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Rhinitis and Sinus Relief

Updated on June 13, 2010

Rhinitis and sinusitis affect more than 50 million people in the U.S. alone and millions more worldwide.

Rhinitis

What is Rhinitis? Rhinitis is the medical term given to a runny or stuffy nose that won’t get better or the symptoms come back repeatedly. It can be classified as follows;

  • Non-allergic (vasomotor) rhinitis
  • Allergic rhinitis

Non-Allergic (Vasomotor) Rhinitis 

What are the main causes?

The linings of the nose become swollen due to inflammation. The mucus glands in the nose get stimulated, causing a congested, runny nose. Many things can trigger this nasal swelling such as;

  • Environmental or occupational irritants - Dust, smog, chemical fumes, second hand smoke or strong odours such as perfumes.
  • Weather changes - Temperature or humidity changes
  • Infections - A viral infection such as the cold or flu is a common cause. This type of non-allergic rhinitis usually clears up within a few weeks but can cause lingering mucus in the throat (post nasal drip). Sometimes this type of rhinitis can become chronic, causing ongoing discoloured nasal discharges, facial pain and tenderness (sinusitis).
  • Foods and beverages - Hot or spicy food, beer, wine and other alcohol and food types can cause nasal inflammation.
  • Certain medications - Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) such as aspirin and ibuprofen and high blood pressure medications such as beta blockers. Sedatives, antidepressants, oral contraceptives and drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction can also cause it.
  • Hormone changes - Changes in hormones due to pregnancy, menstruation, oral contraceptive use or a hormonal condition called hypothyroidism.
  • Stress - Emotional or physical stress.
  • Prolonged use of decongestant nasal drops or sprays - Using these for more than the recommended time (usually a few days) can cause more severe nasal congestion when the decongestant wears off, often called rebound congestion.
  • Certain health problems - A number of chronic health conditions can cause or worsen rhinitis such as asthma, lupus, cystic fibrosis etc.

Allergic Rhinitis

What are the causes?

Allergic rhinitis is an immune system disorder where the body over reacts to harmless substances in the environment such as pollen, dust, mold, danders and food. Allergy producing substances are called allergens.

Allergens cause the activation of a certain type of antibody known as IgE. This antibody triggers the release of certain chemicals from cells in your nose such as histamine, resulting in an extreme inflammatory response and the associated allergic rhinitis symptoms. The main causes of allergic rhinitis are as follows;

  • Hereditary (runs in the family)
  • Sex (boys have a higher risk of developing an allergy than girls)
  • Age
  • Alteration in exposure to infectious diseases during early childhood
  • Environmental pollutants
  • Allergen levels
  • Dietary changes

Acute Sinusitis

What is acute sinusitis?

Acute sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses) also called acute rhinosinusitis does not last for more than 12 weeks. The sinuses become swollen and inflamed leading to nasal congestion, sinus pain, headaches etc.

What are the main causes?

The mucous membranes of the nasal passages become swollen and inflamed, the openings get blocked and proper sinus drainage is inhibited leading to a mucous build up. These blocked, inflamed sinuses create a moist environment that makes it easier for bacterial infection to occur and take hold. Usually a cold/flue or allergies cause the nasal congestion to occur.

Chronic Sinusitis

What is chronic sinusitis?

Chronic sinusitis lasts longer than twelve weeks or keeps coming back and people have been known to suffer from it for over fifty years. This can really have a profound affect on peoples quality of life. The sinuses become swollen and inflamed leading to nasal congestion, sinus pain, headaches etc.

What are the main causes?

The mucous membranes of the nasal membranes become swollen and inflamed, the openings get blocked and proper sinus drainage is inhibited leading to a mucous build up. These blocked, inflamed sinuses create a moist environment that makes it easier for bacterial infection to occur and take hold.

It is caused by;

  • recurring bouts of acute sinusitis combined with a low immune system.
  • allergies.
  • fungal infections.
  • nasal polyps (growth in the sinuses) or tumours.
  • deviated nasal septum.
  • trauma to the face (a fractured or broken bone may obstruct the sinuses).
  • Medical conditions such as cystic fibrosis, gastroesophageal reflux, HIV and other immune system diseases.
  • Immune system cells (with certain health conditions immune cells called eosinophils can cause inflammation).
  • Regular exposure to pollutants such as cigarette smoke.

Rhinitis and Sinus Relief is a non-profit making organisation that provides a wealth of useful information to rhinitis and sinusitis sufferers and health physicians alike.

Rhinitis and Sinus Relief provides information regarding the main types of treatment available.

For further information please visit www.rhinitisandsinusrelief.co.uk.

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