A runny nose is a prevalent symptom shared by many conditions like the common cold, allergies, and more. Recovering from these ailments typically clears up your nose again, but what if it continues? This long-term runny nose is better known as chronic rhinorrhea among healthcare experts, and various factors could be causing it. Read on as we go over the possible causes of your runny nose and when to see a doctor.
Differentiating between a runny and stuffy nose
First, it is important to know the distinction between a runny nose and a stuffy nose since many confuse one for the other. A runny nose, rhinorrhea, or nasal drip is when a clear or coloured fluid called mucus leaks from the nose but does not impede your breathing.
In contrast, a stuffy nose or nasal congestion is when your nose feels ‘plugged’, making it feel like you can’t breathe clearly in and out of one or both sides of the nose. Sometimes, a stuffy nose can be accompanied by a runny nose. Many types of colds cause both congestion and rhinorrhea, but swelling or blockage in the nose is enough to cause the nasal pathways to get blocked even without any mucus.
Common causes of chronic rhinorrhea
Most people having trouble with a constantly runny nose may have their allergies to blame for it. This autoimmune condition often comes with several other symptoms, including itchy eyes or throat, chronic cough, and sneezing. Allergies can develop at any age, even in adulthood or much later. But beyond allergies, there is also a slew of uncommon causes for non-stop runny nose, including:
1. Nonallergic rhinitis
As its name suggests, this type of nasal dripping is not caused by allergies but by something causing inflammation or irritation in the nasal passages of your nose. Thankfully, this condition is only bothersome at worst and poses no serious harm. Some of the most common causes of nonallergic rhinitis include:
If you are taking medications regularly, there is a chance they are what is causing your chronic runny nose. To make sure, get an online medical consultation and speak to a doctor about your concern. Some medicines observed to cause nonallergic rhinitis are birth control pills, beta-blockers, antidepressants, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Stress is a lesser-known trigger of nonallergic rhinitis, so do think back if you have had a stressful week recently!
- Weather changes
Some people, even those without allergies, can get nonallergic rhinitis due to changes in the weather, such as rapid changes in temperature, humidity levels, and atmospheric pressure.
2. Chronic sinusitis
Sinusitis is an infection affecting the sinuses. Catching a viral infection or triggering severe allergies typically causes acute or short-lived sinusitis that causes congestion and pain that goes away on its own. On the other hand, chronic sinusitis is a long-lasting infection that inflames the sinuses and nasal cavity for more than 12 weeks at least. People with this condition can expect to deal with a constant runny nose for months and even years.
3. Large adenoids
Adenoids are small pieces of tissue that form at the back of the throat that usually shrink after reaching five years old. Thus, enlarged adenoids typically only occur among younger children. If your child has these large growths, they will experience the following:
- Constant runny or stuffy nose.
- Sore throat.
- Sleeping problems.
- ‘Plugged’ feeling in the ears.
4. Nasal polyps
Nasal polyps are noncancerous growths that appear in the sinuses or the lining of your nose, causing increased mucus production. Apart from a constant runny nose, nasal polyps also cause nasal congestion and loss of smell.
As mentioned, a runny nose is rarely a cause of concern. However, suppose it also comes with other symptoms such as nosebleeds or bloody nasal mucus, dripping with a metallic or salty taste, one-sided dripping, fever, and facial pain. In that case, there is likely a more serious underlying condition that warrants immediate medical attention.
Get your chronic runny nose or any other condition you may have checked by a virtual doctor in Singapore today via the MYCLNQ app. MYCLNQ provides convenient access to key medical services you need, such as doctor consultations, medical e-commerce, private ambulance transport, and more – all in just a few clicks. Contact us today for further details about the medical services you can access on your phone!