Rhinitis: the different rhinitis, their causes and treatments

Rhinitis, often mistaken for the common cold, is in fact a complex inflammation of the nasal mucosa that can have a major impact on our daily lives.

๐Ÿ”Ž To take a metaphorical example, imagine that your nose is a motorway where traffic (air) normally flows freely.

When rhinitis strikes, it's as if an accident or traffic jam has occurred, blocking this circulation and causing congestion, runny noses and sneezing.

This condition can be triggered by a number of factors:

๐Ÿ’Š allergens such as pollen and house dust mites,

๐Ÿ’Š irritants such as pollution or tobacco,

๐Ÿ’Š viral infections.

Each type of rhinitis has its own characteristics and therefore requires specific treatment approaches.

Recognising the symptoms and understanding the underlying causes is important for effectively managing this condition and improving quality of life.

Key Points Summary
Rhinitis - Allergy, chronic, symptoms and treatments Rhinitis is a complex inflammation of the nasal mucosa that can be triggered by allergens, irritants, or infections. It manifests as congestion, nasal discharge, and sneezing.
Types of Rhinitis Types include allergic rhinitis, infectious, non-allergic non-infectious (NARES), vasomotor, atrophic, and drug-induced, each with specific characteristics and treatments.
Symptoms of Rhinitis Common symptoms include nasal discharge, nasal congestion, sneezing, nasal itching, watery eyes, and headaches.
Causes and Risks of Rhinitis Causes range from allergic reactions to common allergens, viral infections, to non-allergic and non-infectious factors. Risks include complications such as sinusitis or otitis.
Diagnosing Rhinitis Diagnosis may include questioning, clinical examination, nasal endoscopy, skin tests, blood tests, CT imaging, and rhinomanometry.
Treatments for Rhinitis Treatments vary from home remedies, alternative therapies, to medical interventions like the Back2Sleep intranasal orthotic to improve sleep quality.


What are the types of rhinitis?

Allergic rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis, often called hay fever, is caused by a reaction of the immune system to allergens such as:

๐Ÿ’Š pollen,

๐Ÿ’Š dust mites,

๐Ÿ’Š animal hair.

This form may be seasonal, occurring at specific times of the year, or perennial, persisting throughout the year.

Infectious rhinitis

Infectious rhinitis is caused by an infection, usually viral but sometimes bacterial.

It is characterised by symptoms similar to those of a common cold, including a runny nose and congestion.

Non-allergic non-infectious rhinitis (NARES)

Non-allergic eosinophilic rhinitis (NARES) is characterised by inflammation without any apparent allergy or infection.

They are often associated with chronic symptoms such as

๐Ÿ’Š nasal obstruction,

๐Ÿ’Š sneezing.

Vasomotor rhinitis

Vasomotor rhinitis is a non-allergic form where symptoms are triggered by :

๐Ÿ’Š temperature changes,

๐Ÿ’Š strong odours,

๐Ÿ’Š stress.

It is not caused by allergens or infections, but by hypersensitivity of the nerves in the nasal mucosa.

Atrophic rhinitis

In atrophic rhinitis, the nasal mucosa thins and becomes dry, which can lead to a feeling of blocked nose and a diminished sense of smell.

๐Ÿ’ก This condition is more common in the elderly or following nasal surgery.

Medicated rhinitis

Medicated rhinitis is caused by the prolonged use of decongestant nasal sprays.

It causes rebound congestion when the drug is stopped.

It often requires controlled withdrawal to resolve the symptoms.


How do you identify the symptoms of rhinitis?

One of the symptoms of rhinitis: a runny nose

Runny nose, or rhinorrhoea is one of the most common symptoms of rhinitis.

It is characterised by a clear, fluid discharge from the nose.

This discharge may become thicker and purulent if an infection develops.

One of the symptoms of rhinitis: nasal congestion

Nasal congestion, often described as a blocked nose, is another common indicator of rhinitis.

It results from inflammation and swelling of the nasal mucosa, which reduces the air space in the nasal passages and makes breathing difficult.

One of the symptoms of rhinitis: sneezing

Frequent and sometimes violent sneezing is typical of rhinitis, especially allergic rhinitis.

๐Ÿ’ก They are caused by irritation of the nasal mucosa.

One of the symptoms of rhinitis: itchy nose

Itching in or around the nose is a common symptom, particularly in cases of allergic rhinitis.

โš  This sensation can lead to frequent rubbing or pinching of the nose.

One of the symptoms of rhinitis: watery eyes

Often associated with allergic rhinitis, watery eyes are caused by eye irritation due to the same allergens that affect the nose.

This can also include itching and redness of the eyes.

One of the symptoms of rhinitis: headaches

Headaches can occur, particularly if rhinitis leads to sinusitis or severe congestion affecting the frontal and maxillary sinuses, increasing pressure in the head.

What are the causes and risks of rhinitis?

Allergic causes of rhinitis

The allergic rhinitis is caused by an excessive immune reaction to normally harmless substances.

Common allergens include:

๐Ÿ’Š pollens,

๐Ÿ’Š dust mites,

๐Ÿ’Š animal hair,

๐Ÿ’Š mould.

Exposure to these allergens can lead to symptoms such as:

๐Ÿ’Š runny nose,

๐Ÿ’Š sneezing,

๐Ÿ’Š congestion.

Infectious causes of rhinitis

Viruses, particularly rhinoviruses are often responsible for infectious rhinitis, commonly known as the common cold.

These infections are particularly common in winter and can be easily transmitted from person to person.

Non-allergic and non-infectious causes of rhinitis

Some forms of rhinitis, such as vasomotor rhinitis and rhinitis caused by medication, are neither allergic nor caused by infection.

โ–ถ ย Vasomotor rhinitis can be triggered by :

๐Ÿ’Š climate change,

๐Ÿ’Š spicy foods,

๐Ÿ’Š alcohol,

๐Ÿ’Š stress.

โ–ถย  Medicated rhinitis, on the other hand, is often caused by the prolonged use of decongestant nasal sprays.

Risks related to physiological or environmental conditions

Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during pregnancy, or particular environmental conditions, such as exposure to chemical irritants or pollution, can also cause or aggravate rhinitis.

Risks of complications

If not properly treated, rhinitis can lead to complications such as sinusitis or otitis, especially in children.

In addition, chronic rhinitis can significantly affect quality of life, leading to sleep problems and reduced productivity at work or school.

Symptรดme rhinite

How is rhinitis diagnosed?

Questioning and clinical examination to diagnose rhinitis

Questioning the patient helps to understand:

๐Ÿ’Š symptoms,

๐Ÿ’Š their frequency,

๐Ÿ’Š potential triggers.

Clinical examination may include inspection of the nasal cavities to identify abnormalities such as deviated septum or the presence of polyps.

Nasal endoscopy to diagnose rhinitis

Nasal endoscopy, performed with a nasofibroscope, enables the inside of the nasal cavity to be viewed directly and signs detected:

๐Ÿ’Š inflammation,

๐Ÿ’Š of secretions,

๐Ÿ’Š abnormal formations such as polyps.

Skin tests to diagnose rhinitis

For allergic rhinitis, skin tests such as prick tests are frequently used to identify the specific allergens responsible for the symptoms.

๐Ÿ’ก These tests involve applying small quantities of allergen to the skin to observe reactions.

Blood tests to diagnose rhinitis

Blood tests can measure levels of IgE antibodies specific to certain allergens, helping to confirm allergic rhinitis when skin tests are inconclusive or possible.

Scanning to diagnose rhinitis

A sinus scan may be required to rule out other causes of nasal symptoms, such as:

๐Ÿ’Š sinusitis,

๐Ÿ’Š anatomical abnormalities (particularly in cases of chronic rhinitis or when symptoms are severe).

Rhinomanometry to diagnose rhinitis

Rhinomanometry, which measures the flow of air through the nasal passages, can be used to assess the degree of nasal obstruction.

This examination often complements endoscopy to assess the effectiveness of treatments or the need for surgery.

What are the treatments for rhinitis?

Home remedies

Home remedies for rhinitis often include the use of essential oils and natural solutions to relieve nasal congestion and symptoms.

๐Ÿ”Ž For example, eucalyptus and peppermint essential oils are renowned for their decongestant properties and can be used for inhalation.

In addition, regular nose washes with saline solution or seawater sprays are recommended to keep the mucous membranes hydrated and help eliminate secretions.

Alternative therapies

Certain alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, are sometimes explored by people suffering from chronic forms of rhinitis, particularly vasomotor rhinitis.

Although the effectiveness of these methods may vary from personto person, they offer an option for those looking for solutions other than traditional pharmacological treatments.

Back2Sleep intranasal orthosis

The intranasal orthosis by Back2Sleep is an innovative solution for people suffering from rhinitis, particularly when associated with sleep disorders such as sleep apnoea.

This brace helps maintain adequate nasal breathing during sleep, reducing symptoms of congestion and improving sleep quality.


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