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What is Vasomotor Rhinitis?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Vasomotor rhinitis is a form of rhinitis or inflammation of the nose which appears to be caused by environmental factors. It is sometimes known as nonallergic rhinitis, because it is not triggered by allergies, although people with allergies can also develop vasomotor rhinitis. There are several treatment options for people who have this condition which can alleviate or control symptoms to make them feel more comfortable. It may be necessary to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist to confirm the diagnosis and get treatment recommendations.

In people with vasomotor rhinitis, the blood vessels swell, causing the nose to swell and triggering mucus production. This results in a runny nose, and can cause congestion. The nose may also feel tender as a result of the swelling and inflammation. Complications of vasomotor rhinitis include chronic sinusitis, nasal polyps, and middle ear infections, making it important to address this condition even if someone does not find it irritating.

Vasomotor rhinitis may cause a runny nose.
Vasomotor rhinitis may cause a runny nose.

Environmental factors such as humidity, temperature changes, exposure to aerosols, and smoke have all been identified as potential causes of vasomotor rhinitis. In people with seasonal allergies, their sensitized noses may develop rhinitis when allergy season is over in response to environmental factors, and people with other types of allergies can experience both allergies and vasomotor rhinitis. The key difference in symptoms between the two is that people with nonallergic rhinitis usually do not experience runny eyes and itching eyes or nose.

Although vasomotor rhinitis is not triggered by allergies, people with allergies can develop the condition.
Although vasomotor rhinitis is not triggered by allergies, people with allergies can develop the condition.

Some diagnostic testing may be used to check a patient who presents with rhinitis to find out what is causing it. This can include endoscopic examination of the nose, allergy testing, and bloodwork, among other things. The doctor will also interview the patient to collect patient history and other information which may be relevant to diagnosis and treatment. This testing is important, to confirm the cause of the rhinitis and make sure that the treatment is appropriate.

Avoiding triggers is commonly recommended. For example, someone who reacts to rapid temperature changes might be advised to wear a scarf outdoors. It is also possible to take decongestants and nasal steroids to control the symptoms. A doctor may recommend periodic reevaluation to confirm that the best course of treatment is being followed and to address any issues which may arise. For patients with allergies who experience nonallergic rhinitis as well as irritation caused by allergies, periodic adjustments to the treatment program may be needed.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...

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    • Vasomotor rhinitis may cause a runny nose.
      By: dandaman
      Vasomotor rhinitis may cause a runny nose.
    • Although vasomotor rhinitis is not triggered by allergies, people with allergies can develop the condition.
      By: Syda Productions
      Although vasomotor rhinitis is not triggered by allergies, people with allergies can develop the condition.