Do I have allergic or vasomotor rhinitis?

Fact Checked

In some individuals, they are suffering from rhinitis which is an inflammation of the coating in the nose. The condition can be categorized as non-allergic or allergic. When it comes to vasomotor rhinitis, it is a type of non-allergic rhinitis that is not triggered by infection and lacks the high levels of eosinophils. Even though the causes are distinct, the symptoms of the two types of rhinitis tend to overlap and include runny or stuffed nose, postnasal drip and sneezing.

What is allergic rhinitis?

Allergic rhinitis is triggered by a reaction to a particular airborne allergen such as insect droppings, pollen, animal dander or grass.

What is vasomotor rhinitis?

The symptoms of vasomotor rhinitis include persistent runny nose and nasal congestion but can vary from one individual to another. Unlike with allergic rhinitis, itchy eyes and nose as well as sneezing are less evident in this type of rhinitis. Individuals who have vasomotor rhinitis are divided into two – “runners” who have persistent drippy nose and “dry” who suffer from congestion and have minor runny nose.

The symptoms of vasomotor rhinitis include persistent runny nose and nasal congestion but can vary from one individual to another.

Diagnosing rhinitis

If an individual has either allergic or vasomotor, the doctor can determine the condition with a simple skin test that shows the results in just 20 minutes. Take note that there is no specific test for vasomotor rhinitis and the diagnosis is one of exclusion that is reached after allergens have been ruled out along with physical exam and health history.


By assessing the potential triggers, it can help determine if the condition of the individual is vasomotor or allergic. If the symptoms manifest right after changes in the temperature or barometric pressure, it is likely that the individual has vasomotor rhinitis. Other triggers include spicy foods and strong cooking odors. Both physical and emotional stress as well as sexual arousal is also possible causes. As for allergic rhinitis, it occurs if the individual sneezes and watery eyes when wheat is cut or when a pet is around.


Even though there is an overlap in the treatment options, it is vital to acquire a specific diagnosis early since certain medications are only beneficial for one type of rhinitis. The antihistamines taken orally as well as allergy shots only work with allergic rhinitis. If you want to learn more about these treatment options, read here.

The nasal antihistamines are the initial choice for the vasomotor type especially if the individual appears to have a mix of both types but the antihistamines in pill form are not. Ipratropium, which is available as a prescription nasal spray can help ease vasomotor rhinitis that involves persistent runny nose as the major symptom. Even nasal steroids are useful for both types of rhinitis. Based on several studies conducted, it was discovered that these are more effective than antihistamines even if the cause is an allergy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top

The information posted on this page is for educational purposes only.
If you need medical advice or help with a diagnosis contact a medical professional

  • All content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.