What is Vasomotor Rhinitis?

Inflammation of membranes found in the nose is known as vasomotor rhinitis. The inflammation can be caused by various allergens or irritants. Nevertheless, sometimes the inflammation has no specific cause. Vasomotor rhinitis has other names, such as rhinitis-nonallergic, idiopathic rhinitis and nonallergic rhinitis. Vasomotor rhinitis is not a threat to life. The symptoms of Vasomotor rhinitis can be annoying, but they are not serious if you are affected.

What is Vasomotor Rhinitis?

Causes of Vasomotor Rhinitis

Expansion of blood vessels in your nose beyond the normal size causes vasomotor rhinitis. When the vessels in the nose dilate, swelling occurs, which later leads to congestion. Also, drainage of mucus from the nose might happen. Although what causes the blood vessels in the nose to swell is not known, there are some common triggers, such as

  • Consumption of spicy or hot foods and drinks.
  • Use of medicines such as aspirin and ibuprofen may cause vasomotor rhinitis.
  • Infections by virus associated with flu or cold can also cause vasomotor rhinitis.
  • Weather changes and more so dry weather.
  • Irritants such as secondhand smoke, smog, odors and perfumes.

Signs and Symptoms of Vasomotor Rhinitis

Signs and symptoms associated with vasomotor rhinitis might be of and on all through the year; they may occur for several weeks or remain constant. The most common signs and symptoms of vasomotor rhinitis are:

  • Running nose.
  • Stuffy nose.
  • Presence of mucus in the throat or postnasal drip.

The following signs and symptoms will not occur if you develop vasomotor rhinitis, since they are common with rhinitis caused by allergy, known as allergic rhinitis.

Risk factors for Vasomotor Rhinitis

Vasomotor rhinitis risks may increase due to the following factors:

  • If you get exposed to irritants such as tobacco smoke, exhaust fumes, smog and others increases your risks of developing vasomotor rhinitis.
  • Either emotional or physical stress might lead to vasomotor rhinitis in some individuals as the body immunity gets hit by the stress.
  • Some chronic health conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome or hypothyroidism may lead to or worsen vasomotor rhinitis.
  • Vasomotor rhinitis may be initiated by your exposure to airborne irritants in your workplace. Such common initiators comprise of solvents, construction materials and some chemicals and fumes originating from decomposing organic materials.
  • If you are a female, hormonal changes during pregnancy and menstruation causes nasal congestion to be worse.
  • As opposed to allergic rhinitis which is common in childhood, vasomotor rhinitis is common to individuals above the age of 20.
  • Use of decongestant nasal sprays and drops is a major risk factor for vasomotor rhinitis. Severe nasal congestion may occur, if the decongestants wear off. This is known as rebound congestion, which is caused by use of over the counter decongestants such as Dristan, Afrin and others for long.

Complications in Vasomotor Rhinitis

Complications resulting from vasomotor rhinitis include:

  • Sinusitis is a complication of vasomotor rhinitis. Sinuses are the inflammation of membranes lining the sinuses. Your chances of developing sinusitis may be increased by prolonged nasal congestion resulting from vasomotor rhinitis.
  • Infections of the middle ear is also a possible complication. Middle ear infections may occur due to increased nasal and fluid congestion.
  • Interruption of daily activities. Daily interruptions may result from vasomotor rhinitis. Symptoms flares or doctor visits might make you less productive in your occupation, since you have to take time off.
  • Nasal polyps can be caused because of vasomotor rhinitis complication. Chronic inflammation may cause soft and non-cancerous growths to grow on your nose lining or sinuses. While small polyps cause problems, larger polyps might block airflow in your nose, leading to difficulties in breathing.

Tests to Diagnose Vasomotor Rhinitis

You can only be diagnosed with vasomotor rhinitis by your doctor, after he/she has ruled some causes of your symptoms.

Your doctor will first perform various tests if you have symptoms of vasomotor rhinitis to determine if your condition is as a result of health problems or allergy. For allergy determination, your doctor will perform skin and blood tests, to identify your allergies and the functioning of your immune system.

Other tests may be performed by your doctor, to determine if you have sinus problems that are leading to vasomotor rhinitis. Such tests may comprise of nasal endoscope for checking inside your nose, or CT scan for sinuses. A diagnosis of vasomotor rhinitis will be made by your doctor, if he/she cannot find underlying causes of your vasomotor rhinitis.

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Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: March 23, 2017

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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