I want my nose to stop running
July 27, 2014 3:40 PM   Subscribe

My nose runs all the time, despite not having a cold. I don't think I am allergic to anything - I don't have the itching or sneezing that goes with allergies, and being around animals or flowers doesn't make it worse. I don't have any sinus issues. Also it's a year-round affair, though worse in winter. I'm tired of it! Can anyone offer any advice?

It is worse when I am cold and when I eat (spicy foods more so, but also any cooked hot foods). It mostly stops when I go to bed. Also I notice my mum is the same, she blows her nose often, but not my dad. My husband never blows his nose, I'm sort of jealous.

I think I may have "chronic non-allergic rhinitis", according to this which is the most useful thing I can find on the web about my condition.

I am wondering, has anyone suffered from this, and have you found that anything helps? I find it gross that I am blowing my nose all day. It seems the main suggestion is nasal sprays, but are these effective and how often do you have to use them? Are there negative side effects? Do you get addicted to using them? I've never tried one. I'm curious about your experiences.

If anyone has any wisdom to offer on this matter I'll be most grateful. THanks.
posted by beccyjoe to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I have chronic rhinitis and Flonase works for me. It's a nasal spray prescribed by my doctor.
posted by sweetkid at 3:54 PM on July 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

It might be acid reflux. As the acid fumes from the stomach travel up - it irritates the sinuses and causes then to run often. This would explain why it happens more after spicy food too.

My husband has GERD and has a constant post nasal drop going on because of it.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 3:56 PM on July 27, 2014 [4 favorites]

Have you seen an ENT (ear, nose, throat doctor)? My father had a perpetual runny nose and it turned out to be a combination of indoor allergies (which are year-round) and nasal polyps. He didn't have itching or sneezing either (although he did have congestion).

An ENT can also rule out/diagnose GERD.
posted by muddgirl at 4:11 PM on July 27, 2014

My father had this for the last two decades of his life as a side effect of blood thinner medication. He was very bothered by it. It was especially bad when he was trying to eat.

It could be a side effect of some medicine that you take. I wonder if it is possible that it could also go with thinner blood. When you have a nosebleed or an injury do you bleed copiously and have trouble making it stop?
posted by Jane the Brown at 4:20 PM on July 27, 2014

You might have slight allergies as one factor. Maybe try taking an antihistamine for a while and see if it helps.

While regular adult-dose Allegra is 180 mg, which seems like overkill to me, you can order 60 mg tablets online, which is what I do. It's kind of expensive for a bottle (there are, I think, 100 tablets in the bottle), but it works for me. You could start with regular adult Allegra and a pill-splitter, I think.
posted by amtho at 4:37 PM on July 27, 2014

I have mild year-round allergies (dust and molds) and recurrent sinusitis. Two tips: talk to your doctor, and be willing to experiment a bit. I use a nasal spray when my nose gets bad, but I had to try several different brands/formulations first, because a few gave me bloody noses, and one made me anxious, and some weren't covered by insurance, etc. I'm settled on some generic off-brand now but it's working well. And as for the allergy meds, experiment there, too. Zyrtec made me a ZOMBIE, but Claritin works really well for me.
posted by TwoStride at 4:59 PM on July 27, 2014

You need to see an ENT, and to tell them that the symptom runs in your family. There is a prescription medication called Atrovent (a spray, non-addictive, I think) that helps, but I don't know if it's right for you.

My nose runs ALL THE TIME. It didn't used to be this way. I've broken my nose several times and had two surgeries to correct my deviated septum. I've since found out this runny nose runs in my genetic family.

In the decades when my nose was crooked and broken, my nose didn't run that much, but I got sick a lot with sinus infections and other upper respiratory infections. A few years ago I had my deviated septum fixed again, and now my nose runs all the time (because apparently the mechanical fix now allows my nose to run unimpeded once again). Atrovent fixes it, but the effects in combination with other meds I take is unpleasant. Without those meds it would probably be peachy for me. FYI it's a bronchodilator.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 5:00 PM on July 27, 2014

Someone I used to work with had this. The article makes it sound awful, but apart from constantly having a tissue in her hand because of her nose running all the time, she didn't seem to suffer terribly. The surgery to repair it did interfere with her sense of small though.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 5:00 PM on July 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Try a normal daily antihistamine first, like Zetop/Zyrtex/Cetirizine, and see if that helps, before ruling out allergies.

Take one before going to sleep at night, each night for a few days (YMMV, but it meant I didn't mouthbreath through the night, and started off the day with a non-runny nose).
posted by Elysum at 5:30 PM on July 27, 2014

Best answer: I had the same problem. Try taking a B-12 supplement daily; the issue seems to come back when I stop.
posted by Morrigan at 5:39 PM on July 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

I seem to be experiencing something similar as I get older, not sure if it's something in my environment or aging, but after trying multiple allergy medications, I found my workable remedy in a nightly (when my nose seems to be worse) saline Neil Med nasal wash plus a Zyrtec for tougher days.

It took a bit of convincing to get me to use it, but the nasal wash has really helped me, with the added benefit of not taking daily medications.
posted by Debaser626 at 5:57 PM on July 27, 2014

Best answer: To my great chagrin, my sniffly nose was cured when I did an elimination diet. Reintroducing dairy brought back the sniffles. I decided a few sniffles were worth it for the cheese. YMMV. It may be worth trying, if it bugs you enough.
posted by instamatic at 6:37 PM on July 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone.

I should have mentioned that I am NOT congested at all and breathe comfortably through my nose.

Also, @Jane the Brown - I'm not on any medication and I never ever have nose bleeds.
posted by beccyjoe at 6:55 PM on July 27, 2014

I am familiar with the condition you describe under the name of vasomotor rhinitis, generally a minor inconvenience to treat.

Here in the states we are discouraged from the treatment mentioned, azelastine, in favor of the other, ipratropium. Fairly innocuous as a nasal spray.
posted by hobo gitano de queretaro at 8:15 PM on July 27, 2014

Seconding Instamatic -- Possibly a mild food allergy to something you eat on a regular basis? Dairy and wheat and even soy can sometimes have this affect on people. Elimination diets are a pain but can reveal some surprising things.
posted by ananci at 8:35 PM on July 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have it fairly often but it doesn't bother me much, I just carry tissues with me most of the time. For me it comes on as much with changing temperature inside my head (eg after drinking coffee when it's cold outside, eating steamy food) and I joke that my brains are melting and coming out my nose. One of my friends has the same thing and both of us always get it when we go eat dumplings - the steamy hot goodness just makes the old nose run!

I don't have any treatment suggestions for you since I just live with it but thought I'd chime in and let you know you are not alone.
posted by Athanassiel at 11:03 PM on July 27, 2014

Best answer: After years of trying everything I had turbinate reduction surgery. It's generally used for people with ridiculous congestion (which I did not have). Basically, they put a local anesthetic in your nose then they cauterize some of the turbinate tissue. It's so minor that you can drive yourself home.

It was absolutely the last stop on the path of endless runny snot. My GP, my ENT and my surgeon beau all agreed it was worth trying since nothing else worked and my nose was constantly running. Constantly running as in my nose was chapped all winter because cold was a trigger for me. (Cold, spicy, dryness, humidity, change in temp...it was a frakking nightmare.) My ENT presented it "this isn't standard, but it's the last thing I have to offer and I can see that your are suffering."

Guess what! I worked like a miracle. I can leave the house without tissue. My nose is dry!
posted by 26.2 at 11:24 PM on July 27, 2014

Response by poster: Wow, thanks for all the comments. Yeah it is a minor inconvenience, in the scheme of things, but it sort of feels gross and I would love it to "dry up".

@Athanassiel yeah sounds like we have the same condition - changes in temp affect me too, and eating steamy food.

I did try giving up wheat, dairy, soy and sugar for a while (maybe 3 weeks), but it didn't seem to have any effect.

I'll try some of these suggestions.
posted by beccyjoe at 12:09 AM on July 28, 2014

A weird suggestion but I'll throw it in anyway -- when I steal my boyfriend's nose trimmer and go to town on my nose hair, it runs like crazy until the hair grows back.
posted by jabes at 9:22 AM on July 28, 2014

I'm reading this post with interest because I am exactly the same as you.... I don't remember the last time I left home without a wad of tissues in my bag. I can literally spend the entire commute to work blowing my runny nose every 5 minutes.

Spicy food doesn't affect me at all weirdly, but exercising does! I seriously get the nose runs as soon as I start on the treadmill.... I even have a "workout" tissue stash.

I have no advice to offer except, I'll be trying some of the solutions above! Good luck
posted by JenThePro at 11:30 AM on July 28, 2014

I thought I didn't have allergies, but I did have a runny nose. I thought it was the result of a broken nose and cheek and the surgery to straighten my nose.

I saw an ENT, finally, nearly a year and a half into having a runny nose. I was sick of always needing to have a tissue on hand. The ENT did a skin prick allergy test - and confirmed that I've developed allergies to a ton of stuff, both indoors and outdoors.

A daily Zyrtec keeps my nose dry!
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 7:08 PM on July 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

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