Rhinitis is similar to hay fever, but is caused by something other than an allergen. Dubbed non-allergic rhinitis to differentiate the two, it produces cold-like symptoms that can leave you feeling miserable and worn-down. It may take allergy testing to rule out hay fever and accurately diagnose non-allergic rhinitis.
What Causes Rhinitis?
Rhinitis is common and can be brought on by a variety of factors. Viruses, bacteria and other irritants can all cause symptoms. Some of the more common triggers include viral infections (colds and flu), changes in the weather, airborne irritants (dust, smog, perfume), foods and beverages (hot foods, spicy foods, alcohol), stress, hormonal changes (pregnancy, menstruation) and certain medications (aspirin, ibuprofen, beta blockers).
What Are the Symptoms of Rhinitis?
Symptoms of non-allergic rhinitis are similar to those you experience with a cold. Runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, and postnasal drip are all common, and may continue indefinitely or come and go.
Unlike hay fever, non-allergic rhinitis doesn’t cause itchy eyes, nose or throat. The absence of these symptoms is a good indicator that you are suffering from rhinitis rather than hay fever caused by allergies. Non-allergic rhinitis isn’t just bothersome; if untreated, it can cause nasal polyps, chronic sinusitis and ear infections.
How Is Rhinitis Treated?
Your doctor will diagnose non-allergic rhinitis based on your symptoms and medical history after ruling out an allergic cause through skin and blood tests. Sinus problems present similar symptoms, so you may also need a nasal endoscopy or CT scan to rule out chronic sinusitis.
The treatment you are prescribed will be based on the severity of your symptoms. Mild cases of rhinitis may respond to simple home remedies; irrigation of the nasal passages with a Neti pot or bulb syringe, using a humidifier to moisten the air, and drinking lots of liquids can all help. If you know specifically which substance is causing you misery, avoid it if possible. It’s always a good idea to avoid cigarettes and alcohol.
In addition, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter or prescription drugs. These include antihistamines, decongestants, and saline and corticosteroid nasal sprays. Surgery is probably going to be required for nasal polyps, a deviated septum or any other physical abnormalities.
ClariFix uses a treatment method called “cryotherapy” to reduce symptoms. Unlike other treatments like nasal sprays and over-the-counter pills, it addresses the root of the problem – the inflamed nasal tissue and underlying nerves. The device works by delivering cold temperatures to balance the nerves in the nose. This stops symptoms at the source. Four out of five patients report long-lasting improvement with ClariFix.
Your congestion symptoms, especially if due to chronic rhinitis, may stem from abnormal signals in the nose. Your physician can offer you the RhinAer® procedure to disrupt these signals and provide lasting relief without surgery or incisions. RhinAer is clinically demonstrated to improve congestion and other symptoms in 96% of patients1. This in-office procedure can also provide lasting relief of symptoms including runny nose, postnasal drip and chronic cough with minimal discomfort. Patients typically return to their normal activities on the same day.
Call Dr. Stolovitzky at (404) 921-5474 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
 Effect of Radiofrequency Neurolysis on the Symptoms of Chronic Rhinitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Stolovitzky JP, Ow RA, Silvers SL, et.al. American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. 2021; 5(3):1-7.