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Rhinitis is a common nasal disorder featured by an inflammation of the nasal passage. Irritation and inflammation of internal areas of the nose cause rhinitis symptoms such as runny nose, postnasal drip and nasal congestion. These symptoms are caused by excess production of mucus secreted by the lining of the nasal passage. There are three types of rhinitis: infective rhinitis, non-allergic rhinitis and allergic rhinitis. Bacterial or viral infections cause infective rhinitis while allergy-causing agents lead to allergic rhinitis. Non-allergic rhinitis is classified into different types depending on the cause. Types of non-allergic rhinitis include autonomic, vasomotor, hormonal, drug-induced, atrophic, gustatory rhinitis and rhinitis medicamentosa.

Gustatory Rhinitis Overview

Gustatory rhinitis develops after consuming certain foods, particularly hot and spicy foods. Gustatory rhinitis may develop in both children and adults and individuals affected by allergic rhinitis as well as heavy smokers are especially at risk.

Causes of Gustatory Rhinitis

Gustatory rhinitis is caused by overreaction of the vagal nerve in the nervous system of a person when he or she ingests certain foods. The leading cause of gustatory rhinitis is consumption of hot and spicy food, but alcohol intake can be the culprit too. Also, food preservatives and colorings can sometimes cause gustatory rhinitis.

Symptoms of Gustatory Rhinitis

Symptoms of gustatory rhinitis are generally temporary and resolve within a few minutes or a few hours after ingestion of the food triggers. The most common symptom of the condition is runny nose. Nasal discharge is commonly clear and watery. It is believed that this nasal discharge is caused by dilation of blood vessels in the nose that is supplied by the vagal nerve. Stuffy nose and sneezing are also associated with gustatory rhinitis.

Prevention and Treatment of Gustatory Rhinitis

To prevent gustatory rhinitis occurrence one must stay away from food and drinks that trigger the condition. Some health care providers may recommend use of antihistamine nasal sprays one hour before mealtime to reduce the intensity of nasal discharge and other symptoms. However, since the condition is not caused by the response of the body’s immune system and there is no release of histamines, antihistamines cannot effectively treat gustatory rhinitis. Gustatory rhinitis is usually treated by corticosteroid nasal sprays, mucolytic drugs, decongestant nasal sprays and anticholinergic agents. Over-the counter saline nasal sprays can be also used in treatment of gustatory rhinitis. Still, the treatment commonly varies from patient to patient depending on the underlying cause. All in all, people who frequently experience symptoms of gustatory rhinitis should consult an otolaryngology specialist for a proper diagnosis and treatment of the condition.

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