Vasomotor Rhinitis

What is vasomotor rhinitis?

Vasomotor rhinitis is a runny or stuffy nose that is not caused by an allergy or infection. It is a type of nonallergic rhinitis.

What is the cause?

Vasomotor rhinitis happens when blood vessels lining the nose swell or when the nose makes too much mucus. What causes this to happen is not known. Triggers may include:

  • Changes in temperature or in the weather
  • Dry air
  • Perfume, smoke, or other smells
  • Alcohol
  • Spicy foods
  • Stress

What are the symptoms?

You have a runny or stuffy nose. Some people also have itching or sneezing.

How is it diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and medical history and examine you. You may have tests to check for other possible causes of your symptoms, such as allergies.

How is it treated?

Treatment may include

  • Saline nasal sprays or rinses to help wash out nasal passages
  • Decongestants pills or nasal spray to reduce swelling in your nose and sinuses and lessen the amount of mucus. Use decongestants as directed. If you are using a nonprescription nasal-spray decongestant, generally you should not use it for more than 3 days. After 3 days it may make your symptoms worse. Ask your healthcare provider if it is OK for you to use a nasal spray decongestant longer than this.
  • Antihistamine nasal spray to treat a runny nose. Antihistamine tablets are for allergies and do not usually help vasomotor rhinitis

If these treatments do not help, your provider may prescribe a steroid that you spray into your nose, or other medicine.

How can I take care of myself?

Follow the full course of treatment prescribed by your healthcare provider. In addition:

  • If you were prescribed steroid medicine, take it exactly as directed. Don’t take more or less of it than prescribed by your provider and don’t take it longer than prescribed. Don’t stop taking a steroid without your provider’s approval. You may have to lower your dosage slowly before stopping it.
  • Try to avoid the things that trigger your symptoms, such as spicy foods or alcohol.
  • Use a humidifier to put more moisture in the air. Avoid steam vaporizers because they can cause burns. Be sure to keep the humidifier clean, as recommended in the manufacturer’s instructions. It’s important to keep bacteria and mold from growing in the water container.

Ask your healthcare provider:

  • How and when you will hear your test results
  • How long it will take to feel better
  • If there are activities you should avoid and when you can return to your normal activities
  • How to take care of yourself at home
  • What symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if you have them

Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-09-03
Last reviewed: 2014-09-04
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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