Vasomotor rhinitis is also known as non-allergenic rhinitis, because it often has the same symptoms as allergies, but has different causes. Whereas allergenic rhinitis conditions (such as hayfever) are the result of the immune system overreacting to environmental irritants (pollen, etc), vasomotor rhinitis is believed to be caused by oversensitive or excessive blood vessels in the nasal membrane. These blood vessels (which are controlled in turn by the autonomic nervous system) contract or dilate in order to regulate mucus flow and congestion. But in the vasomotor rhinitis sufferer, oversensitive or excessive blood vessel dilation or contraction causes an overreaction to such stimuli as changes in weather, temperature, or barometric pressure, chemical irritants such as smoke, ozone, pollution, perfumes, and aerosol sprays, psychological stress and emotional shocks, certain types of medications, alcohol, and even spicy food.
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