The term rhinitis is used to describe an inflammation of the inner nasal lining. It causes irritation of the nose, causing symptoms like a runny nose. The symptoms of rhinitis usually present for a few days after exposure to an allergen like pollen. In such cases, it is categorized as allergic rhinitis or hay fever.
In other people, the symptoms present for an extended period, also known as chronic rhinitis. In allergic rhinitis, your immune system overreacts when you come into contact with allergens like dust, pollen, and animal dander. The rhinitis can also be of the non-allergic type. This means that the immune system does not overreact, but you still experience rhinitis symptoms when you get exposed to environmental factors like perfume or smoke.
Rhinitis, whether allergic or non-allergic, can be acute or chronic. The commonest type of chronic rhinitis is the allergic type. It makes up three-fourths of total rhinitis cases, while the remaining one-fourth are non-allergic chronic rhinitis cases. In some cases, chronic rhinitis might be unrelated to allergens. It can be caused by certain medications, pregnancy, and medical conditions like chronic sinusitis and asthma.
Chronic rhinitis symptoms
Chronic rhinitis causes long-term inflammation and swelling of the nasal passages. When this happens, you frequently get the urge to blow your nose, but little to no mucus comes out. This happens because the nose is congested due to the swelling. Therefore, a major symptom that people with chronic rhinitis experience is nasal congestion. Other symptoms include:
- A running nose.
- Itchiness of the eyes, throat, and nose.
- Constant sneezing.
- Post-nasal drip.
- Watery eyes.
Some symptoms like itching are absent for non-allergic chronic rhinitis because little histamine is produced. Itching is a common symptom of excessive histamine production that occurs when your immune system is hyperresponsive. A hyperresponsive immune system causes the release of immunoglobulin E (IgE). IgE, in turn, triggers histamine release from mast cells.
The causes of chronic rhinitis are categorized as either allergic or nonallergic. Non-allergic causes are endless compared to allergic.
Allergic causes include:
- Animal dander.
- Insect residues.
Non-allergic causes include:
Some drugs trigger symptoms of rhinitis. They include oral contraceptives, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, aspirin, and antidepressants.
Hormonal imbalance is a common cause of rhinitis in women. Menstruation, puberty, and pregnancy periods are often associated with chronic rhinitis. Chronic rhinitis of pregnancy comes as early as the second month and goes away after childbirth. Hypothyroidism or other thyroid hormone imbalances can also trigger the symptoms.
Sudden weather changes can trigger rhinitis symptoms. Changing from hot weather to cold can cause rhinitis symptoms.
Conditions known to cause rhinitis include chronic sinusitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and asthma.
Some defects, like a deviated septum and enlarged adenoids and turbinates, can trigger chronic rhinitis. In these cases, surgical interventions are the best treatment option.
Foods and beverages
Foods cooked with too many spices can trigger symptoms of rhinitis. Similarly, extremely hot foods and drinks are common causes of the condition. Beer and wine are also known to cause the condition.
Risk factors for chronic rhinitis
Some risk factors increase your susceptibility to developing chronic rhinitis. They include:
The female gender
The female gender is more susceptible to chronic rhinitis compared to the male gender because they are prone to hormonal imbalances during menstruation and pregnancy.
Old age makes you susceptible to non-allergic type chronic rhinitis.
If your occupation exposes you to fumes, dust, or odors, you will likely suffer from chronic rhinitis.
Stress, whether emotional or physical, increases the risk of rhinitis.
Dependence on decongestants
If you suffer from frequent nasal congestion and use decongestants frequently, they can cause rebound congestion and make you present with chronic rhinitis symptoms.
Treatment of chronic rhinitis
There are several treatment options for the condition. Usually, a combination of treatments is used to manage the condition effectively. One treatment option alone is not sufficient. The available options include:
Drugs used for chronic rhinitis are several. They include antihistamines, decongestants, corticosteroid nasal sprays, and saline nasal sprays. These are available over-the-counter and provide relief in different ways. Antihistamines act by reducing histamine production and relieve symptoms like watery eyes, itchy nose and throat, and a running nose. Decongestants relieve nasal congestion but should be used for a short period, preferably within three days. Long-term use causes rebound congestion.
As mentioned earlier, surgery by an otolaryngologist is the best treatment alternative for patients with nasal defects. However, it is the last resort when other methods fail. It is a permanent solution to treating chronic rhinitis.
ClariFix, is it a fix for chronic rhinitis?
Yes, ClariFix provides relief from symptoms of chronic rhinitis. ClariFix is a type of nonpainful procedure that is minimally invasive and relies on extremely cold temperatures. The cold temperatures provide relief from the condition by calming down nerves in the nasal lining. These nerves cause symptoms like runny nose and congestion by sending more signals than usual. The procedure has been approved by the Foods and Drugs Administration for the treatment of chronic rhinitis.
Studies on the effectiveness of the procedure proved that chronic rhinitis patients showed a 56% improvement after 90 days of treatment. A significant percentage of the improvement was long-term, lasting over a year. More than 80% of patients who have received this treatment have noticed an improvement in their symptoms. Learn more about it here: https://www.hudsonvalleysinuscenter.com/sinus-treatments/clarifix
Living with chronic rhinitis will need you to make some lifestyle changes to avoid the recurrence of the symptoms. Some changes you can make include:
- Grooming your pets frequently and properly.
- Having an air purifier in your home.
- Thoroughly washing your hands or taking a shower when you get home from work or errands outside the house.
- Avoiding public smoking areas.
- Vacuuming the house daily.
- Washing your bed sheets and pillowcase frequently.
Alternatively, you can adopt some home remedies to help relieve the symptoms. The most common home remedy that people use to relieve nasal congestion is saline water in a neti pot.