Is Vasomotor Rhinitis?
Rhinitis is an inflammation of the membranes inside the nose. A
number of different irritants or allergens can cause this inflammation. However,
there are times when there’s no specific cause for the inflammation. Other
names for this condition are nonallergic rhinitis, idiopathic rhinitis, and
Vasomotor rhinitis isn’t life-threatening. For those affected
with the condition, the symptoms can be annoying, but they aren’t serious.
Causes Vasomotor Rhinitis?
Vasomotor rhinitis occurs when the blood vessels inside your nose
dilate, or expand. Dilation of the vessels in the nose produces swelling and
can cause congestion. Mucus may also drain from the nose.
It’s not known what causes the blood vessels in the nose to
swell. Some common triggers that may produce this reaction include:
- irritants in the environment such as perfumes,
odors, smog, or secondhand smoke
- changes in the weather and particularly dry
- viral infections such as those associated with a
cold or flu
- hot or spicy foods or drinks
- medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen
Are the Symptoms of Vasomotor Rhinitis?
The symptoms of vasomotor rhinitis may come and go throughout the
year. The symptoms may last several weeks or may be constant. Common symptoms
of the condition include:
- stuffy nose
- runny nose
- mucus in the throat, or postnasal drip
If you develop vasomotor rhinitis you typically will not have the following symptoms:
- itchy nose
- itchy or watery eyes
- scratchy throat
These symptoms are common with allergic rhinitis, which is due to
Is Vasomotor Rhinitis Diagnosed?
Your doctor can diagnose vasomotor rhinitis after ruling out
other causes of your symptoms.
If you have symptoms of vasomotor rhinitis, your doctor will
first perform different tests to see if your rhinitis is due to an allergy or
other health problem. To determine if you have an allergy, your doctor may
order a skin test to identify any allergies that you may have or a blood test
to see if your immune system is functioning normally.
Your doctor may also order tests to see if you have any sinus
problems that may be causing your rhinitis. Tests may include a nasal endoscope
to look inside your nose or a CT scan of your sinuses.
If your doctor can’t find any underlying cause for your rhinitis,
they’ll then make a diagnosis of vasomotor rhinitis.
Is Vasomotor Rhinitis Treated?
If you have vasomotor rhinitis, there are some remedies that you
can use to treat the condition at home. Examples include:
- over-the-counter (OTC) saline nasal sprays
- OTC decongestants such as pseudoephedrine or
- OTC antihistamines such as diphenhydramine
(Benadryl), clemastine, or loratadine (Claritin)
- OTC corticosteroid nasal sprays such as
If your symptoms are severe or if you have side effects from
these OTC medications, your doctor may prescribe other medications to help
control your symptoms. Prescription medications that can be used to treat
vasomotor rhinitis include:
- corticosteroid nasal sprays such mometasone
- antihistamine nasal sprays such as azelastine
or olopatadine hydrochloride
- anti-drip, anticholinergic nasal sprays such as
In rare cases, your doctor may recommend surgical options to
treat your symptoms. Surgical options may be helpful if you have an underlying
health problem that intensifies your symptoms. Examples include nasal polyps or
a deviated septum.
Can I Prevent Vasomotor Rhinitis?
Prevention of vasomotor rhinitis may be difficult if you don’t
know what’s causing your symptoms. If you’re able to identify the causes, it
may be possible to avoid them. Avoiding these triggers will reduce your
symptoms and discomfort.
Contact your doctor if your symptoms are severe. Your doctor may
be able to help you find a treatment that works. Your doctor can also diagnose
health problems that may be worsening your symptoms. You may be able to
prevent, reduce, or eliminate your symptoms with the right treatment.
You should also avoid overusing nasal decongestants. Even though
these medications can provide short-term relief for your symptoms, using them
for more than three or four days can worsen your symptoms.
Is the Long-Term Outlook?
If you develop vasomotor rhinitis, your outlook will depend on
the severity of your symptoms. Treatment with over-the-counter or prescription
medication may help reduce or eliminate your symptoms. Correcting underlying
health conditions such as a deviated septum may also help reduce your symptoms
and improve your prognosis.