Allergic rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis, a respiratory disease, is caused by an abnormal and excessive immune response when the body encounters a foreign substance to which it is sensitive. It is associated with dysbiosis in the ENT and gastrointestinal microbiota.

Created 13 October 2020
Updated 16 May 2022

About this article

Created 13 October 2020
Updated 16 May 2022

500 million people affected

Allergic rhinitis is a very common disease, and the number of cases continues to climb worldwide. Around 500 million people are affected.
It’s called seasonal (“hay fever”) when it’s related to tree, grass, and other plant pollens, and perennial when it is caused by allergens that are present all year-round, like dust mites, molds, or animal fur.

Characteristic symptoms

Allergic rhinitis presents with very characteristic symptoms, and generally with more than one :

  • Itching
  • Anosmia (loss of smell)
  • Rhinorrhea (runny nose)
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal obstruction (stuffy nose)

The symptoms are exacerbated in cases of seasonal allergic rhinitis and perennial allergic rhinitis.

Altered microbiota

Asthma and allergic rhinitis appear to be very much related: Around 20% of people with allergic rhinitis have asthma and 80% of asthmatics have rhinitis. The common ground between these two diseases is that they are both associated with dysbiosis with low diversity in the intestinal microbiota, and, conversely, greater bacterial diversity in the ENT microbiota (ear-nose-throat).


Treatment of allergic rhinitis is based on three approaches: removal of the allergens, medication, and desensitization. There are also symptomatic treatments aimed at improving your comfort. Lastly, an approach consisting of treating the dysbiosis and re-balancing the microbiota using probiotics (lactobacilli in particular) is being studied, with seemingly promising results.

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