Is Your Nose Running Wild? Chronic Rhinorrhea & What You Can Do to Stop It

A frustrated woman with chronic rhinorrhea blows her nose.

Are you one of the 40 million Americans who suffer from a chronically runny nose and are left to only imagine a time when you didn’t have to keep a box of tissues at arm’s length?

Whether it's caused by the common cold or allergies, nothing interrupts your day-to-day life quite like a runny nose, also known as rhinorrhea, does. Chronic rhinorrhea occurs when your runny nose symptoms persist for months or even years. 

But what causes chronic rhinorrhea, and how do you treat it? It's easier to treat than you may expect.

What are the Causes of Chronic Rhinorrhea?

Rhinorrhea is the technical term for a runny nose or when excess mucus drains out of your nasal passage. Chronic rhinorrhea occurs when you have a constant runny nose, and there are many possible culprits.

  • Allergic rhinitis. More commonly known as allergies or hay fever, allergic rhinitis occurs when your body overreacts to irritants like pollen, animal dander, and dust mites. Your body's response to these irritants creates an allergic reaction and all those familiar allergy symptoms you know and dread. Seasonal allergic rhinitis occurs when you experience these symptoms at certain times of the year, such as the spring or summer. Allergic rhinitis is the most common cause of chronic rhinorrhea.
  • Nonallergic rhinitis. This occurs when your nasal symptoms aren't caused by any known allergen. However, these symptoms can be triggered by irritants such as smoke, chemical fumes, and artificial fragrances.
  • Chronic or acute sinusitis. Sinusitis, or sinus infections, occurs after you have a cold or allergies. This inflammation of your sinuses causes pain and congestion but often goes away quickly. Chronic sinusitis can last more than 12 weeks, but acute sinusitis is a sinus infection that typically resolves within ten days.
  • Pregnancy. Many women experience a stuffy or runny nose as they undergo hormonal changes during pregnancy. This is called pregnancy rhinitis.
  • Nasal polyps. Nasal polyps are noncancerous growths in your nose that can cause increased mucus production. This can cause nasal congestion, loss of smell, and an incessantly runny nose.
  • Nasal obstruction. A foreign object or obstacle in your nose can get stuck and cause a persistent runny nose— but only from one side.
  • Vasomotor rhinitis. Vasomotor rhinitis is chronic rhinitis where you experience intermittent sneezing episodes, watery nasal discharge— a runny nose— and nasal congestion. [1]

What's the Difference Between a Runny Nose and a Stuffy Nose?

Both a runny nose and a stuffy nose are common symptoms of many health problems and can often accompany each other. This can make it easy to confuse the two. But make no mistake— they're quite different from each other. Here's how.

  • A runny nose causes mucus to run out of your nose. You'll probably need to blow your nose often, but you'll still be able to breathe through your nose.
  • A stuffy nose— also known as nasal congestion— makes it difficult to breathe through your nose because it feels stuffed up or plugged. This is caused by swelling or inflammation in your nose, or a blockage. 

But thankfully, both are easy to treat— and you can even treat both at the same time.

Related: Why Do I Wake Up With a Stuffy Nose?

5 Easy Ways to Treat Chronic Rhinorrhea

Do you typically go for over-the-counter (OTC) medicines at the first sign of the sniffles? Here are five natural and drug-free alternatives to those OTC medicines that will make that constant runny nose a thing of the past.

1. Decongest with SinuSonic

Using SinuSonic helps decongest your sinuses in just 2 minutes a day— without drugs and messy nasal irrigation.

SinuSonic uses gentle acoustic vibrations and light pressure to gently relieve nasal congestion and increase mucus motility so that you can breathe easily. These vibrations and positive expiratory pressure (PEP) also help relieve airway conditions and can even help treat chronic lung conditions.

Need to blow your nose while using SinuSonic? That's normal and a sign that the device is working! Check out some of our user testimonials to learn more about relieving effects and varying treatments the SinuSonic has to offer.

2. Rinse Your Sinuses

Rinsing your sinuses with a saline solution or a neti pot can moisturize your sinuses, thin out thick mucus, and help remove any foreign matter from your nose. You can buy neti pots or over-the-counter saline solutions at any pharmacy or grocery store. 

However, neti pots are only a temporary solution that fail to rinse your sinuses if they are entirely clogged. Not to mention, they can be messy! Suppose you find do neti pots to be a fitting solution for your congestion. In that case, we recommend pairing it with the SinuSonic to ensure longer-lasting relief and clear up congestion in your sinuses that the neti pot can’t reach. 

What About Nasal Spray?

Over-the-counter or prescription nasal sprays are a common and popular treatment for many nasal symptoms, including a runny nose. However, you may want to avoid using a nasal spray to treat chronic rhinorrhea.

Overuse or prolonged nasal spray use can reduce the effectiveness of this treatment over time, requiring more to get the full effect. It can also cause unpleasant side effects, such as headaches and coughing. Worst of all, it can make your nasal symptoms worse!

It can even cause conditions like chronic sinusitis or rhinitis medicamentosa— also known as rebound congestion. [2]

This is because nasal sprays open up your clogged sinuses by shrinking the blood vessels in your nose. After you've been using it for a few days, your body stops responding to the medication.

To avoid this, only use nasal spray once every 12 hours, for no longer than three days if you must.

3. Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water can keep your nasal mucus thin and easier to clear from your nose.

Men should drink 3.7 liters— or 15.5 cups— of water daily. Women should drink 2.7 liters— 11.5 cups— of water each day.

4. Avoid Your Triggers

Knowing what causes your nasal allergy symptoms or irritation can go a long way in preventing a runny nose— and all that frustration.

Here are a few ways to avoid common triggers that can get your nose running like Usain Bolt:

  • If you have a pollen allergy: Avoid going outside on high pollen days. Keep windows and doors closed on high pollen days to prevent pollen from making its way into your home.
  • If you have a dust mite allergy: Clean your home regularly to keep dust and dust mites to a minimum. This includes sweeping or vacuuming floors weekly and dusting all hard surfaces weekly.
  • If you have pet allergies: You can live in peace with your pets even if you have pet allergies by keeping dust mites under control. Vacuuming often can keep animal dander at a minimum. You can also help prevent pet allergies by bathing and brushing dogs regularly and cleaning litterboxes weekly.

5. Use a Humidifier

A humidifier can add moisture to the air, which is helpful for soothing dry nasal passages. It can also help keep mucus thin and easy to remove when you blow your nose.

Is Your Nose Running Rampant? Try SinuSonic!

We've all had to deal with a runny nose at some point— but if you're one of the millions of Americans dealing with chronic rhinorrhea, it can be absolutely maddening to deal with a seemingly everlasting runny nose.

But relief is possible! Taking the necessary steps to treat chronic rhinorrhea is easier than you might expect. Once you find relief, you might be amazed at how much better you feel.

Want to relieve your runny nose and breathe better than before? Try SinuSonic!

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  1. Leader, Preston, and Zachary Geiger. “Vasomotor Rhinitis.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine, 
  2. “Rhinitis Medicamentosa: What It Is, Causes & Treatment.” Cleveland Clinic,