Rhinitis is a chronic condition in which the nose feels congested. It is classified into two kinds: non-allergic and allergic rhinitis. The former is not brought by allergic causes, but the latter is because of allergens like dust, pollen and many others.
Non-allergic rhinitis is also known a vasomotor rhinitis because of the ability of the nasal lining to extremely respond to irritants. When blood vessels near the nasals expand, those with rhinitis would have a swollen nose lining. The swelling will then cause a running and congested nose. This condition could both be experienced by adults and children. Non-allergic rhinitis in general is not very harmful, but could be very disturbing in everyday living. A person who has it always have a runny nose, and could even be irritated most of the time.
Rhinitis could be very difficult to distinguish from a normal cold or allergy. Symptoms could be same as the usual cold- runny and stuffy nose, post-nasal drip (also known as the phlegm or the obstruction in the throat), but medications meant for it would not take effect. Rhinitis and colds caused by allergies could be very difficult to tell. However, rhinitis makes itself distinct because the symptoms associated to it does not include itchiness in the eyes, throat or in the nose.
Non-allergic, or vasomotor rhinitis occurs when there is dilation in the blood vessels near the nasal area. The expansion causes the nasal lining to be filled with fluid and blood. This happens when the nasal lining gets infected. Thus, cold or flu is of no exception. Although all these illnesses bear same symptoms, having cold or flu triggers a rhinitis attack. Non-allergic rhinitis could be left without treatment in a matter of weeks, however, it could also start another rhinitis attack which is longer than the usual.
Rhinitis In General
Substances which could cause a runny and congested nose are perfumes, chemical fumes, mold, pollution and many others. Weather changes could also trigger a rhinitis attack, as well as physical and emotional stress. Activities such as brisk walking or running, sports and even having sex are also included in the list.
Others include hormonal changes, and the use of contraceptives and medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin, sedatives and many others. Even the drinks and foods could also have effect in the nasal lining, particularly alcoholic drinks and hot and spicy foods. Usage of nasal drops or sprays should also be taken into moderation, as prolonged use of this could make the nose inflamed as well. Though nasal sprays and nose drops provide treatment, these medications could also result in a more severe attack the next time a person’s rhinitis is triggered. It is commonly known as rebound congestion.
Some people experience this most often than others, particularly to those who are more exposed to irritants in the environment. Those who are using nasal drips and sprays for treatment also have higher chances in acquiring more severe rhinitis in the next attack. Women are also more susceptible compared to men because of the series of hormonal changes during menstruation and pregnancy.
Diagnosis And Treatment
Although rhinitis is not life threatening, treatment should be consulted with the doctor. Medical specialists could strategize a treatment plan, and could prescribe another kind of medication should a patient experience side effects from the current medicine.
Since rhinitis is difficult to tell apart from an ordinary cold or flu, doctors have to rule out any allergies that a patient might be experiencing. This is done so that doctors could really pinpoint the condition to be treated. One of the ways to make this possible is conducting a skin test to the patient. In this test, the patient is exposed to various allergens to see which allergens produce undesirable reactions. Blood test could also be administered to the patient to measure the response of the immune system to several allergens. The amount of antibodies will be checked. A CT-scan could also be administered if the doctor suspects that the patient suffers from nasal polyps.
Nasal polyps are unnecessary growth in the sinuses or in the nasal lining. It is a result of the complications brought about by rhinitis, and is known to be of soft texture. This is benign or non-cancerous and is not harmful. However, excessively large polyps could obstruct the airflow in the nasals, causing difficulty in breathing.
Aside from nasal polyps, sinusitis could also be a result of further complications. If left untreated by an ENT specialist, rhinitis could result to middle ear infections because of increased nasal drip and congestion.
Once the doctor determines the cause of the patient’s rhinitis, it would not be anymore difficult to find ways of treatment. Patients could be given oral decongestants by OTC (over-the-counter) or prescription. These medications help minimize the congestion in the nasal area and narrows the blood vessels. They could also use nasal sprays based in saline solution to eliminate all irritants and thin the nasal mucus. Sometimes, patients could also be given antihistamine nasal sprays- particularly for those who are experiencing allergic rhinitis have normal breathing and combat rhinitis even when exposed on allergens for a couple of hours. One good example of a medication in the form of a nasal spray is the Atrovent. It could help ease a runny nose. Corticosteroid sprays also help alleviate inflammation in the nasal lining, making it helpful for the treatment of rhinitis. However, in the case of those with nasal polyps or any other nasal obstructions, surgery might be necessary.
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