Different Sinus Irrigation Methods
There are many methods available for sinus irrigation. Let’s go over a few that are commonly used.
Doctors are not always informed about all of the available sinus irrigation methods, so do some of your own homework, present your findings to your Doctor and get his opinion.
The most common form of sinus irrigation that is prescribed by Doctors is the use of a bulb syringe. This method is the worst method available. The bulb syringe is not a positive flow device, meaning, the device can both expel water from the bulb and suck in mucus from the sinus. It is impossible not to get the interior of the bulb contaminated with bacteria. The bulb is difficult to keep clean and dry. The bulb syringe water flow is regulated by how hard or how gentle you squeeze, there is no mechanical regulation. The volume of water that a bulb syringe can handle is minimal at best. I do not recommend the use of any type of bulb syringe for sinus irrigation.
“Doctors are not always informed about all of the available sinus irrigation methods, so do some of your own homework, present your findings to your Doctor and get his opinion.”
The oldest method of sinus irrigation is the neti pot. The original neti pots were made of ceramic and looked like a tea pot with an elongated spout. The warm irrigation solution would be added to the pot then the user would lean over a sink, press the spout against one nostril and tip the pot.

The irrigation solution would enter one nostril and exit the other. This method does not work well if the sinuses are blocked. The neti pot is not a positive flow device, meaning, this device pours water from the spout, but can get mucus back into the spout when the user tips the pot back. The spout of the neti pot is difficult to clean and can become contaminated. I do not recommend the neti pot for sinus irrigation.

The squeeze bottle method for sinus irrigation is good for quick temporary relief. Many manufactures sell a squeeze bottle with a positive flow nasal tip. This method is good for someone looking for a portable device to take to work where they are seeking temporary relief from sinus issues and they have no immediate place to setup an electric sinus irrigation pump.

As mentioned, most of the squeeze bottle instruments, are a positive flow device, therefore, they do not allow mucus to be drawn back into the bottle. Please check each manufacturer to make sure that their device is a positive flow device. The down sides to the squeeze bottle are the large hard nasal tips, the lack of a controlled flow rate, and the lack of volume within the bottle for saline.

The final method of sinus irrigation is the electro-mechanical pump. This method is the ultimate for sinus irrigation.

There are various types of pumps, but they typically fall into one of two categories. The steady flow pump and the pulsating pump.

Research has shown that the pulsating pump is far more effective than the steady flow pump.

These pumps come equipped with a wand that is attached to the pump with a small diameter hose.

The pump wand typically accepts various style sinus irrigation instruments, including Ethicare instruments. See our post on “What is the best sinus irrigation pump on the market?”.

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