Difference Between Allergic Rhinitis and Non-Allergic Rhinitis
Rhinitis is defined as the inflammation and irritation of the mucous membrane of the nose. While allergic rhinitis is the most common type of rhinitis, the condition may also be caused by non-allergic conditions. Whether the condition is caused by allergies or not, symptoms are similar and include congestion, a runny nose and chronic sneezing. However, the symptoms of non-allergic rhinitis are caused by no apparent reason. Symptoms are very similar to hay fever, but there is no type of allergic reaction causing the symptoms.
Allergic rhinitis is commonly caused by airborne allergens, including dander or pollen. Additional symptoms may include coughing that is caused by postnasal drip, which may also cause a tickling sensation in your throat. Itchy eyes, nose, ears and throat are also common symptoms. Blocked nose, sensitivity to light, poor sleep, facial pain or discomfort, irritability, ear pressure or difficulty hearing, and dark circles underneath the eyes are all symptoms that may appear over time.
Non-allergic rhinitis doesn’t typically cause all of the symptoms associated with allergic reactions. Symptoms may include a runny and stuffy nose in addition to postnasal drip (throat phlegm), but do not usually include allergic symptoms such as itchy eyes, nose, ears and throat. Whatever the cause, the end result is the same – congestion and enlarged nasal membranes.
A few common causes of non-allergic rhinitis include:
- Changes in the weather, including humidity and temperature changes.
- Hot or spicy foods, or alcoholic beverages can cause your nasal membranes to swell for a relatively short period of time.
- Infections, such as the flu or a cold.
- Changes in hormones due to an oral contraceptive, pregnancy or menstruation.
- Some medications, such as blood pressure medications or anti-inflammatory drugs. (If you are experiencing side effects from any medications, be sure to discuss this with your doctor)
- Stress – emotional or physical.
If you feel you are experiencing congestion and enlarged nasal membranes or similar symptoms listed in this article, please contact ENT Clinic Sydney to speak to our ENT specialist Dr. Michael Barakate, phone 1300 123 368.