As we age, our bodies undergo numerous changes, and one common issue that affects individuals over the age of 60 is geriatric rhinitis, also known as atrophic rhinitis or senile rhinitis. This chronic inflammation of the nasal mucosa can lead to discomfort and impact a person’s quality of life. In this blog post, we will delve into the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for geriatric rhinitis.

The Causes

The exact cause of geriatric rhinitis is not fully understood. However, it is believed to be due to a combination of age-related changes in the nasal mucosa. These include:

  • Aging: The natural thinning and drying of the nasal mucosa with age increase susceptibility to inflammation and irritation.
  • Chronic Inflammation: Prolonged exposure to irritants like pollution, cigarette smoke, and allergens can lead to chronic inflammation.
  • Hormonal Changes: Age-related shifts in hormone levels can also contribute to the development of geriatric rhinitis.

Symptoms of Geriatric Rhinitis

The symptoms of geriatric rhinitis can vary from person to person, but some common ones include:

  • Nasal dryness and crusting: The thinning and drying of the nasal mucosa can cause the formation of crusts in the nasal passages, leading to discomfort and difficulty breathing.
  • Frequent nosebleeds: The dryness and thinning of the nasal mucosa can make it more susceptible to bleeding, leading to frequent nosebleeds.
  • Loss of sense of smell: Chronic inflammation of the nasal mucosa can affect the sense of smell, leading to a decreased ability to detect odors.
  • Nasal congestion: Inflammation and irritation of the nasal mucosa can cause swelling and congestion, making it difficult to breathe through the nose.
  • Postnasal drip: Geriatric rhinitis can cause an excess production of mucus, leading to a constant dripping sensation at the back of the throat.
  • Sinus infections: Chronic inflammation of the nasal mucosa can increase the risk of developing sinus infections, which can cause facial pain, headaches, and other uncomfortable symptoms.

These symptoms can be bothersome and may affect a person’s quality of life. In severe cases, geriatric rhinitis can also lead to complications such as sinusitis or nasal polyps.

Treatment for Geriatric Rhinitis

Treatment for geriatric rhinitis involves managing the symptoms and may include the following:

  • Saline Nasal Sprays or Gels: These can help keep the nasal passages moist and reduce the formation of crusts.
  • Humidifiers: A humidifier can add moisture to the air, which can help keep the nasal passages moist.
  • Medications: Antihistamines and nasal steroids can reduce inflammation in the nasal passages.
  • Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the damaged nasal tissue and improve breathing.

How to Prevent

While it may not be possible to prevent geriatric rhinitis entirely, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of developing the condition. These include:

  • Avoiding Irritants: Avoid exposure to irritants such as smoke, dust, and pollution.
  • Using a humidifier to add moisture to the air
  • Avoiding excessive use of decongestants and nasal sprays
  • Maintaining good nasal hygiene, such as washing the nasal passages with saline solution
  • Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle: Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking.
  • Regular Check-ups: Regular visits to the doctor can help detect and treat any nasal conditions early.


Geriatric rhinitis is a common condition that affects older adults. While it cannot be prevented, managing the symptoms can help improve the quality of life. If you are experiencing symptoms, don’t let your condition go untreated. Contact our team at Enticare today and let us help you find the best course of treatment. Call us at 480-214-9000.

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