If you suffer from persistent runny nose, nasal and sinus congestion, and post-nasal drip - even when you don't have a cold or sinus infection - it's possible you have a condition medically known as chronic rhinitis. Learn more about this condition and what treatments are available for it.
What is chronic rhinitis?
Frequent runny nose, nasal and sinus congestion, and post-nasal drip can be signs of the condition medically known as chronic rhinitis. If you suffer from these symptoms, even though you're not sick with a cold or sinus infection, you are far from alone.
More than 24 million people in the U.S. suffer from the persistent condition of inflammation of the nose called chronic rhinitis.1
What causes chronic rhinitis?
Rebound congestion. Often, people living with frequent rhinitis resort to taking decongestants such as pseudoephedrine (sold in many allergy and cold medicine capsules). Many use nasal decongestant or antihistamine sprays. However, when used for more than 3 or 4 days, sprays can contribute to a cycle of worsened swelling called rebound congestion.
Chronic rhinitis. This persistent stuffiness and runny nose of chronic rhinitis is an extension of rhinitis caused by inflammation or viral infection. The seemingly relentless nasal obstruction can be accompanied in severe cases by crusting, bleeding and thick, smelly, pus-filled nasal discharge.
Vasomotor rhinitis. This form of chronic rhinitis causes allergy-like symptoms of congestion, sneezing and runny nose, even when no allergies appear to be present. Some people experience strong reaction to irritants such as dust, pollen, perfumes, pollution and even spicy foods. This condition can be worse with exposure to dry air.
How is chronic rhinitis diagnosed?
Your doctor will assess your history of symptoms, and family history of allergies and other conditions. You may be asked to undergo skin or blood tests as part of diagnosis.2
What treatments are available?
The simplest treatments are similar to those for allergy or colds: avoid irritants if possible, take oral decongestants and antihistamines as recommended, use non-prescription decongestant nasal sprays for a limited time or as recommended by your doctor. For the most persistent cases, it may be advisable to see an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist, to receive the most detailed diagnosis, and to discuss other treatment options including coblation (removal of swollen tissue via controlled ablation) or cryosurgical techniques.
- CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/allergies.htm. Accessed October 24, 2018
- Merck Manual Consumer Version https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/ear,-nose,-and-throat-disorders/nose-and-sinus-disorders/rhinitis. Accessed October 24, 2018