Chronic Rhinitis

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IntegratedENT - Chronic Rhinitis

Chronic rhinitis is a recurrent nasal blockage/discharge that doesn’t resolve on its own, and symptoms arise from the constant irritation or inflammation of the inner lining of the nose. Postnasal drip is one of the most common characteristics of chronic rhinitis, which is mucus that accumulates in the back of the nose and throat that drips down from the back of the nose.  Postnasal drip may lead to a chronic sore throat, a chronic cough, or throat clearing.

Symptoms of Chronic Rhinitis

Symptoms of chronic rhinitis usually include:

  • Congestion
  • Mouth breathing
  • Sinus pressure
  • Sinus infections
  • Runny nose
  • Postnasal drip
  • Chronic cough
  • Sore throat

Allergic Rhinitis

With allergic rhinitis (hay fever) symptoms often occur due to an allergic reaction to an allergen. The most common allergens include seasonal pollens (from trees, grasses, and weeds), as well as perennial indoor allergens, such as dust mites, pet dander, and some molds. Other allergens may include some workplace irritants. Food is not a common cause of allergic rhinitis in adults, but certain foods may cause nasal symptoms in some young children.  Symptoms generally include sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, and itching of the nose and throat. Nasal discharge is usually clear and watery.

Treatment for allergic rhinitis includes allergy medicine or immunotherapy (allergy shots).

Non-Allergic Rhinitis

Non-allergic or vasomotor rhinitis is associated with changes in the central nervous system’s control of the blood vessels in the nose. This overactive nerve in the nose stimulates the lining of the nose to become congested, runny, and have a postnasal drip. As a result, people are more sensitive to various factors including changes in humidity or exposure to chemicals (e.g., fumes, smoke, drafts, or wind).

Determining Which Kind of Rhinitis You Have

If you only have symptoms at certain times of the year, you most likely have allergic rhinitis. However, if the allergen is pet dander or house dust, you would have symptoms year-round, which is referred to as perennial allergic rhinitis. 

People who have non-allergic rhinitis do not respond to allergy treatments and allergy testing is negative. Unlike allergic rhinitis, non-allergic rhinitis doesn’t involve the immune system. And non-allergic rhinitis rarely causes an itchy nose, eyes, or throat as the allergic form does.

Other Causes of Chronic Rhinitis

Other causes of chronic rhinitis may include nasal obstruction from a deviated septum, a nasal polyp, or a foreign body (particularly in children), which can lead to congestion. Sinus infections may also lead to nasal congestion and produce a colored nasal discharge.

Chronic Rhinitis Diagnosed

The diagnosis of chronic rhinitis is based largely on symptomatic criteria. Your ENT (ear, nose, and throat) doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and will examine your nose.

As part of your initial assessment, your doctor may order a sinus x-ray to see if a sinus infection is present. Allergy skin testing may also be done to determine if certain allergens are triggering some or all of your nasal symptoms.

Treatments for Chronic Rhinitis

There are several options available to treat chronic rhinitis. The choice of treatment will take into account symptom severity and previous use of medication.

Your doctor may prescribe medications such as nasal antihistamines, nasal corticosteroids, or oral antihistamines to help alleviate your symptoms. There are also some home remedies like nasal irrigation that can help, as well as some over-the-counter nasal decongestant sprays.

If you have specific triggers that cause your symptoms, your doctor may advise you to avoid those triggers–things such as wood-burning stoves and fireplaces, cleaning agents and household sprays, perfumes, and scented products. Additionally, you may be advised to quit smoking or not to be around people who smoke, especially if this is one of your triggers.

If you don’t respond to medical management of your chronic rhinitis symptoms, your doctor may prescribe ClariFix treatment (this treatment is only available by prescription).

ClariFix Treatment

ClariFix is an FDA-cleared medical device used for treating chronic rhinitis in adults. ClariFix cryotherapy uses breakthrough cooling technology to target the inflamed nasal tissue and the underlying nerves, cooling them to freezing temperatures to reduce nerve signals and improve nasal symptoms. This treatment provides long-term chronic rhinitis symptom relief, reducing symptoms of a runny nose and congestion.

ClarifFix FAQs

During the procedure, your doctor places the ClariFix balloon inside the nose (under endoscopic guidance) on the nerve that causes the chronic rhinitis and it is rapidly cooled using nitrogen gas.

Yes, ClariFix can be done in your doctor’s office under local anesthesia.

Most patients tolerate the treatment very well. In a study of 27 patients, the cryotherapy was well-tolerated and patients reported an average pain rating of 1.19 on the Wong-Baker FACES pain scale (0 = minimum score, 5 = maximum score).

As with any cryosurgery procedure, there are some side effects, but those associated with the nasal passageway include, pain/discomfort, headache, facial pain, bleeding, dry nose, and ear blockage. These symptoms usually resolve on their own immediately after treatment or within a week or two after treatment.

The ClariFix device uses a special cooling probe to freeze a small area of nasal tissue in the back of the nose. The cooling time takes just a few minutes, and patients can go home within 30 minutes after the procedure.

ClariFix is safe. In a clinical study, the ClariFix device was found to be well-tolerated with no device or procedure-related serious adverse events.

There is minimal downtime for recovery from this treatment. Most patients can return to normal activities the next day.

Most patients begin to see improvement between 7 days and 30 days post-treatment.

After treatment, patients are advised to use saline irrigation for 3 weeks to help with temporary congestion.

ClariFix treatment provides a longer-lasting solution as it targets your nasal nerves that may be out of balance, causing your nasal symptoms. In interrupting the pathways of nasal nerves, ClariFix treatment reduces your symptoms associated with chronic rhinitis.

In a clinical study, 4 out of 5 people reported long-lasting improvement with the ClariFix device, including a reduction in symptoms of a runny nose and congestion. Chronic rhinitis symptoms improved by 56% at 90 days and improvement was maintained at 1 year.

Contact Us

If you are interested in treatment for chronic rhinitis, contact Integrated ENT of Lone Tree at (303) 706-1616 to set up a consultation.