Are There Good Bacteria for your Sinuses?
Microflora is the term we use for the tiny organisms that live in our bodies. Think gut bacteria, tiny skin crawlers, anti-inflammatory fungi. It’s no secret that our bodies play host to millions of these creatures on a daily basis, but less well understood is what function, if any, these little passengers might serve.
Now a new study has come out that sheds some light on an area of interest to otolaryngologists like me: researchers have discovered that a bacterial imbalance may be at least partly to blame for persistent sinusitis. They found that competing populations of different bacterial species can tip the balance one way or the other in our sinuses toward health or illness—that there are, in other words, good bacteria and bad bacteria. Here’s NBC:
The findings add to a growing body of research showing that the bacterial community in the human body as a whole, and not the presence of a single harmful species, is responsible for the development of certain diseases, the researchers said.
The research is an interesting wrinkle in the battle against chronic sinus infections, and a good reminder that wiping out entire bacterial colonies wholesale may be far less effective than targeting specific strains with a more accurate approach.