Rhinitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the mucous membrane lining the nose and is associated with symptoms of a cold. There are two types of rhinitis: allergic rhinitis, which occurs due to an allergy to irritants such as dust and pollen, and non-allergic rhinitis, which can occur even in the absence of an allergen. Vasomotor rhinitis is a type of non-allergic rhinitis that occurs when blood vessels in your nose swell when exposed to triggers such as dry weather, odors, viral infection, certain medications and spicy foods. Symptoms of vasomotor rhinitis include a runny or stuffy nose and phlegm in the throat. Itchy nose and eyes are usually not present and may indicate an allergic cause.
Your doctor diagnoses vasomotor rhinitis after ruling out other conditions. Allergic rhinitis has similar symptoms, but is associated with an itchy throat and nose, and watery eyes. Further, a skin test may be ordered to identify the presence of any allergies. Blood tests are ordered to check your immune system. Your nasal passages may be visualized with a nasal endoscope or CT scan to look for structural abnormalities caused by sinus problems, nasal polyps or a deviated nasal septum, which can aggravate symptoms.
To treat vasomotor rhinitis, your doctor may suggest certain over-the-counter medications such as decongestants and nasal sprays, or prescribe medication to treat your symptoms. You are cautioned against overuse of decongestants as this may intensify symptoms. Surgery is sometimes necessary to correct structural abnormalities.