Rhinitis is a classification of a nasal disorder categorized as inflammation of the nasal passage. The irritation inside the nasal passages causes rhinitis symptoms like runny nose and congestion. Some people find that when they eat certain foods, particularly spicy or hot foods, dairy or alcohol, they have to deal with these annoying symptoms. They often mistake these symptoms as some sort of allergic reaction. However, it is a non-allergic condition. For a while, I have wondered “why does my nose run when I eat? Am I allergic to spicy foods?” But this is actually a condition called “gustatory rhinitis.” What is gustatory rhinitis and how can you deal it?
What is Gustatory Rhinitis?
Hay fever is usually what you’d think of when you hear the word “rhinitis.” However, this is a term that classifies many sinus issues, allergic and non-allergic.
Gustatory rhinitis has nothing to do with a systemic allergic reaction, it is simply an overreaction of the vagal nerve in the nervous system of the person consuming the particular type of food. It will cause nasal drip of a clear liquid and sometimes congestion and runny nose. (1)
This can affect children or adults and seems to be more prevalent in people that suffer from hay fever or other environmental or food allergies.
It also seems to be a problem for people that smoke.
Which Foods Cause Gustatory Rhinitis?
This type of rhinitis is usually triggered by consuming hot and spicy foods. However, any food can trigger these symptoms, from fresh vegetables to well done meat.
People who are not allergic to dairy seem to sometimes experience gustatory rhinitis. Personally, I know that I am not allergic to dairy, but I experience runny nose when I drink milk or eat yogurt.
In some allergy sufferers, alcohol seems to be a trigger for gustatory rhinitis as well. (2)
Food preservatives and some additives may also trigger the non-allergic symptoms of gustatory rhinitis.
Why Does My Nose Run When I Eat Certain Foods?
Gustatory rhinitis is a completely non-immunological reaction to food. Recent evidence suggests that stimulated nerves in the sinuses may produce this reflex. The foods that trigger it, mostly spices, may be the reason for the running of your nose. (3)
Prevention and Treatment of Gustatory Rhinitis Symptoms
The best way to treat these annoying symptoms is to simply avoid the food and drinks that cause it in the first place.
People like myself, however, love spicy food and want to continue eating it. Some doctors may recommend that you use a nasal spray before you eat, but this will actually do nothing and might make your nose even more runny.
Since this condition is not caused by a histamine response by the immune system, antihistamines will do nothing to treat gustatory rhinitis. Typically, it can be treated effectively with mucolytic drugs and anticholinergic agents. The treatment will be unique for each patient and their cause of the symptoms. (4)
Consulting an otolaryngology specialist may be the best course of action if this condition bothers or embarrasses you at mealtimes.
Homeopathic drugs that may help with the symptoms include:
- Allium cepa
These drugs will naturally resolve the symptoms of gustatory rhinitis in about 3 hours. This treatment may taper your symptoms so that it may be cured completely. It’s important to talk to your health care provider before you self-medicate. (5)
Natural Remedies for Gustatory Rhinitis
If you are still asking “what is gustatory rhinitis?” and don’t want to bother your doctor, you can try these home remedies that work great for controlling the annoying symptoms of gustatory rhinitis.
- Ginger: Ginger contains gingerols in its root and can perform as an anti-inflammatory in the body. Reducing the inflammation in your sinuses will ease sneezing and nasal drip. Try to boil some pieces of ginger and drink it as a tea with honey. These will get rid of your symptoms.
- Mint: This is very beneficial for those that suffer from gastro-esophageal reflux disease. Mint will relieve the lining of the intestines, prevent vomiting and soothe symptoms of rhinitis. Again, drinking this as a tea is a great method of consumption.
- Cardamom: This spiced tea is very effective in treating rhinitis. It will prevent sneezing, nasal drink and congestion. You can drink this tea with honey or milk.
- Basil and Honey: This is a great herb that boosts your immune system to cure the symptoms of rhinitis. Honey in this tea will soothe the nose and throat.
If you suffer from gustatory rhinitis when you eat certain foods, do you have to avoid them altogether? The answer is no because they are not causing inflammation to your organs like an allergic reaction. However, if the symptoms are annoying or embarrassing, there are some treatments. (6)
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