What is Rhinitis?
Inflammation of the nasal cavity lining, called rhinitis, can be caused by an allergen breathed in from the environment. However, rhinitis may also be non-allergic, being caused by non-allergy inducing triggers. Rhinitis may affect you for one season or the whole year, and may sometimes be infectious.
Symptoms of Rhinitis:
Rhinitis symptoms vary from mild to severe. They generally affect your nasal cavity, throat and eyes. Some of the symptoms are: a stuffy/runny nose, postnasal drip, sneezing, coughing, sore throat, itchy eyes/nose/throat and watery eyes. Some patients may also experience headaches, facial pain and loss of taste, smell or hearing.
Rhinitis Causes: Allergic Rhinitis
Allergic rhinitis occurs when your immune system detects an allergen and subsequently triggers an allergic reaction. These allergens are harmless to most people, but can be harmful to others who are allergic.
If you are allergic, your immune system reacts to these allergens by producing IgE (immunoglobulin E), which leads to the release of chemicals involved in an inflammatory response. These include histamine, which causes the symptoms to occur.
Seasonal allergic rhinitis, which usually occurs in spring, summer or early autumn, is commonly called “hay fever”. It is typically triggered by specific airborne allergens, such as mold/fungus spores or pollen. These specific pollen particles may come from trees, flowers, grasses and weeds.
However, when allergic rhinitis lasts for the whole year (perennial rhinitis), it may be caused by other allergens like mold, dust mite and cockroach droppings, or pet dander.
Rhinitis Causes: Non-allergic Rhinitis
Nonallergic rhinitis is different from allergic rhinitis in that it isn’t triggered by allergens and doesn’t involve the immune response that occurs with allergic rhinitis. This means it’s harder to diagnose. Non-allergic rhinitis may be triggered by: foreign material in your nose, infections, medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and some blood pressure-reducing medications, certain foods and odors such as smoke or other air pollutants, stress and hormonal changes.
Structural problems in the nasal cavity, such as polyps or a deviated septum with narrowed nasal passages, may also cause non-allergic rhinitis.
Rhinitis: Who is At Risk?
If you or your family have a history of eczema or asthma, it is more likely that you will experience allergic rhinitis. If you are regularly exposed to environmental irritants like secondhand smoke, the likelihood of experiencing nonallergic rhinitis increases as well.
How Can We Help You?
Traditional Chinese Medicine
While it is common sense to try to avoid the allergens and triggers which cause rhinitis, sometimes this is just not possible. In these situations, Western Medicine simply prescribes medications, or even immunotherapy, which may have risks or side effects. However, Chinese Medicine has a more holistic approach to treating issues such as rhinitis.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, all the organs and systems of the body are seen as interconnected, hence imbalances in one organ may have flow on effects on other organs in the body. For example, an imbalance or weakness in the functioning of the lungs or large intestine may manifest in symptoms in the nose, such as the symptoms of rhinitis. Hence, giving the lungs and large intestine a boost to regain their natural functioning may help to reduce rhinitis symptoms.
Please click here for more information about how we can help you treat rhinitis.
While Western Medicine tends to directly treat the symptoms of health problems like rhinitis, Chinese Medicine attempts to discover the root cause of the symptoms, then rebalance the body’s natural functions. This is done through acupuncture and Chinese herbs.