Woman blowing her nose at work

Having a runny nose for a few days is no big deal; after all, it’s something that most people deal with now and then. However, when you have a runny nose that persists for weeks or months, that’s a different story. A runny nose that refuses to go away is called chronic rhinorrhea, and there are several possible causes.


If you’re constantly experiencing a runny nose, the most likely explanation is that you’re allergic to something in the air. Whether it be dust, pollen, pet dander, or something else, allergies can frequently cause a runny nose along with many other symptoms. One way to determine whether or not you’re experiencing allergy symptoms is to consider the circumstances of your runny nose. For example, if you only notice the symptom when you’re at home, you’re likely allergic to something in your house. Or, if your runny nose gets much worse during the spring, you could be allergic to pollen.

If it turns out that allergies are the cause of your runny nose, you may want to try over-the-counter antihistamines. Additionally, it would be wise to start avoiding whatever substance you’re allergic to as often as possible.

Chronic Sinusitis

If your persistent runny nose isn’t due to allergies, it could be a case of chronic sinusitis. Also known as a sinus infection, acute sinusitis is a common condition that typically disappears on its own after a week or so. However, there are rare cases in which acute sinusitis can persist for more than 12 weeks, at which point it becomes chronic sinusitis. If you’ve been experiencing a runny nose as well as some or all of the following symptoms for more than 12 weeks, you may have chronic sinusitis.

  • Sinus pain or pressure
  • Nasal inflammation
  • Congested nose
  • Pain or swelling around the eyes, nose, cheeks, or forehead
  • Green or yellow nasal discharge
  • Ear pain

If you suspect that you’ve had sinusitis for any longer than 10 days, you should see an ENT doctor as soon as possible.

Nasal Polyps

Nasal polyps are soft, benign growths that can form on the lining of your nasal passages. Nasal polyps can affect just about anyone, and in many cases, they won’t even cause any noticeable symptoms. However, when they do, a runny nose is one of the most common. The other symptoms of nasal polyps are very similar to those of sinusitis, and if they last more than 10 days, you may need to see an ENT specialist for a diagnosis.

Medication Side Effect

If you’ve recently started taking any new medications, your persistent runny nose could simply be a side effect. Many types of medications have been known to cause this symptom, including those that treat:

  • Pain
  • Depression
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Enlarged prostate

What Is the Takeaway?

When your runny nose refuses to go away on its own, it can be quite frustrating. However, chronic rhinorrhea often has a simple explanation that can be easily addressed. Rather than continue to suffer your discomfort, consider seeing a reputable ENT doctor for diagnosis and treatment. If you’re in the greater Houston area, you can receive personalized care from the ENT experts at Texas ENT Specialists.

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