You are currently viewing What is nonallergic rhinitis?

What is nonallergic rhinitis?

When a person has rhinitis, the inside of their nose becomes inflamed or swollen, creating symptoms similar to a cold, such as itching, blocked nose, runny nose, and sneezing.

An allergy can trigger allergic rhinitis. In other circumstances, it’s referred to as “nonallergic rhinitis.”

Nonallergic and allergic rhinitis have similar symptoms, but their causes are distinct.


nonallergic rhinitis symptoms

Nonallergic rhinitis can cause a runny nose that doesn’t appear to go away, or it can cause recurrent symptoms.

The blood vessels inside the nose expand when a person develops rhinitis, causing the lining of the nose to swell.

The mucus glands in the nose are stimulated, causing it to become clogged and “drippy.”

Children and adults alike are affected by nonallergic rhinitis. During menstruation and pregnancy, women may be more susceptible to nasal congestion.

“Rhinos” means “nose,” and “-itis” signifies “inflammation” in Greek.


Nonallergic rhinitis exists in a range of types.

Infectious rhinitis

An infection, such as the common cold or flu, causes infectious rhinitis, also known as viral rhinitis. When a virus affects the nose and throat, the lining becomes inflamed. Sneezing and a runny nose are caused by inflammation, which causes mucus production.

Vasomotor rhinitis

Vasomotor rhinitis occurs when the blood vessels in the nose are overly sensitive, and the blood vessels in the nose have aberrant nerve control. Inflammation results from this.

Mucus flow is normally controlled by the constriction and expansion of blood vessels inside the nose. Certain environmental factors might cause blood vessels to dilate if they are oversensitive. This causes in mucus overproduction and congestion.

Chemical irritants, fragrances, paint fumes, smoke, changes in humidity, a dip in temperature, alcohol consumption, spicy foods, and mental stress are all triggers.

Atrophic rhinitis

When the membranes inside the nose, known as turbinates, weaken and harden, the nasal passages expand and become drier, causing atrophic rhinitis.

The tissue that covers three ridges of bone inside the nose is referred to as turbinates. It keeps the inside of the nose moist, protects against bacteria, aids in air pressure regulation when breathing in, and contains nerve endings that give the sense of smell.

When the turbinates thin, bacteria can grow more easily in the nasal cavity. As a result, turbinate tissue loss raises the risk of nasal surgery or infection.

Crusts occur inside the nose in atrophic rhinitis, and they might stink. If the person tries to remove them, there may be bleeding. It’s possible that you’ll lose your sense of smell.

The loss of turbinates tissue occurs as people get older. It can also be caused by nasal surgical complications or an infection.

Atrophic rhinitis is most common in people who have had many nasal surgeries, but it can also be a side effect of a single procedure.

Rhinitis medicamentosa

The usage of medications causes rhinitis medicamentosa. Overuse of nasal decongestants, beta blockers, aspirin, or cocaine can cause this.

Nasal decongestants are medications that lower the swelling of the blood vessels in the nose. They can cause the nose to become inflamed again if used for more than a week, even if the underlying ailment, such as a cold, has passed.

The symptoms

Nonallergic rhinitis has the following signs and symptoms:

  • nasal pressure
  • postnasal drip, with phlegm, or mucus, in the throat.
  • nasal pain
  • a blocked or runny nose
  • sneezing

Nonallergic rhinitis is characterised by the absence of itching in the nose, eyes, or throat. These are allergic rhinitis symptoms.

The risk factors

Nonallergic rhinitis can be exacerbated by a variety of circumstances.

Tobacco smoke, smog, exhaust fumes, jet fuel, solvents, and other irritants all contribute to the risk.

Spicy meals can cause allergic rhinitis.

During menstruation and pregnancy, women are more vulnerable.

Nonallergic rhinitis is more likely in people who have lupus, cystic fibrosis, hormone problems, or asthma.


The symptoms of viral rhinitis are similar to those of a cold or flu.

Because the symptoms of vasomotor rhinitis are similar to allergic rhinitis, the doctor may need to rule out allergy as a possible cause.

A skin prick test or a patch test can be used to screen for an allergic reaction. Antibody levels can be detected via a blood test.

The doctor may diagnose vasomotor rhinitis if there is no allergic reaction.

Nasal crusting, expansion of the nasal passageways, bad odour, and loss of sense of smell are all symptoms of atrophic rhinitis that the doctor will check for.

A CT scan can be performed to confirm a diagnosis and examine the nasal canals for abnormalities. Sinusitis can also be ruled out with a CT scan or a nasal endoscopy.

In the event of medicamentosa rhinitis, the doctor will inquire about the patient’s use of nasal decongestants and other drugs.

The treatment

The infection that causes viral rhinitis normally clears up on its own and does not require medical attention. Nasal decongestants can help to relieve nasal congestion and edoema.

A person suffering from vasomotor rhinitis should try to stay away from the environmental triggers that cause it. Nasal sprays containing corticosteroids may help to relieve inflammation and congestion.

If the patient does not react to treatment, the doctor may consider the following options:

  • Despite the fact that the condition is not an allergy, antihistamine nasal sprays are used.
  • Nose sprays with anticholinergics to help open up the airways, make breathing easier, and reduce mucus formation.
  • Nasal spray containing sodium cromoglicate to reduce inflammation and mucus production.
  • Irrigation with a saline solution to reduce crusting and dryness in atrophic rhinitis
  • In the event of infection, antibiotics are used.

A patient with medicamentosa rhinitis should discontinue taking nasal spray. The following suggestions may be useful:

  • Use the spray sparingly on the healthy nostril. It will ultimately open up, and the person will no longer be able to use it on the other nostril.
  • Some antihistamines may be beneficial.

Natural therapies

The following are some natural or home therapies for rhinitis relief:

  • irrigating or cleaning the inside of the nose with a saline solution rather than a decongestant spray
  • By placing a few drops of eucalyptus or tea tree oil in a bowl of hot water, you can make a steam inhalation.
  • To keep the air in the room from drying out, use a humidifier.
  • avoiding stressors in the surroundings, such as smoking, that might increase symptoms

Acupuncture may be beneficial, but there is insufficient data to back this up.

Preventive tips

Nonallergic rhinitis cannot be prevented, although patients who have been diagnosed with it should avoid the triggers if they are identified.

Routine nasal lavage and lubrication can help avoid the production of crusts and keep the nasal lining moist in situations with atrophic rhinitis.

Irrigating the nasal passages on a daily basis is a helpful preventative measure.



Chukwuebuka Martins

Chukwuebuka MartinsĀ is a writer, researcher, and health enthusiast who specializes in human physiology. He takes great pleasure in penning informative articles on many aspects of physical wellness, which he then thoroughly enjoys sharing to the general public.