Rhinitis is a condition that includes a runny nose, sneezing, and nasal stuffiness. When hay fever or allergies are not causing these symptoms, the condition is called nonallergic rhinitis. One type of nonallergic rhinitis is called nonallergic rhinopathy. This condition used to be known as vasomotor rhinitis.
Nonallergic rhinopathy is not caused by an infection or allergy. The exact cause is unknown. Symptoms are triggered by something that irritates the nose, such as:
- A dry atmosphere
- Air pollution
- Certain medicines
- Spicy foods
- Strong emotions
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion (stuffy nose)
- Watery nasal drainage
Exams and Tests
The doctor will ask about your symptoms, when they occur, and what seems to trigger them.
You will also be asked about your home and work environment. The doctor may look inside your nose and see that the tissues lining your nose are swollen due to inflamed blood vessels.
A skin test may be done to rule out allergies as a cause of your symptoms.
If your doctor determines you cannot have skin testing, special blood tests may help with the diagnosis. These tests, known as IgE RAST tests, can measure the levels of allergy-related substances. A complete blood count (CBC) test can measure eosinophils (allergy-type white blood cells) to get a total eosinophil count. This may also help diagnose allergies.
The main treatment is simply avoiding the things that trigger your symptoms.
In some cases, decongestants or a nasal spray containing an antihistamine may help. Corticosteroid nasal sprays may be useful for some forms of nonallergic rhinopathy.
Rhinitis - nonallergic; Idiopathic rhinitis; Nonallergic rhinitis; Vasomotor rhinitis
Corren J, Baroody FM, Pawankar R. Allergic and nonallergic rhinitis. In: Adkinson NF Jr., Bochner BS, Burks AW, Busse WW, et al., eds. Middleton's Allergy Principles and Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 42.
Joe SA, Liu JZ. Nonallergic rhinitis. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Lund V, et al., eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2015:chap 43.
Update Date 5/2/2015
Updated by: Stuart I. Henochowicz, MD, FACP, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology, Georgetown University Medical School, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.