Vasomotor Rhinitis

People with vasomotor rhinitis have similar symptoms to those with allergic rhinitis but are often a little older. They usually identify changes in temperature, humidity, easterly winds, sprays, paint, wine and other irritants as the cause. Sometimes it starts after a severe infection. In other patients it starts after surgery, or after many years of allergic rhinitis.

Symptoms include sneezing, congestion and runny nose, but the most common symptom is a post-nasal drip (feeling of mucous dripping down the back of the throat).

It is thought to be a problem with the nerves in the nose which control both the blood vessels and mucous secreting glands in the nose. If they are over-active, you can get a blocked nose and mucous secretion. In some people this is triggered by the irritants above.

The first thing to do is to exclude allergic rhinitis as the cause with skin testing. If there are no allergies, you can try washing the sinuses with salty water (saline lavage). If this is not effective there are other sprays available. Unfortunately desensitisation is not available and there is no effective cure.