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Does your nose run like a faucet when you eat?


Let’s face it, it’s embarrassing!  You are trying to enjoy your meal and your nose is leaking clear watery discharge like a sieve.   These symptoms are consistent with gustatory rhinitis.

This is a type of non-allergic rhinitis typically triggered by eating hot and spicy foods.  However, any food could potentially trigger the symptoms.  In some cases, the runny nose is so significant it interferes with quality of life and quality of a dinner out.   Gustatory rhinitis can affect children or adults and is more common in individuals with “hay fever” (allergic rhinitis) and persons who smoke.

Is there a special test for gustatory rhinitis?  No, the history as noted above is sufficient to make the diagnosis.   Allergy skin testing for food allergies is probably not necessary unless other symptoms such as hives, vomiting, diarrhea, swelling, eczema, asthma or anaphylaxis occur with eating.  Similarly, clear runny nasal discharge can be a symptom of environmental allergies.  However, with environmental allergies, frequently there are associated nasal congestion, sneezing and eye symptoms (itching, redness).  These are typically absent with gustatory rhinitis.

Good news!  There is a treatment for gustatory rhinitis.  The nasal spray ipratropium bromide sold as Atrovent nasal spray® can help prevent these symptoms when taken before a meal.  Atrovent nasal spray is a prescription medication approved by the FDA for both allergic and non-allergic rhinitis.  This nasal spray has few side effects and is not addictive.

You can have your spicy food and eat it to!

This educational information does not take the place of your physician’s advice.

  1. Lori SpatesLori Spates12-16-2015

    But its triggered by anything at all not just spicy food. Whether I eat a piece of celery or some popcorn or a carrot it doesn’t matter, I could try every food group, healthy or junk food it runs the right after Ive started eating and it just started a few months ago and never used to do this yet no one can tell me what the problem it what causes it why its running after I eat so I can fix the problem and stop dealing with it. I’m 33 years old haven’t moved or changed anything in my environment or diet and this starts happening when its never happened before. Why doesn’t anyone know what causes it or how to fix it?

  2. KarenKaren11-25-2016

    This happens to me also I went to a naturopath and was told to remove gluten from my diet. This did improve my problem a little however the expense of Gluten free food and the amount of weight I lost didnt compensate enough for the problem. ill just live with it i think.

  3. MariaMaria12-02-2016

    The same thing is happening to me OUT OF THE BLUE! I have had a lot of stress in my life but I thought it was getting better! Please if anyone has answers let me know cause it’s driving me crazy. I hate having to blow my nose in a restaurant or at the table anywhere! HELP

  4. EmtEmt03-17-2017

    Same here! Anything I put in my mouth, solid or liquid, makes my nose run

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