Allergic and Non-Allergic Rhinitis

AllergicRhinitisRhinitis is characterized by inflammation of the nasal passageways. Most often this results in sneezing, runny nose and nasal congestion. There are two common forms – allergic and non allergic rhinitis.

Patients with allergic rhinitis experience an immune response mediated by immunoglobulins, namely IgE. This causes an inflammatory cascade to occur, resulting in sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy/watery eyes. These are commonly known as allergies, and can be both seasonal or perennial (year round). Treatment is mainly medical and can be as simple as antihistamines and nasal steroid sprays, or more involved requiring formal allergy testing and the expertise of an allergist. In certain cases, the nasal congestion from prolonged allergic rhinitis results in difficulty breathing, and in-office procedures such as inferior turbinate reduction are carried out for definitive relief.

Non-allergic rhinitis does not have a basis in an immune response. There are many different forms of non-allergic rhinitis.

  • Irritative Rhinitis: Patients working in environments with chemicals, solvents and even cigarette smoke can experience direct irritation of their nasal mucosa, causing symptoms of rhinitis.
  • Hormonal Rhinitis: Pregnant women often complain of nasal congestion during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy. This is commonly referred to as rhinitis of pregnancy and is a result of increased estrogen, which causes increasing edema of the nasal mucosa and symptoms of rhinitis.
  • Afrin Rhinitis: Patients using Afrin® for long periods of time may realize increasing nasal congestion that requires them to continue using Afrin. This results in a dependency that is difficult to treat with medication. In-office reduction of the inferior turbinates is successful at improving this dependency and breaking the cycle of dependency.

Ultimately, successful treatment of nasal symptoms resulting from rhinitis requires an accurate diagnosis. If you feel you have symptoms similar to those discussed above, feel free to contact us for further assessment and treatment.