Non-allergic Rhinitis

What is non-allergic rhinitis?
Rhinitis is the medical term given to a runny or stuffy nose that won't get better or the symptoms come back repeatedly. Non-allergic rhinitis is not seasonal or caused by allergies and sufferers experience it all year round.

What causes non-allergic rhinitis?
The linings of the nose become swollen due to inflammation. The mucus glands in the nose get stimulated, causing a congested, runny nose. Many things can trigger this nasal swelling such as;

  • Environmental or occupational irritants - Dust, smog, chemical fumes, second hand smoke or strong odours such as perfumes.
  • Weather changes - Temperature or humidity changes
  • Infections - A viral infection such as the cold or flu is a common cause. This type of non-allergic rhinitis usually clears up within a few weeks but can cause lingering mucus in the throat (post nasal drip). Sometimes this type of rhinitis can become chronic, causing ongoing discoloured nasal discharges, facial pain and tenderness (sinusitis).
  • Foods and beverages - Hot or spicy food, beer, wine and other alcohol and food types can cause nasal inflammation.
  • Certain medications - Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID's) such as aspirin and ibuprofen and high blood pressure medications such as beta blockers. Sedatives, antidepressants, oral contraceptives and drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction can also cause it.
  • Hormone changes - Changes in hormones due to pregnancy, menstruation, oral contraceptive use or a hormonal condition called hypothyroidism.

  • Stress - Emotional or physical stress.
  • Prolonged use of decongestant nasal drops or sprays - Using these for more than the recommended time (usually a few days) can cause more severe nasal congestion when the decongestant wears off, often called rebound congestion.
  • Certain health problems - A number of chronic health conditions can cause or worsen rhinitis such as asthma, lupus, cystic fibrosis etc.

What are the symptoms?
The symptoms include;

  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion and difficulty breathing
  • Sinus/facial pain
  • Sinus/facial tenderness
  • Sinus/facial pressure,
  • Headaches
  • Pain in teeth
  • Pain in jaw
  • Pain in ears,
  • Pain through and around eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Drainage of a thick yellow or green discharge from the nose or down the back of the throat (post nasal drip)
  • Reduced sense of smell and taste
  • Cough (which may be worse at night)
  • Nausea
  • Sore throat and halitosis (bad breath).
  • Irritability
  • Sleep disorders
  • Anxiety and nervousness
  • Chronic nose bleeds
  • Perforated septum
  • Dry/crusty nasal passages
  • Rapid heart beat

How should I treat non-allergic rhinitis?

  • SinuSoothe 100% Natural Nasal Spray - SinuSoothe can relieve the inflammation, nasal congestion and runny nose.
  • Natural anti-histamines - Some non-allergic rhinitis sufferers benefit from anti-histamines. Quercetin and butterbur can be just as effective as OTC anti-histamines but without their side effects. Stinging nettle can also reduce histamine. Your local health food store should be able to advise you on these and others. It usually takes about 4 weeks for these to start taking effect.
  • Boosting immune system - Eating a balanced diet and supplementing with good quality vitamins etc. will improve immune system function and your body's ability to control histamine levels and inflammation. Vitamin C, vitamin B complex, zinc, garlic and a multi-vitamin & mineral would help boost your immune system. Your local health food store should be able to advise you.
  • Reducing stress levels - Stress contributes to ill health and should be minimised whenever possible. It reduces immune function and causes 'flare ups'. Vitamin B complex assists the body during stressful times and magnesium, 5htp etc. can help to relax you. There are also plenty of other supplements that can relieve stress and help you to cope with it better. Pressure is healthy, stress is not.
  • Natural anti-inflammatories - Since the symptoms of rhinitis are caused by inflammation it follows that by reducing inflammation you will reduce the severity of the symptoms. Omega 3,6 &9 oils, vitamin C, turmeric and ginger are all excellent natural anti-inflammatories. There are plenty of others and your local health food store should be able to advise you on these. It usually takes about 4 weeks for these to start taking effect.

Prevention of Non-Allergic Rhinitis
You should avoid whatever triggers your rhinitis such as strong odours, tobacco, smoke etc. whenever it is practical to do so.

Please consult your doctor before undertaking new treatments.