Non-Al­ler­gic Rhini­tis

Reader's Digest International - - Contents - BY SA­MAN­THA RIDEOUT

WHEN YOUR NOSE is act­ing up but al­ler­gies have been ruled out as the cause, non-al­ler­gic rhini­tis (NAR) is the di­ag­no­sis that usu­ally fol­lows. Typ­i­cally, your eyes, nose and throat won’t itch when al­ler­gies aren’t at play, but NAR can in­volve a runny nose, con­ges­tion, post­nasal drip or sneez­ing. These dis­com­forts can drag on and be­come a hin­drance to your qual­ity of life.

The long list of pos­si­ble trig­gers for NAR in­cludes in­fec­tion, tem­per­a­ture changes, cig­a­rette smoke, chem­i­cal fumes, al­co­hol, stress and a hor­monal im­bal­ance (of­ten re­sult­ing from pu­berty, preg­nancy, hor­monal re­place­ment ther­apy or birth con­trol). Even get­ting older can do it: a sub-type of NAR known as se­nile rhini­tis ap­pears to stem from an age-re­lated dys­func­tion of the nerves in­side the nose.

Med­i­ca­tions can also set off NAR, from beta-block­ers and NSAIDs to de­con­ges­tant nasal spray. The lat­ter may re­duce swelling and un­clog your nose dur­ing a cold or an al­ler­gic re­ac­tion, but when taken for more than five to seven con­sec­u­tive days, it can trig­ger new swelling. For some peo­ple, tak­ing nasal de­con­ges­tants to counter de­con­ges­tant-re­lated symp­toms be­comes a vi­cious cy­cle.

Ob­vi­ously, elim­i­nat­ing the root cause of NAR is the best way to rid your­self of the con­di­tion. How­ever, for roughly half of NAR pa­tients, there isn’t a clear cause. A re­cent

What it is and how to treat it

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