What Is Rhinitis?

Rhinitis means inflammation of the nose, and the condition can cause congestion, a runny nose, sneezing and a sore throat. It is categorized as allergic or nonallergic.

Rhinitis can be uncomfortable and make it difficult to participate in the activities that mean the most to you. Nonallergic rhinitis isn’t just bothersome; if untreated, it can cause acute sinusitis, chronic sinusitis and ear infections. At Charleston ENT & Allergy, we can provide high-quality treatment to help relieve your symptoms.

Blurry back shoulder and face of a person pressing their thumbs on either side of the bridge of the nose of a man who is looking at them.

What Are the Symptoms of Nonallergic Rhinitis?

  • Congestion
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Postnasal drip

Unlike allergic rhinitis, nonallergic rhinitis doesn’t cause itchy eyes, nose or throat.

What Causes Nonallergic Rhinitis?

Though the exact cause of nonallergic rhinitis is unknown, it occurs when the nose’s blood vessels expand and fill the nasal lining with blood and fluid.

Potential triggers of nonallergic rhinitis include:

  • Infections like the cold or flu
  • Irritants like dust, smoke, chemical fumes or strong odors
  • Spicy foods
  • Certain medications, including aspirin, ibuprofen and beta blockers, along with overuse of decongestant nasal sprays
  • Changes in temperature or humidity
  • Hormonal changes
  • Acid reflux
  • Sleeping on your back or having untreated sleep apnea

How Is Rhinitis Diagnosed and Treated?

During your visit, your provider will discuss your medical history, your symptoms and how your daily life has been impacted. Part of the diagnostic process is ensuring that your symptoms aren’t caused by other conditions. Tests to achieve this may include:

  • Skin and blood tests to rule out allergies
  • Nasal endoscopy or CT scan to rule out nasal polyps or a deviated septum

If your symptoms are caused by nonallergic rhinitis, your doctor will provide a treatment plan based on the severity of your symptoms.  Mild rhinitis is often responsive to home remedies like using a neti pot or humidifier. For more severe symptoms, your provider may recommend over-the-counter or prescription drugs such as antihistamines, decongestants, saline or corticosteroid nasal sprays.

Our team will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan to make sure rhinitis doesn’t detract from your quality of life. Whether your symptoms are mild or severe, we can help you find relief.

Call Charleston ENT & Allergy at (843) 766-7103 for more information or to schedule an appointment.