Chronic Rhinitis: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment in Denver
Chronic rhinitis, whether allergic or nonallergic, can be difficult to manage on your own. Our experienced team at Advanced ENT & Allergy Center will uncover the root cause of your rhinitis and help you find lasting relief.
What is Chronic Rhinitis?
Rhinitis is inflammation of the inner lining of the nose. Though acute rhinitis lasts only a few days, chronic rhinitis can persist for months or even years. If you’ve been dealing with congestion, sneezing, postnasal drip, or a runny nose that just won’t go away, you might have chronic rhinitis.
Millions of Americans experience the symptoms of allergic or nonallergic rhinitis. Thankfully, with treatment at Advanced ENT & Allergy Center, you can reduce your symptoms and breathe easier, no matter the season.
Allergic vs Non-Allergic Rhinitis
Allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever, is your body’s response to certain airborne allergens.
If you step outside during pollen season, you might experience an allergic reaction that includes congestion, sneezing, and a runny or itchy nose. Other triggers, like pet dander, mold, or dust mites, can also cause allergies to flare up, resulting in a stuffy nose, postnasal drip, and itchy, watery eyes.
Nonallergic rhinitis gives rise to similar symptoms, but it isn’t caused by an allergen.
From air pollutants to hormonal changes, there are many potential triggers of nonallergic rhinitis. Unlike allergic rhinitis, nonallergic rhinitis doesn’t cause itchy eyes, nose, or throat. Left untreated, nonallergic rhinitis can lead to serious damage, such as sinusitis, nasal polyps, sinus infections, and chronic ear infections.
Symptoms of Chronic Rhinitis
So, how can you distinguish between the two types of rhinitis? Here’s the easiest way: if you have itchy eyes, you’re probably dealing with allergic rhinitis. For more info, check out this chart that compares and contrasts symptoms:
Common Causes of Chronic Rhinitis
Another way to differentiate between varieties of rhinitis is by keeping track of what makes your symptoms worse. Here’s a closer look at some common triggers for each type.
Causes of Allergic Rhinitis
When you come into contact with an allergen, your body releases a chemical that shields it from the unwanted substance. This chemical — histamine — is the reason for your sneezing, itching, and difficulty breathing. In short, it’s the true culprit behind your allergic response.
Common allergens include:
- Tree pollen
- Grass pollen
- Pet dander
- Dust mites
Chronic allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, can be seasonal or perennial. Seasonal allergies occur during specific times of the year (usually spring and fall), in response to outdoor allergens like pollen. Perennial allergies can appear at any time, typically caused by indoor allergens like dust mites, animals, or mold.
Causes of Nonallergic Rhinitis
Though chronic nonallergic rhinitis is still a bit of a mystery, experts have recently discovered some common causes.
Unlike allergic rhinitis, nonallergic rhinitis doesn’t involve the immune system. It’s caused by the expansion of blood vessels inside the nose, often in response to a specific trigger. This nasal inflammation can result in congestion, runny nose, and other sinus problems.
Common triggers include:
- Environmental irritants (like air pollution, perfume or detergent)
- Changes in the weather or air quality
- Cold or flu
- Thyroid conditions
- Nasal passage issues (e.g. deviated septum, enlarged turbinates, or adenoids)
- Chronic sinusitis
- Certain foods and beverages (hot foods, spicy foods, alcohol)
- Medications (aspirin, ibuprofen, beta-blockers, antidepressants, oral contraceptives, etc.)
- Overuse of nasal decongestant sprays
- Hormonal changes (often due to pregnancy or menstruation)
- Sinus surgery
How to Diagnose Chronic Rhinitis
If your rhinitis symptoms continue for several weeks and your body isn’t responding to over-the-counter medications, it’s time to see a doctor.
Our team at Advanced ENT & Allergy Center can perform an allergy test to determine if allergies are the root cause. Then, we’ll offer a path for treatment. Our treatment plans often combine medication, lifestyle changes, and home remedies.
If your rhinitis is non-allergic, we’ll help you uncover its cause and check your nasal passages for structural issues (for example, a deviated septum). Based on our findings, we’ll work with you to develop an effective treatment plan.
Managing the symptoms of chronic rhinitis often requires a blend of oral medications, lifestyle changes, and at-home remedies. In severe cases, surgery might be necessary.
Antihistamines are the front line of defense against symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Antihistamines can be purchased over-the-counter or in prescription form. Prescription nasal sprays are another key element for treating chronic symptoms.
These medications are frequently used to treat allergic rhinitis:
- Antihistamines (Claritin, Zyrtec, Allegra)
- Decongestant nasal sprays (don’t use these for more than three days!)
- Anticholinergic nasal sprays
- Saline nasal sprays
- Steroid nasal sprays
- Allergy shots or sublingual immunotherapy
The simplest path to chronic rhinitis treatment is avoiding the triggers altogether. You can reduce exposure using these easy solutions:
- Close your windows when pollen counts are high
- Wear a mask and sunglasses when working outside
- Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter
- Bathe your pets often
- Avoid secondhand smoke
- Use an air purifier
- Change heating and air condition filters frequently
- Wash bedding weekly
- Shower after being outside
Home remedies are useful for treating both allergic and nonallergic rhinitis. Here are some tips to help clear your nasal passages, encourage mucus drainage, and provide immediate relief:
- Use nasal irrigation or nasal lavage to alleviate nasal symptoms (like a saline nasal spray or neti pot)
- Take nasal decongestants
- Drink lots of water
- Buy a humidifier
- Avoid caffeine
If your chronic rhinitis is caused by structural issues in the nose, like a deviated septum or enlarged turbinates, medications and home remedies may not relieve symptoms. An ENT specialist can help you understand your underlying issues and decide if surgery is the best path forward.
Why Advanced ENT & Allergy Center?
At Advanced ENT, we’re committed to providing medical care of the highest quality. Our team specializes in sinus issues, allergies, and ear, nose, and throat care. We provide expertise and empathy during our conversations, building a treatment plan that meets your needs.
We know that doctor’s appointments can be a source of stress and anxiety for our patients. That’s why we do everything in our power to make you feel comfortable. At Advanced ENT, we promise to:
- Treat you with care and respect.
- Answer all of your questions completely.
- Take time to find a solution that works for you.
- Help you find the right treatment for your insurance plan.
We offer in-office, online, and at-home appointments. If you’re ready to get relief from your chronic rhinitis, contact us today.
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Serving Patients in Denver & Beyond
Though our main office is in Denver, Colorado, we work with patients from all over the state.
Whether you’re in Denver, Greenwood Village, or somewhere else in colorful Colorado, we’ve got a treatment plan that will help you find relief. Give us a call at (303) 792-3242 or visit our office:
6110 Greenwood Plaza Blvd.,
Greenwood Village CO 80111
Monday-Thursday: 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Friday: 7:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
From I-25, take the exit for Orchard Rd. After turning onto Greenwood Plaza Blvd., we’ll be right beside the street. Patient parking is available just outside of our building — and there are plenty of dining options in the area!
Get Relief From Your Chronic Rhinitis
Managing chronic rhinitis alone is a serious burden. Our team is here to help. We won’t just discover the cause of your rhinitis — we’ll build an effective treatment plan that works for you.
If you’re ready to breathe a little easier, call us at (303) 792-3242 or book a free consultation today. or book a free consultation today.