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Vasomotor rhinitis


Definition:

Rhinitis is a condition that includes a runny nose, sneezing, and nasal stuffiness. When hay fever or allergies are not causing these symptoms, the condition is called nonallergic rhinitis. One type of nonallergic rhinitis is called vasomotor rhinitis.

Alternative Names:

Rhinitis - nonallergic; Idiopathic rhinitis; Nonallergic rhinitis

Causes:

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
Exams and Tests:

The doctor 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 doctor may look inside your nose and see that 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 doctor determines you cannot have skin testing, special blood tests may help with the diagnosis. These tests, known as IgE RAST tests, can measure the levels of allergy-related substances..A complete blood count (CBC) test, called the eosinophil count, may also help diagnose allergies.

Treatment:

The main 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:

Corren J, Baroody FM, Pawankar R. Allergic and nonallergic rhinitis. In: Adkinson NF Jr., Bochner BS, Burks AW, Busse WW, et al., eds. In: Middleton's Allergy Principles and Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:chap 42.


Review Date: 5/16/2014
Reviewed By: Stuart I. Henochowicz, MD, FACP, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology, Georgetown University Medical School, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, 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 physician 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. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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