in this image.

Microscopic hairs in the mucous membranes along the nasal passages, called cilia, act as the body's natural defense against germs and pollutants. When the effectiveness of the cilia breaks down, the body becomes prone to upper respiratory and sinus infections and allergic reactions. A sinus irrigator is a tool that promotes healthy function of the cilia, thus reducing the frequency of infection or allergic symptoms.

Saline solution is used to irrigate the sinuses.
Saline solution is used to irrigate the sinuses.

A sinus irrigator forces fluid, usually a saline solution, into the nasal passages. By using a sinus irrigator, germs are flushed away without the use of drugs. While antibiotic prescriptions only treat the symptoms of disease, a sinus irrigator aids the body for the long-term by fending off infection in a more natural way.

Most sinus irrigators are designed to be used with a pressurized dental hygiene system. The tip is attached to the end of the wand of the dental irrigation system; next, salt and warm water, or a premixed saline solution is added to the reservoir. When you are ready to use the device, you stand over the bathroom sink and insert the tip into one nostril. Once the system is turned on, the fluid will be forced up the nostril, into one nasal chamber and out the other. After a few minutes, you can switch sides. The process should be continued until the saline solution runs clear. A sinus irrigator is particularly effective when mucous is especially thick, such as when you have a cold.

Nasal sprays can irritate the lining of the nose.
Nasal sprays can irritate the lining of the nose.

A sinus irrigator is more effective than simply using saline drops or nasal sprays because it is the actual pulsing motion that brings the cilia back to normal function, and nasal sprays can contain chemicals that can irritate the lining of the nose. Daily use of a sinus irrigator is called for while you have a cold or infection, but you should refrain from overusing one. If you are feeling ill and continue to experience thick mucous and have other symptoms of a serious infection, such as fever, consult your physician.

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Discussion Comments

anon57143

The customer service at Health Solutions makers of the SinuPulse was great. Very helpful and knowledgeable. They really helped me get the best results out of my SinuPulse. I highly recommend it.

mwroten23

I have been using pulsating irrigation for a few years first with my water pik and recently I traded up to a SinuPulse and love it. Easy to use and trouble free it is very quick only takes about a minute to empty the water tank. Great for post-nasal drip. Recommend it highly. Nice to see others comment as well.

marni

I have used the Sinupulse for over a year with terrific results. It is not a cheap investment though. My allergy and sinus problems for the first time in many years are under control. I have not had a single sinus infection since using it.

healthyMom

I used an attachment for the water pik for years and loved it. When it broke I bought a grossan hydropulse irrigator, but it broke after only a few months.

When I called the company that makes it I got nothing but voice mail for weeks and when I finally spoke to someone they were extremely rude and put me through the third degree and would not even replace it. I went to the time and trouble of returning it at my own expense and they suggested I did something wrong. They did offer to sell me a replacement at a discount.

The product idea may be good, but their customer service and product quality stinks. I am back to using my Water Pik. If it breaks I'll consider upgrading to the Sinupulse.

sandi

Love my SinuPulse Elite a terrific drug free method for sinus problems. I recommend anyone that suffers with allergy and sinus problems use some form of nasal irrigation. You can get a neti pot or nasal wash bottle for under $20.00. If you can afford it go with a SinuPulse it really is the Cadillac and much more effective. A water pik with a nasal attachment works in a pinch too!

sneil33

Neti pots just have not helped me at all and they are clumsy to use. I don't see all they hype. The Grossan and Sinupulse pulsating units have interested me thanks for the comments.

tomas02

I have used a neti pot but it was not very effective and it was so messy. I have since been using the SinuPulse Elite which I saw on TV being discussed by a professional NBA athletic trainer and it is so quick and easy to use and works!

I recommend it to anyone with sinus or allergy problems

anon7409

Great article - I have used a couple of products Neti Pots and squeeze bottles which are messy and not very effective but recently read about an amazing new product the SinuPulse on Dr. Ivkers news letter and his book Sinus Survival. It is amazing. It has two spray modes and has helped me breathe better than ever before and cleared up an annoying case of post nasal drip.

Recommend it highly!

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    • A sinus irrigator is used to clean the sinus passages, shown near the top in this image.
      By: pixelcaos
      A sinus irrigator is used to clean the sinus passages, shown near the top in this image.
    • Saline solution is used to irrigate the sinuses.
      By: chickenstock
      Saline solution is used to irrigate the sinuses.
    • Nasal sprays can irritate the lining of the nose.
      By: Deyan Georgiev
      Nasal sprays can irritate the lining of the nose.