Chronic Rhinitis and Post-Nasal Drip

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

View 10 Common Allergy Triggers

Quick GuideSinus Infection (Sinusitis) Symptoms and Treatment Options

Sinus Infection (Sinusitis) Symptoms and Treatment Options

Is rhinitis always related to allergies?

No, rhinitis may have many causes other than allergies.

Non-allergic rhinitis occurs in those individuals in whom an allergic or other cause of rhinitis cannot be identified, and the rhinitis occurs for weeks to months at a time for at least a year. These conditions may not have the other allergic manifestations such as, itchy and runny eyes and are also more persistent and less seasonal.

Forms of non-allergic rhinitis include:

  • Idiopathic rhinitis often does not have a specific cause identified, but commonly includes upper respiratory infections.
  • Vasomotor rhinitis is thought to occur because of abnormal regulation of nasal blood flow and may be induced by temperature fluctuations in the environment such as, cold or dry air, or irritants such as:
    • air pollution,
    • smog,
    • tobacco smoke,
    • car exhaust,
    • strong odors such as, detergents or fragrances, or
    • weather conditions (such as the arrival of a weather front).
  • Gustatory rhinitis may present predominantly as runny nose (rhinorrhea) related to consumption of hot or spicy food.
  • Rhinitis of pregnancy or, generally speaking, hormonal alterations as seen with pregnancy, menopause, and some thyroid changes have been linked to rhinitis.
  • Atrophic rhinitis following extensive sinus surgery or from a rare nasal bacterial infection.
  • Non-allergic rhinitis with nasal eosinophilia syndrome (NARES) is characterized by a clear nasal discharge. The nasal discharge is found to have eosinophils (allergic cell type), although the patient may not have any other evidence of allergy by skin testing or history or symptoms.

Occupational rhinitis may arise from exposure to irritants at a person's workplace with improvement of symptoms after the person leaves the workplace.

Other causes of rhinitis may be related to:

Picture of sinus polyps (nasal polyps)

Infections, mostly viral, are a common cause of rhinitis. Viral rhinitis is usually not chronic and may resolve by itself.

Sometimes rhinitis may be related to other generalized medical conditions such as:

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/22/2015

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