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Nonallergic rhinopathy

Rhinitis - nonallergic; Idiopathic rhinitis; Nonallergic rhinitis; Vasomotor rhinitis; Irritant rhinitis

Rhinitis is a condition that includes a runny nose, sneezing, and nasal stuffiness. When hay allergies (hayfever) or a cold are not causing these symptoms, the condition is called nonallergic rhinitis. One type of nonallergic rhinitis is called nonallergic rhinopathy. This condition used to be known as vasomotor rhinitis.

Causes

Nonallergic rhinopathy is not caused by an infection or allergy. The exact cause is unknown. Symptoms are triggered by something that irritates the nose, such as:

  • A dry atmosphere
  • Air pollution
  • Alcohol
  • Certain medicines
  • Spicy foods, and in some cases, while eating in general
  • Strong emotions
  • Strong odors, such as perfumes, cleaning products (especially bleach) among others

Symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion (stuffy nose)
  • Sneezing
  • Watery nasal drainage

Exams and Tests

The health care provider will ask about your symptoms, when they occur, and what seems to trigger them.

You will also be asked about your home and work environment. The provider may look inside your nose to check if the tissues lining your nose are swollen due to inflamed blood vessels.

A skin test may be done to rule out allergies as a cause of your symptoms.

If your provider determines you can't have skin testing, special blood tests may help with the diagnosis. These tests, known as IgE allergen tests (ImmunoCAP; used to be called RAST), can measure the levels of allergy-related substances. A complete blood count (CBC) test can measure eosinophils (allergy-type white blood cells) to get a total eosinophil count. This may also help diagnose allergies.

Treatment

The main treatment is simply avoiding the things that trigger your symptoms.

Ask your provider if decongestants or nasal sprays containing an antihistamine are right for you. Corticosteroid nasal sprays may be useful for some forms of nonallergic rhinopathy.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if you think you have symptoms of nonallergic rhinopathy.

References

Corren J, Baroody FM, Pawankar R. Allergic and nonallergic rhinitis. In: Adkinson NF, Bochner BS, Burks AW, et al, eds. Middleton's Allergy: Principles and Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 42.

Joe SA, Liu JZ. Nonallergic rhinitis. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Lund V, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 43.

Sur DKC, Plesa ML. Chronic nonallergic rhinitis. Am Fam Physician. 2018;98(3):171-176. PMID: 30215894 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30215894.

Text only

  • How to use nasal sprays

    Animation

  •  

    How to use nasal sprays - Animation

    Hi. I'm Dr. Alan Greene and I would like to give you a tip for how to use nasal sprays that contain medications. This is especially useful for the steroid nasal sprays that are used to treat allergies, but also true for the ones used for a cold or other things as well. Now, the middle part of the nose between the two nostrils is called the septum and it's got cartilage in there and a lot of blood vessels where nosebleeds typically come from. And when the medication squirts straight into the septum that can cause side effects - irritation, bleeding, and other things like that. Now most of the time when people use a nasal spray what they will do is either use the same hand for both sides or use one hand for the nostril closest to you and one for the other. I'm going to suggest you do just the opposite of that. You take one hand and squirt into the other nostril. When you do that, you naturally point the stream away from the septum and avoid the side effects. It's a simple trick that works really well.

  • Nasal mucosa

    Nasal mucosa - illustration

    The mucosa, or mucous membrane, is a type of tissue that lines the nasal cavity. Mucous membranes are usually moist tissues that are bathed by secretions such as in the nose.

    Nasal mucosa

    illustration

  • How to use nasal sprays

    Animation

  •  

    How to use nasal sprays - Animation

    Hi. I'm Dr. Alan Greene and I would like to give you a tip for how to use nasal sprays that contain medications. This is especially useful for the steroid nasal sprays that are used to treat allergies, but also true for the ones used for a cold or other things as well. Now, the middle part of the nose between the two nostrils is called the septum and it's got cartilage in there and a lot of blood vessels where nosebleeds typically come from. And when the medication squirts straight into the septum that can cause side effects - irritation, bleeding, and other things like that. Now most of the time when people use a nasal spray what they will do is either use the same hand for both sides or use one hand for the nostril closest to you and one for the other. I'm going to suggest you do just the opposite of that. You take one hand and squirt into the other nostril. When you do that, you naturally point the stream away from the septum and avoid the side effects. It's a simple trick that works really well.

  • Nasal mucosa

    Nasal mucosa - illustration

    The mucosa, or mucous membrane, is a type of tissue that lines the nasal cavity. Mucous membranes are usually moist tissues that are bathed by secretions such as in the nose.

    Nasal mucosa

    illustration

 

Review Date: 5/16/2019

Reviewed By: Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, MHS, Paul F. Harron, Jr. Associate Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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