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Vasomotor rhinitis



Vasomotor rhinitis is a nonallergic condition that involves a constant runny nose, sneezing, and nasal congestion.

See also:

Alternative Names

Rhinitis - nonallergic; Idiopathic rhinitis; Nonallergic rhinitis


Vasomotor rhinitis is not caused by an infection or allergy. The exact cause is unknown. Symptoms are triggered by something that irritates the nose, such as a dry atmosphere, air pollution, spicy foods, alcohol, strong emotions, or certain medications.

  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion (stuffy nose)
  • Sneezing
  • Watery nasal drainage (rhinorrhea)
Signs and tests

The doctor will ask you about your symptoms, when they occur, and what seems to trigger them.

You will also be asked about your home and work environment. The doctor may look inside your nose and see that the tissues lining the nose are swollen due to inflamed blood vessels.

Allergy skin tests may be done to rule out allergies as a cause of your symptoms.

Blood tests to determine your total serum IgE and total circulating eosinophil count may be ordered.

Support Groups

Expectations (prognosis)

Calling your health care provider



The primary treatment is simply avoiding the things that trigger your symptoms.

In some cases, decongestants or a nasal spray containing an antihistamine may help. Corticosteroid nasal sprays may be useful for some forms of vasomotor rhinitis.



Wallace DV, Dykewicz MS, Bernstein DI, Blessing-Moore J, Cox L, Khan DA, et al. The diagnosis and management of rhinitis: an updated practice parameter. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008 Aug:122(2).

Review Date: 5/25/2009
Reviewed By: Stuart I. Henochowicz, MD, FACP, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology, Georgetown University Medical School. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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