Inflammation of the nose symptoms, causes and treatment

Whenever an individual has rhinitis, the interior of the nose becomes swollen or inflamed, and it can lead to cold-like symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, and itchiness. Inflammation of the nose is referred to as non-allergic rhinitis. However, allergic rhinitis is caused by an allergy. The symptoms of allergic and non-allergic rhinitis are very similar, yet their causes vary.


Non-allergic rhinitis occurs whenever the lining in the nose has become inflamed due to the swollen blood vessels and fluids that are building up inside the nose’ tissues. The swelling will then block the nasal passages and will stimulate the nose’s mucous glands that result in the runny or blocked nose.

Causes of non-allergic rhinitis 

• Environmental factors

• Medicines

• Certain drugs

• Infection

• Hormonal imbalance

• Nasal tissue damage

• Abuse of nasal decongestants

What is Non-allergic Rhinitis? 

People with non-allergic rhinitis can have blocked or runny nose that does not seem to recuperate. Or some of them complain about recurring problems. Whenever a person has inflammation of the nose, the blood vessels in the nose tend to expand. This leads to the lining of the nose to become swollen. It stimulates the mucous glands inside the notes, hence the drippy nose. This condition impacts kids and adults. Women are far more vulnerable to nasal congestion during pregnancy or monthly menstruation.

Kinds of Non-Allergic Rhinitis

There are various kinds of inflammation of the nose, here are some: 

Atrophic Rhinitis

Atrophic rhinitis occurs when the nose’s interior membranes, also known as turbinate tissues thin and grow hard, leading the nasal passage to grow full and become dry. As the turbinate tissue thins, it is prone to bacteria that can grow in the nasal cavity. Its loss can lead to infection or, worse, nose surgery. In this case, the crust forms inside the nose and can be smelly. When a sufferer attempts to remove them, some bleeding can occur. It can also cause a loss of sense of smell. The loss of one’s turbinate tissue occurs as people age. Also, it can be a result of certain complications from infection or any nose surgery. Atrophic rhinitis often happens to those who have undergone several nasal surgeries, where there is a complication, and the nose becomes inflamed. 

Infectious Rhinitis 

Infectious rhinitis, otherwise known as viral rhinitis, is often a result of infection, most likely from cold or flu. The nose lining and throat start to become inflamed once the virus attacks these areas — the inflammation results in mucus production leading to a runny nose and constant sneezing.

Vasomotor Rhinitis 

Vasomotor rhinitis can occur when the blood vessels inside the nose are susceptible. There is likewise an excellent nerve control of the blood vessels of the nose. Eventually, it can lead to the inflammation of the nose. Typically, the contraction and growth of the blood vessels help manage the mucus flow. When the blood vessels are susceptible, there are environmental triggers that can lead to these vessels to dilate. The dilation leads to the congestion of the nose and mucus overproduction. The trigger can range from smoke, changes in humidity, chemical irritants, paint, perfume, temperature changes, spicy foods, stress, and alcohol use.

Rhinitis medicamentosa 

Rhinitis medicamentosa is a kind of inflammation of the nose caused by drugs. The overuse of nasal decongestants, cocaine, beta-blockers, and aspirin can lead to inflammation. Decongestants are used to help reduce blood vessel swelling within the nose. But, when used for over a week, they can lead to nose inflammation yet again, even if the onset problem, such as cold, is already cured.

Nose Infection 

In most cases, non-allergic rhinitis occurs as a result of a specific infection that is directed at the lining of the throat and nose. This is often viral infection like cold, but at times fungal and bacterial infections can result in rhinitis.

The Environmental Triggers

In many individuals, inflammation of the nose happens as a result of environmental triggers like:

• Weather changes

• Smoke

• Paint fumes

• Perfume

• Spicy Food

• Alcohol

• Stress

The cause of this kind of rhinitis remains unknown to date; however, it is very likely to occur among those with susceptible nasal blood vessels.

• Non-allergic rhinitis can occur as a result of specific medication use, such as:

• Beta-blockers for heart disease

• ACE or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors for high blood

• Nasal decongestant sprays

• NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain

Inflammation of the nose can also occur with drug abuse like cocaine snorting. The exploitation of nasal decongestants can also cause this. The nasal decongestant spray work to reduce the swollen blood vessels within the nose. But, if they are overused for longer than seven days, they can cause the inner lining of the nose to become swollen. This can occur even after the allergy or cold has already been cured. When you or someone you know to use decongestants to reduce swelling, don’t. It will only make the problem worse.

The Hormonal Imbalance

The hormones in the body play a significant role in the swelling of the nasal blood vessels. Here are some hormonal imbalance that results in –

• Puberty

• Hormone replacement therapies (HRT) or hormone pills, contraceptive pills

• Pregnancy

Several health conditions can lead to hormonal imbalance, like hyperthyroidism, or an underactive thyroid leads to inflammation of the nose.

Nasal Tissue Damage

Within the nose are three bone ridges that are covered by layers of tissues. These tissues are known as turbinates. A kind of rhinitis known as atrophic rhinitis happens if the turbinates get damaged. Many of these can occur whenever the turbinates get removed or damaged from surgery, especially when they are surgically removed when they block airflow.

The turbinates play a crucial role in the functioning of the nasal area. They protect the nose from bacteria and other infections. Turbinates keep the insides of the nose moist, and once they are damaged, the tissues can be crusty, swollen, and susceptible to disease.

Inflammation of the Nose Treatments 

The treatment for an inflamed nose will have to depend on its cause. In some instances, as when viral infections cause it, the procedure will not be required. The disease will most likely clear up in one or two weeks. 

Treatment options to consider are: 

• Nasal spray

• Nasal rinse

• Avoiding triggers

• Changing medications

• Stopping the use of decongestants

Using Nasal Rinses 

There are times when rinsing your nose with saline solution can be very useful. This is also known as nasal douching or irrigation. Cleaning your nose passage will help flush out excess mucus in the nose and help stop inflammation as well as reduce symptoms like mouth irritation. Nasal irrigation is accomplished with the aid of saline solution or those from OTC rinses that can be found in the drugstores. You can use small syringes to help flush the solution to the insides of your nose. To make your own saline solution, you can take one teaspoon of salt and mix it with soda bicarbonate with boiled water that is left to cool down. Do not use it if the water is too hot; allow it to set to room temperature.

You will only use a tiny portion of this solution. Discard whatever leftovers you have.


– Stand on the sink and take a small amount of the solution to your palm.

– Sniff the water straight into your nostrils one at a time, or you can use a small syringe to flush your nose with the solution.

– Repeat until such time when you feel that your nose is already cleared.

When you do this solution, you can feel that some fluids will pass through your throat and the back of your nose. It is entirely safe to swallow the solution, or if you are uncomfortable, you can spit it out. Practice nasal douching a few times a day. Make a fresh saline solution each time you spray your nose. 

Using Nasal Sprays 

There are certain kinds of nasal sprays that help relieve specific symptoms of inflammation of the nose; they are:

• Steroid nasal sprays – antihistamine base, and they work against your inflamed nose.

• Decongestant nasal spray – relieves nasal congestion as it helps reduce swelling of the nasal blood vessels.

• Antihistamine nasal sprays – these can reduce swelling and treat your blocked or runny nose as it contains Antihistamine.

• Anticholinergic nasal sprays – reduces mucous levels in the nose and helps manage any blocked or runny nose.

All these can be bought over the counter from your local pharmacy without any prescription.

Always check the product information leaflet before you apply your nasal spray to your nose as it may not be suitable for use by everyone. If you are unsure if you should use these medications, always ask your medical doctor or pharmacist. Also, take some time to read the leaflet that goes with your nasal spray to know how to use the showers. When you use these decongestant sprays, do not use it for more than five to seven days. Overusing these sprays can result in a more inflamed nose.

Table of Medications

  • ipratropium
  • Atrovent Nasal
  • doxylamine
  • acetaminophen / chlorpheniramine
  • Coricidin HBP Cold & Flu
  • triprolidine
  • acetaminophen / dextromethorphan / doxylamine / phenylephrine
  • Equate Sleep Aid
  • acetaminophen / chlorpheniramine / dextromethorphan / phenylephrine
  • Care One Sleep Aid