Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What causes a runny nose?"
In the winter, my boyfriend's nose runs like a faucet. This is true even when he does not have a cold - it just runs a little bit all the time. What causes our noses to run? Does this show that there's something wrong with his sinuses, or is this just a normal thing for some people?
Nasal congestion and drainage (rhinorrhea) is a very common reason for people to seek medical advice. The doctors who will be well qualified to discuss this issue with you include a primary care doctor. Rhinorrhea, or runny nose, is a common complaint. It is caused when the mucus glands in the lining of the nose and air passage produce larger than average volumes of mucus, causing it to run down the throat and out the nose. The most common cause of runny nose in cold weather is simply irritation of the nasal lining by the cold dry air. This is simply a normal response in which the nasal glands are working overtime to keep the lining from drying out. Another common cause is that common colds and upper respiratory viral infections are more common in the winter than in the summer; it is not uncommon for one person to have multiple common cold infections back to back, which can lead to a constantly congested or runny nose for weeks at a time. As always the diagnosis and the management of your boyfriend's particular concern will require a physical examination by his personal physician. If symptoms are bothersome, setting up an office visit with his primary care doctor is advised.
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