Reasons Leading To A Runny Nose

A runny nose does not need a season to show up, nor does it need a disease to cause a runny nose. There are various reasons, which can make the mucous trickle down the nose all year long.

Reasons Leading To A Runny Nose

Reasons Leading To A Runny Nose

Given below are various reasons leading to a runny nose.

A Common Cold

A common cold, also known as upper respiratory tract infection, is the commonest reason leading to a runny nose, as during this time the permeability of the blood vessels in the nose is increased. An increased permeability allows leakage of fluid into the nasal cavity, which takes the form of runny nose. A common cold is mostly caused by a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract such as: Rhinovirus, Coronavirus, Respiratory syncytial virus and Metapneumovirus. Common cold usually resolves within 7-10 days period. The symptoms of common cold other than a runny nose are: fatigue, fever, sore throat and congestion. A common cold is contagious and can spread from one person to another.

Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis or hay fever is a seasonal reason for a runny nose. Allergic rhinitis is commonly observed during spring or fall season. The pollen present in the air from flowering plants, trees, weeds and grasses lead to an inflammatory response in the body. The discharge of runny nose caused by allergic rhinitis is most commonly clear. The symptoms accompanying runny nose in allergic rhinitis are: sore throat, congestion, cough, post nasal drip and fatigue.

Cold Air

Cold dry air leads to an imbalance in the nasal passage, which leads to an inflammatory response, which causes runny nose. Cold air is another common reason leading to a runny nose. The symptoms of runny nose caused by cold can subside without any treatment and may be accompanied with a mucous drip at the back of the throat, congestion, frequent sneezing and itchy eyes.

Eating Spicy Food

Eating spicy foods is also one of the reasons leading to a runny nose. The main reason behind getting a runny nose after eating spicy food is not much known, but it is suggested to be because of the stimulation of the trigeminal nerve, which might be a parasympathetic response that is helpful in resting and digesting. Runny nose occurring after eating spicy food is also known as gustatory rhinitis. Gustatory rhinitis is seen commonly affecting adults between 20-60 years of age. Avoiding spicy food is the only solution which helps in reduction of runny nose.

Hormonal Changes

A runny nose because of changes in hormones is known as hormonal rhinitis. Thyroid hormones, female sex hormones and growth hormones all play a role in causing hormonal rhinitis. These hormones make the mucous glands more reactive by affecting the nasal mucous membrane leading to runny nose. During pregnancy, changes occur in the blood vessels throughout the women’s body. This leads to pooling of blood in the nasal blood vessels leading to runny nose. Even progesterone hormone is responsible for causing hormonal rhinitis.


There are certain medications to treat certain conditions, such as high blood pressure, enlarged prostate, pain, erectile dysfunction and birth control pills, which can lead to a runny nose. A runny nose due to the side effect of medicines is known as medicine-induced rhinitis.


Any kind of exercises, such as running, aerobics, or even intercourse may lead to a runny nose. This condition is known as vasomotor rhinitis. A nasal anticholinergic would be helpful in such conditions.


Crying is a natural process, which leads to a runny nose. While crying, tears flow through the lacrimal puncta into the nasolacrimal duct. The tube drains into the nose, so a runny nose while crying is, basically tears, which have drained into the nose. In most of the cases, the runny nose resolves by itself within a few days.

There are various over-the-counter medication or home remedies, which can help give relief from runny nose. Certain precautions, such as avoiding the irritants and covering up during winter can be of help. Consult a doctor if you notice trouble breathing, high fever, or nose bleed during an episode of a runny nose.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 20, 2019

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