Non-Allergic Rhinitis

Non-Allergic Rhinitis - Overview

Non-allergic rhinitis is a common condition that causes persistent nasal congestion, nasal discharge and sneezing. It is not caused by allergens such as dust, pollens or pet dander, which are some of the common elements seen in the case of allergic rhinitis. This condition is more common in adults than in children and its symptoms are usually worse in winter and spring.

Non-allergic rhinitis can be due to a number of causes. Some cases have no identifiable cause at all. In other instances, the condition may be triggered by environmental irritants, certain medications, hormones, or medical conditions. This type of rhinitis is sometimes referred to as non-infectious rhinitis in order to differentiate it from the rhinitis caused by bacteria and viruses.

Symptoms of Non-Allergic Rhinitis

People with non-allergic rhinitis typically experience many of the same symptoms as those with allergic rhinitis, including:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Post-nasal drainage (mucus draining down the back of the throat)
  • Itchy nose, eyes, and throat
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Coughing

However, non-allergic rhinitis caused by environmental factors, medications, hormones, and medical conditions may cause additional symptoms such as facial pain, a fullness in the ears, a bad smell or taste in the nose, a sensitivity to odors, and spasms of the nasal muscles.

Diagnosing Non-Allergic Rhinitis

Your doctor will need to conduct a physical examination and review your medical history in order to accurately diagnose non-allergic rhinitis. In some cases, allergy testing may be necessary to rule out other causes. It is important to identify any environmental irritants or triggers that may be causing or exacerbating your symptoms in order to ensure that you receive the most effective treatment.

Treating Non-Allergic Rhinitis

The goal of treatment for non-allergic rhinitis is to reduce the frequency and severity of your symptoms. Treatments can include avoiding known triggers, using medications, and undergoing specific treatments such as immunotherapy. Some of the possible treatments include:

  • Nasal corticosteroid sprays
  • Oral and nasal antihistamines
  • Decongestants (oral and nasal)
  • Leukotriene receptor antagonists
  • Saline nasal irrigation
  • Allergy shots or sublingual immunotherapy
  • Oral or injectable decongestants

Lifestyle changes, such as avoiding known triggers, limiting exposure to irritants such as tobacco smoke, and using a humidifier or air purifier in the home, can also be helpful in relieving the symptoms of non-allergic rhinitis.