Chronic Allergic and Non-allergic Rhinitis

Rhinitis simply refers to inflammation of the mucous membranes inside the nose. However, rhinitis can vary in cause, duration, and specific symptoms. Chronic rhinitis, which lasts more than four weeks, is a common condition with treatments that vary with specific underlying causes. Houston nose and sinus specialist Dr. Shawn Allen is a board-certified ENT and fellowship-trained Rhinologist with the skill and experience needed to properly diagnose and treat chronic allergic and non-allergic rhinitis.

Middle aged woman blowing her nose

Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis is a common condition, affecting up to Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Allergic Rhinitis: A Clinical and Pathophysiological Overview Muhamad NHS, Tina TH, Norasnieda S, Suryani MAN, Keng WK Go to Source 40% of people in the world. Allergic rhinitis can be seasonal or perennial (present all of the time). Seasonal allergic rhinitis is caused by environmental factors such as trees, grasses, ragweed, and other types of pollen. Often occurring in the spring and fall, this is sometimes referred to as “hay fever.” Perennial allergic rhinitis is caused by allergens that you may encounter year-round. This type is most commonly caused by indoor allergens, such as pet dander, mold, and dust mites.

Non-allergic Rhinitis

Acute non-allergic rhinitis is usually caused by an infection, such as the common cold. Chronic non-allergic rhinitis can have a number of causes and people who suffer with it often have difficulty obtaining an accurate diagnosis—which is why it is important to see a qualified Rhinologist like Dr. Allen. Non-allergic rhinitis symptoms may result from a physical abnormality, such as nasal polyps or a deviated septum. They can also be caused by smoking, chemical/fume exposures, pollution, or overuse of certain medications or nose sprays like oxymetazoline (Afrin).

Man blowing his nose while sitting on the couch

Chronic Rhinitis Symptoms

  • Sneezing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Postnasal drip
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Watery, itchy eyes
  • Diminished smell, taste, or hearing

Diagnosing Chronic Rhinitis

Dr. Allen understands that chronic rhinitis takes a toll on overall quality of life. He also knows that the key to successful treatment is an accurate diagnosis. Dr. Allen draws on his extensive training and experience, as well as a range of diagnostic tools, to get to the root of a patient’s symptoms. He may begin with allergy testing to determine if the rhinitis is allergic in nature. If the rhinitis is suspected to be non-allergic, nasal endoscopy or imaging may reveal a physical cause. In any case, Dr. Allen will take a thorough medical history, review symptoms, and discuss lifestyle factors in order to make an accurate diagnosis that will inform a personalized treatment plan likely to succeed.

Allergic and Non-allergic Rhinitis Treatment

When patients come to Dr. Allen for ongoing rhinitis symptoms, they have typically already tried front-line treatments such as over-the-counter decongestants, antihistamines, and nasal sprays. Dr. Allen may prescribe corticosteroid medication, which is effective in many cases. For chronic allergic rhinitis, he may recommend immunotherapy (allergy shots or drops). For cases that do not respond to medication, and for cases in which the nasal passages are physically blocked, he may recommend endoscopic nasal or sinus surgery or a non-surgical treatment for rhinitis such as posterior nasal nerve ablation (Clarifix).

Dr. Shawn Allen

Contact Dr. Shawn Allen

Dr. Allen is a leader in the treatment of nose and sinus conditions, and is known for providing effective care for difficult cases. If your quality of life is diminished by chronic rhinitis, he can help. Contact us to schedule a consultation appointment.

1 Muhamad NHS, Tina TH, Norasnieda S, Suryani MAN, Keng WK. Allergic Rhinitis: A Clinical and Pathophysiological Overview. Frontiers in Medicine, Vol.9, 2022. Available:

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Dr. Shawn Allen has either authored or reviewed and approved this content.

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