Rhinitis is your body’s reaction to irritants and allergens, particularly in your nose.
Rhinitis is a condition that causes inflammation in the nose and a triggered release of histamine in the body from airborne allergens. This trigger of histamine directly impacts the nose and eyes, creating the irritating sensation, we commonly refer to as "allergies.”
Common symptoms of rhinitis include sneezing, an itchy nose and itchy, watery eyes. If you have nasal discharge, this is usually a strong indication of rhinitis as well.
Rhinitis can often be a temporary condition, and resolves itself in a few days. However, for some people it can be a long term problem that causes discomfort and aggravation.
At our Del Rey MD locations in Southern California and Los Angeles, we have a number of specifically designed treatments available to patients who want relief and respite from the symptoms of rhinitis.
Why Would You Need Rhinitis Treatment?
Your nose produces mucus, a fluid which is normally thin and clear. It’s designed to stop dust and debris, as well as prevent allergens from reaching your lungs. Mucus can trap substances like pollen, bacteria, viruses and dust.
When your body and nose are functioning normally, mucus drains down your throat. You don’t even know it’s there most of the time because it’s thin and produced in small amounts.
However, when you have an allergic reaction or your nose becomes irritated, this mucus becomes thick and yellow, and may be produced in greater amounts, from the front and the back of your nose. The substances in the mucus can lead to irritation in the back of your throat and may cause coughing.
Candidates who are ideal for treatment for rhinitis typically have reactions to changes in the environment. Examples include pollen given off by trees, grass, and weeds, hormonal changes, medicines and overuse of topical nose sprays, smoke, and certain foods or spices.
In addition, there are a number of different types of rhinitis that patients can experience.
Typically, patients with acute rhinitis are having an allergic reaction or experiencing a viral illness, while patients experiencing allergic rhinitis have symptoms due to histamine being released in the body.
If you are experiencing itching, swelling, and fluid buildup in the lining of your nasal passages, sinuses, and eyelids, these are all indications you would be a good candidate for rhinitis treatment.
Other patients may experience seasonal allergic rhinitis; for example, hay fever. This type of rhinitis occurs in the spring and fall, when different pollen from trees, grasses and weeds are in the air.
Perennial allergic rhinitis is a result of allergens patients have a reaction to all year long. Dust mites, mold, animal dander and cockroach debris can cause perennial allergic rhinitis.
Non-allergic rhinitis is related to smoke, chemicals or other irritating environmental conditions.
At Del Rey MD, some of our patients experience rhinitis due to hormonal changes. Other patients have physical defects of the nose; for example, a deviated septum, which can cause non-allergic rhinitis. Medications and overuse of nasal sprays can also contribute to the condition.
Infectious rhinitis is considered to be the most common type of rhinitis, which is simply another way of referring to the common cold. A cold affects the mucus membranes of the nose and sinus cavities, causing an infection.
What Are the Treatments for Rhinitis?
While there is no surgical treatment for allergic or non-allergic rhinitis, at our Del Rey MD locations in Marina Del Rey, Long Beach, Bakersfield, Los Angeles, and surrounding Southern California, we have a number of ways to treat the condition, which revolve around alleviating symptoms.
First, one of our team of top-reviewed ear, nose and throat specialists conducts a thorough examination to establish if the patient is displaying symptoms of rhinitis.
Medications known as antihistamines can help treat the underlying cause of allergic rhinitis. Over-the-counter medications, including saline nasal sprays, decongestants, corticosteroid nasal sprays and allergy shots may all provide relief. However, it may be decided that over-the-counter or prescribed medications cannot support the patient's recovery.
At Del Rey MD, when patients come to our practice, it is usually because they have not found relief by using medications. Our sinus specialist may recommend an in-office CT scan to ascertain if a procedure is necessary. Once you have been assessed, a decision can be made as to the right procedure to alleviate your symptoms.
Balloon Sinus Dilation
At Del Rey MD, 100% of our balloon sinus dilation procedures are performed in the office. Our team has a vast amount of experience, so patients typically get through the procedure with the least amount of pain and the quickest recovery time.
During a Balloon SinuplastyTM, or balloon sinus dilation, one of our Del Rey MD sinus specialists uses a nasal spray with an anesthetic agent to numb the nose. Cotton soaked in a topical agent is used to numb the nose and sinuses even further.
The sinus balloon is inserted into the nasal passage and slowly inflated to restructure the blocked sinuses, so sinus drainage can return to normal during the entirely pain-free procedure.
Our sinus specialist then deflates and removes the balloon. How long the procedure takes depends on your specific condition and anatomy. Typically, patients spend around one and a half to two hours at the practice for the entire treatment process. This allows time for pre-treatment preparation and post-treatment examination.
Usually, a patient leaves our office and returns to work or school the same day or the next. We believe our patients get a superior quality of care because we do the highest number of balloon sinus dilation procedures in the state of California.
In some cases, the best treatment plan to pursue is the ClariFix procedure, as it is viewed as a better solution to alleviating rhinitis symptoms. ClariFix is a clinically-proven, minimally invasive cryotherapy, or localized freezing, of the inflamed area in the nose.
Using a small probe, one of our team can target the posterior nasal nerve and freeze the area, which alleviates irritation in the nose. During the procedure, patients typically experience a little pressure and a cold sensation in the nose. The procedure takes around 10 minutes to administer, and it usually takes between two and six weeks post-treatment to see improvements.
Del Rey MD is one of the recognized practices in the state of California carrying out the ClariFix procedure to alleviate the symptoms of chronic and allergic rhinitis. Dr. Sigari was one of the first physicians to introduce the process in Southern California. As a result, he and his expert teams in Marina Del Rey, Long Beach, Bakersfield, Los Angeles, and surrounding Southern California, have a superior amount of experience with providing ClariFix as a successful solution to rhinitis issues, and have seen more patients as a result of their expertise.
At Del Rey MD we offer RhinAer as a procedure to ease the discomfort and severe symptoms of rhinitis. One of our ENT physicians applies local anesthesia to numb the inside of the nose so the treatment is as pain-free as possible.
One of our sinus specialists then inserts a small wand into the nostril. The process uses low-temperature radiofrequency (RF) energy. RhinAer can precisely target and calm overactive nerves, by emitting the frequency from the end of the wand. The procedure can assist in reducing the production and flow of unwanted mucus. Another benefit of the treatment is that RhinAer can shrink inflamed soft tissue which leads to relief in congestion.
RhinAer treatment can be done in a matter of minutes, with patients able to go back to their daily lives with very minimal downtime.
In a study1 on the effectiveness of RhinAer as a treatment for rhinitis, 96% of patients treated with the procedure reported an improvement in their rhinitis symptoms at six months, with symptoms improving on average by 61%.
Dr. Sigari and his team are top-reviewed rhinitis specialists. He and his staff regularly attend seminars and research courses to build in-depth knowledge on ear, nose and throat procedures.
What Are the Positive Outcomes of Treating Rhinitis?
Patients who have had their symptoms for rhinitis treated successfully frequently find they can once again enjoy outdoor activities such as exercising, and time with family and friends.
Patients say previous to having their condition managed, it was often incredibly uncomfortable to be outside as pollen and other irritants made their symptoms frustrating. After treatment, patients have the ability to breathe easily, and the freedom to choose exactly what they want to do, giving them a vastly improved quality of life.
How do you know what type of rhinitis you have?
When you come for your first appointment at Del Rey MD, one of our sinus specialists will do an in-depth assessment of your condition to ascertain what type of rhinitis you are experiencing. Your treatment plan is then devised to suit your specific needs.
How long does it take to treat rhinitis?
Your individual course of treatment, whether it is prescribed medication, over-the-counter medication, or involves non-invasive surgery, will determine how long it will take for your treatment to take effect.
Is rhinitis viral or bacterial?
Acute rhinitis typically stems from viral infections, but it may also be a result of allergies, bacteria, or other causes. Chronic rhinitis usually occurs with chronic sinusitis.
Is rhinitis treatment covered by insurance?
Many health insurance companies now recognize the benefit of balloon sinus dilation, ClariFix, and RhinAer as necessary treatments for rhinitis and will cover the procedure when it is medically necessary. Since medical insurance plans are always changing, we recommend you contact your insurance provider to see if the procedure is covered or ask our office staff to assist you with this.
What Is the Cure for Rhinitis?
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for allergic rhinitis. Viral rhinitis (the common cold) resolves as your body heals. However, avoiding allergens or food triggers and using antihistamine medications or nasal sprays can relieve symptoms. If disruptive rhinitis symptoms persist, seeing an ENT specialist for balloon dilation, cryotherapy, or RF energy treatment could provide relief when over-the-counter medications fail.
Are Rhinitis and Sinusitis the Same?
Rhinitis and sinusitis share many symptoms, but the conditions aren’t the same. While rhinitis is an inflammation of the nasal membranes, sinusitis is an inflammation of your sinuses (the hollow passages in the bones surrounding your nose).
While you may have postnasal drip, a feeling of congestion, or a loss of smell with both, sinusitis can also cause fever and pain or pressure in the sinus area. Chronic rhinitis can lead to sinusitis which is why seeking treatment is essential.
Can Rhinitis Be Serious?
Rhinitis is an annoying condition that can impact the quality of your life. It rarely causes serious harm. However, if left untreated, chronic inflammation of the nasal passages can lead to:
- Sinusitis (AKA sinus infections)
- Painful middle ear infections
- Nasal polyps which can block airflow
If you struggle with chronic rhinitis, visiting an ENT specialist like those at Del Rey, MD can lower the risk of these complications.
Does Rhinitis Make You Tired?
Patients with chronic rhinitis often report feeling lethargic. It’s no surprise this irritating condition can affect your sleep too. Rhinitis has been associated with daytime drowsiness, impaired cognitive function, and lower quality of life. Congestion often worsens when you lie down, so sleeping in an elevated position may reduce rhinitis-associated fatigue.
Can Pregnancy Cause Rhinitis?
Unfortunately, swollen feet, low back pain, and nausea aren’t the only unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy – it can also affect your nose. Pregnancy rhinitis tends to occur suddenly and is thought to be brought on by hormonal changes. Often patients who have never experienced rhinitis before have it for the first time during pregnancy. A history of asthma or allergies doesn’t raise your risk. The good news is your stuffy nose will usually clear up soon after childbirth.
Does Rhinitis Get Worse with Age?
Geriatric rhinitis is a common condition that includes uncomfortable symptoms like facial pressure, decreased sense of smell and taste, nasal drainage, or sense of obstruction. While many older adults have allergic or viral rhinitis, you’re also more prone to atrophic rhinitis as you age.
This occurs when the tissue inside your nose thins and atrophies. As a result, your nasal cavities widen, and the passages dry out, causing a nasal crust to form. Antibiotic ointments, nasal sprays, and a humidifier can alleviate symptoms. However, if your atrophic rhinitis is persistent, an ENT may recommend intranasal injections or surgery to narrow your nasal passages, so they’re less dry.
There are some complications of atrophic rhinitis when it’s untreated. Empty nose syndrome can cause the feeling of blocked nasal passages even when they’re open. As a result, patients with this condition often feel short of breath even though they’re physically able to breathe. In rare cases, atrophic rhinitis can progress to the point where patients lose their sense of smell.
What Is the Difference Between Rhinitis and Sinusitis?
Rhinitis occurs when the nose becomes inflamed while sinusitis occurs when the sinuses become filled with fluid, which causes bacteria to grow. Rhinitis primarily happens as an immunological response after the body comes in contact with an allergen; it can be a symptom of sinusitis as well. Ongoing rhinitis blocks the nasal passages, which can also lead to the development of sinusitis.
Why Do I Suddenly Have Allergic Rhinitis?
Allergic rhinitis can be the result of many things.
Potential causes of allergic rhinitis include:
- Dust mites, which can be in carpeting, bedding, drapes, and other furniture.
- Pollen coming off flowers, plants, and trees.
- Mold spores.
- Pet hair and dander.
- Food allergies.
While it is important to prevent any allergens from affecting you, people with food allergies need to be extremely cautious. Food allergies can be life-threatening, so if you experience any symptoms after consuming something, contact your doctor immediately.
What Makes Rhinitis Worse?
Rhinitis is usually mild, but there are external factors that can make it worse. Breathing in dirty air is a very common reason why rhinitis can worsen. This can include smog, fumes from a cigarette, and even from a clogged air filter.
Another way rhinitis can worsen is using nasal spray. These sprays can potentially cause more inflammation and irritation within nasal passages. Furthermore, using these sprays can also cause rebound congestion. Having a long-term health issue, such as diabetes, can also worsen rhinitis.
What Foods to Avoid for Rhinitis?
There is no definitive answer to what foods you need to avoid when it comes to allergic rhinitis as everyone is different. On average, however, these foods can include nuts, eggs, soy, wheat, fish, dairy, and even certain fruits. To know for certain what foods you need to avoid, you will need to have an allergy test performed by your doctor.
What Makes Rhinitis Worse?
Nasal sprays and repeated allergen exposure can cause rhinitis to worsen; furthermore, an infection that causes sinusitis can ultimately lead to more nasal congestion and a runny nose.
Meeting with a rhinitis specialist in Marina Del Rey, CA, can help you find relief and get to the bottom of your symptoms. The team at Del Rey MD are dedicated to making sure every patient receives the personalized attention they deserve.
Schedule an Appointment with Del Rey MD, the Top Reviewed Rhinitis Specialist
If you have a recurring or persistent rhinitis problem, it is likely your condition can be treated. Dr. Sigari and his expert team of ear, nose and throat specialists at one of our Del Rey MD locations in Marina del Rey, Long Beach, or Bakersfield to discuss your options to see if you are suitable for treatment at your consultation.
Contact our practice in Marina del Rey, Long Beach, or Bakersfield today to book an appointment.