Back in 1999, I had septoplasty to straighten the inside of my nose. My doctor told me it would help me prevent my frequent sinus infections. (It didn't.) For the first time, I could breathe through both sides of my nose at once, but at the cost of constant nosebleeds. The septum (the cartilage inside the center of the nose) didn't heal until a few weeks ago.
Last May--seven months ago--I started taking megadoses of zinc. The nosebleeds mostly stopped. Then a few weeks ago after reading an abstract(1) on iron interfering with zinc absorption, I began taking iron at night and zinc in the morning. (According to the article, the interference applies only to non-food sources of the minerals. Go ahead and have your surf and turf without worry.)
An aside: since taking my iron and zinc at different times, I've been able to cut down on the magnesium. I went from 750 mg to 500 mg per day.
Over the past year, I've taken some other steps to improve my vitamin and mineral absorption: I eat very little grain (it's full of antinutrients), I soak and roast nuts and pumpkin seeds before eating them to neutralize their antinutrients, I stopped taking acid blockers (made possible through a low-carb diet), and I eat a good deal of fat with every meal. I don't drink coffee or tea within a few hours of taking an iron pill. I didn't do all these things to end my nosebleeds--but that's been one of the benefits. (I'm planning a post on all the health improvements I've seen on Christmas day, this blog's one-year anniversary.)
At long last, I've healed. The nosebleeds have all but stopped, even though this has been one of the driest winters I can remember.
What I Should have Done Instead of Septoplasty
- I should have stopped eating wheat, and really, any other grains. I find wheat very congesting. The congestion gives germs a place to get a foothold and cause an infection.
- I should have left the engineering field years sooner than I did. How can something that's so unstable be so dull? I work for an old, conservative, stable CPA firm now. Compared to the engineering field, it's like Animal House. I had constant sinus infections in college and for five years afterward bouncing around the job market. (However, I spent the first year out of college working on a loading dock where the air was so dirty my snot was gray. No sinus infections, though.) I left the field ten years ago and haven't had a sinus infection since.
Thinking about Having a Nose Job (Rhinoplasty)?
Unless you're knocking things over with your nose, or you're planning to trade on your good looks, don't. If you think it'll improve your chances of finding a mate, have you seen some of the married uggos out there? If my experience is any indication, plastic surgery is real surgery with real risks, blood, temporary splints sewn into your nose, drainage, vomiting, and a number of days of mouth-breathing and precious vacation days spent recovering. Fix everything else about your looks before thinking about surgery--you might change your mind.
What Not do Do
Don't take Flonase (an inhaled steroid). It doesn't help much, may make you worse, and increases your risk for diabetes.
(1) "Studies on the bioavailability of zinc in humans: effects of heme and nonheme iron on the absorption of zinc" by NW Solomons and RA Jacob. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 1981 vol. 34 no. 4 475-482.