What is Nonallergic Rhinitis?
Nonallergic rhinitis is a condition in which inflammation occurs within the nose, causing symptoms of sneezing, coughing and a runny or blocked up nose. As the name suggests, it is not caused by an allergy.
• Stuffy nose
• Runny nose
• Excess mucus in the throat
• Nasal discomfort
• Reduced sense of smell
In rare cases in which nonallergic rhinitis is severe or untreated, the sufferer may experience sinusitis, nasal polyps, or a middle ear infection.
• Viral infections that affect the lining of the throat and nose, such as colds
• Local irritation by dust or other environmental pollutants
• HRT treatment during menopause
• Medications such as the oral contraceptive pill
• Hormonal upheaval (Pregnancy, menopause, puberty)
• Exposure to extreme temperatures or humidity
• Intrinsic – ie. having an inherited tendency or predisposition
Nonallergic rhinitis is diagnosed after assessment of your symptoms and the ruling out of allergies. This will be done by asking questions about your symptoms and performing a physical evaluation. There are no specific tests for nonallergic rhinitis, but other tests to rule out different causes may be requested. This could be a skin test to detect allergies or a blood test to check your immune system. Your doctor or ENT specialist will also want to rule out sinus-related issues.
The treatment of nonallergic rhinitis will vary from person to person. If the case is mild, it can be treated at home by avoiding triggers. If the issue is causing discomfort, several treatments may be required to provide relief. These include:
• Over the counter saline nasal sprays can help to thin the mucus, which will soothe the nasal membranes.
• Antihistamine nasal sprays sometimes help to reduce symptoms.
• Corticosteroid nasal sprays may be better suited if your symptoms do not respond to antihistamines or decongestants. These types of sprays can treat and prevent inflammation.
• Your doctor or ENT specialist may prescribe anti-drip anticholinergic nasal sprays.
Decongestants – These are available both over the counter and by prescription. They help to narrow the blood vessels, which reduces nasal congestion. They should only be used for a few days at a time to avoid the risk of dependency.
Surgical procedures – In some rare cases, surgery may be an option. Only extreme or complex cases of nonallergic rhinitis will require surgery. This may be suggested if the sufferer has a deviated septum or nasal polyps. Recent advances have led to the development of more minimally invasive methods for reducing a runny nose, such as the ClarifixTM cryotherapy device.
If you are experiencing the symptoms of nonallergic rhinitis, you should consult an ENT specialist, such as London ENT, for a consultation.
Contact London ENT for professional advice and assistance on 0203 865 7225.