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Vasomotor rhinitis

Definition

Rhinitis is a condition that involves a constant runny nose, sneezing, and nasal stuffiness. When these symptoms are not caused by hay fever or allergies, the condition is called non-allergic rhinitis. One type of non-allergic rhinitis is called vasomotor rhinitis.

Alternative Names

Rhinitis - nonallergic; Idiopathic rhinitis; Nonallergic rhinitis

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Vasomotor rhinitis 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 medications
  • Spicy foods
  • Strong emotions

Symptoms

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

Signs and tests

The doctor will ask you about your symptoms, when they occur, and what seems to trigger them.

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

Allergy skin tests may be done to rule out allergies as a cause of your symptoms.

Blood tests to determine your total blood levels of IgE (allergic antibody) and total circulating eosinophil count (a type of white blood cell) may be ordered.

Treatment

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

In some cases, decongestants or a nasal spray containing an antihistamine may help. Corticosteroid nasal sprays may be useful for some forms of vasomotor rhinitis.

References

Wallace DV, Dykewicz MS, Bernstein DI, Blessing-Moore J, Cox L, Khan DA, et al. The diagnosis and management of rhinitis: an updated practice parameter. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008 Aug:122(2).


Review Date: 6/17/2012
Reviewed By: Stuart I Henochowicz, MD, FACP, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology, Georgetown University Medical School. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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