What You Should Know About Food-Related Runny Nose, Its Causes, and Treatment

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Infections, allergies, and irritants are just some of the many causes of a runny nose.

Medical professionals use the term "rhinitis" to describe symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose. When taken together, the following symptoms constitute the more general diagnosis of "rhinitis."

  • runny nose
  • sneezing
  • congestion
  • nasal itch
  • a sore throat due to mucus buildup

In medical terms, a runny nose brought on by eating is known as gustatory rhinitis. Some people are more likely to experience an attack after eating certain foods, most notably those that are particularly hot and spicy.

Various factors contribute to the development of rhinitis.

Allerrgic rhinitis

The vast majority of cases of rhinitis are due to allergic reactions. Many people suffer from stuffy noses due to airborne allergens like:

Typically, seasonal changes in weather trigger these allergies. In some cases, symptoms may come and go, but they tend to be more severe at certain times of the year.

Cats and dogs are common allergens, causing reactions in many people. An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system of an individual reacts to an inhaled substance by producing symptoms such as a stuffy or runny nose.

Your watery eyes and nose could be due to a food allergy as well. Food allergies can cause mild to severe reactions, but there are usually more noticeable signs than just a runny nose. Typical symptoms include:

Examples of typical hypersensitivity to specific foods include:

What is Non-Allergic Rhinitis?

The majority of people who experience a runny nose after eating do so because of nonallergic rhinitis (NAR). An irritant, rather than an infection, is the cause of this type of runny nose.

Because of its similarity to allergic rhinitis, nonallergic rhinitis (NAR) is frequently misidentified.

Because NAR is a diagnosis of exclusion, it is given only when the doctor has exhausted all other possibilities for the patient's symptoms. There are many common non-allergic causes of a runny nose, including:

  • odors that are extremely bothersome
  • particular foods
  • Climate shifts
  • tobacco smoke

Nonallergic rhinitis comes in a variety of forms, and its symptoms are strikingly similar to those of seasonal allergies (though typically less itchy).

Rhinitis with a runny nose and a sore throat

Nonallergic rhinitis takes the form of gustatory rhinitis, characterized by nasal congestion and postnasal drip following a meal. Gustatory rhinitis is commonly brought on by eating spicy food.

Spicy foods have been shown to increase mucus production in people with gustatory rhinitis, according to older studies (such as one published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in 1989).

In the elderly, gustatory rhinitis is more prevalent. The symptoms of this and another form of nonallergic rhinitis, senile rhinitis, often coincide. Excessive, watery nasal discharge is a hallmark of both gustatory and senile rhinitis.

These are some examples of spicy foods that may cause a runny nose:

  • spicy peppers
  • garlic
  • curry
  • salsa
  • hot sauce
  • Cayenne pepper
  • ginger
  • alternative natural seasonings

"Vasomotor rhinitis"

Vasomotor refers to the regulation of blood vessel size, either by narrowing or widening. Symptoms of vasomotor rhinitis (VMR) include a stuffy or runny nose. Furthermore, other symptoms include:

  • Drippy nose after a nose blow
  • coughing
  • throat-clearing
  • stress on the face

It is possible for these symptoms to come and go. Common irritants that don't bother most people may set off VMR attacks.

  • Fragrances and pungent odors
  • Extremely cold temperatures
  • Paint has a distinct odor.
  • shifts in atmospheric pressure
  • alcohol
  • the hormonal shifts that occur during menstruation
  • luminous illuminations
  • The Effects of Emotional Distress

Vasomotor rhinitis risk factors may include a history of nasal trauma (a broken or injured nose) or GERD.

Allergic rhinitis

When both allergic and nonallergic rhinitis coexist, the condition is known as "mixed rhinitis." It is common to have nasal symptoms all year long, and for those symptoms to worsen during allergy season.

A person with chronic nasal congestion may also experience itching and watery eyes when around cats.

Nosebleeds are a common annoyance that most people learn to live with.

While a runny nose in and of itself isn't dangerous, the discomfort caused by nasal congestion can become unbearable if left untreated. Consultation with a medical professional is recommended at that time.

You and your doctor will work together to rule out the many potential causes of your nasal discharge.

In order to diagnose your condition, your doctor will inquire about your symptoms and past allergy history. Some examples of diagnostic procedures are:

  • Allergy testing via skin prick
  • examination of the nose's frontal passages, in search of infections
  • endoscopic examination of the nose for signs of permanent injury.

When the doctor has ruled out all other potential causes of your nasal discharge, they may diagnose you with nonallergic rhinitis.

The best remedy for your constant nosebleed will hinge on what's causing it. Most symptoms can be managed through avoidance of triggers and the use of OTC medications.

If allergic rhinitis is to blame, then

Some over-the-counter (OTC) options for treating allergic rhinitis are:

Supposing a food allergy is to blame

Developing a food allergy as an adult can be challenging. Allergic reactions can progress from mild to severe and even fatal at any time.

Foods that trigger an allergic reaction should be avoided at all costs.

In the case of mixed rhinitis,

Some anti-inflammatory and decongestant drugs may help with mixed rhinitis symptoms.

  • medication taken by mouth to relieve congestion, such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) or phenylephrine (Sudafed PE).
  • remedies for stuffy noses like oxymetazoline hydrochloride (Afrin)
  • Nasal sprays containing corticosteroids are commonly used to treat nasal allergies. Examples include fluticasone (Flonase), mometasone (Nasonex), and budesonide (Rhinocort).
  • Spray containing capsaicin for the nose
  • anticholinergic drugs that can be applied topically, like atropine (Atropen).
  • ipratropium (Atrovent) and similar anticholinergic nasal sprays

Asthma sufferers aren't the only ones who can use these drugs; those with merely allergic rhinitis can do so

The majority of cases of food-related runny nose are caused by nonallergic rhinitis, which can be avoided by making some simple lifestyle changes.

  • maintaining a safe distance from your own emotional flashpoints
  • Getting off tobacco products and keeping one's distance from secondhand smoke
  • avoidance of known irritants at work (painting, dust, etc.) or the use of a face mask
  • making use of body washes, detergents, moisturizers, and hair care items without added fragrances
  • eating less spicy food

Experiencing complications due to a runny nose is usually not dangerous, but it can be annoying. Possible side effects of persistent congestion include the following:

  • Growths in the nose (polyps) Neither dangerous nor bothersome, these growths can be found in the nasal or sinus lining.
  • Sinusitis Infection or inflammation of the membrane that lines the sinuses is called sinusitis.
  • Infections of the middle ear Congestion and abnormal fluid accumulation in the middle ear lead to infections.
  • Lowered standard of living It could affect your ability to interact with others, focus on tasks, get physical, or rest.

Use a decongestant if you need quick relief from a stuffy nose. Consult your physician about the possibility of adverse drug reactions.

Otherwise, the cause of your runny nose will determine how you go about treating it.

Long-term relief may require several weeks of trying different allergy medications.

If the offending agent is a common food flavoring, like garlic, it may take some time to identify it as the source of your symptoms.

Final health checkup was on May 22, 2020.

Healthline follows rigorous guidelines for its sources and relies on scholarly journals, hospitals, and government agencies. We never resort to tertiary sources. In our editorial policy, we explain in detail how we check that all of our articles are up-to-date and accurate.

Experts in the field of health and wellness keep a close eye on the latest developments, and our articles are revised accordingly.

May 22, 2020

Clinically Assessed By

Physician Kevin Martinez

Enhanced By:

It's Delores Smith-Johnson.

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