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 03 September 2021

About this article

Created 13 October 2020
Updated 03 September 2021

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 microbiotas

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 microbiotas using probiotics (lactobacilli in particular) is being studied, with seemingly promising results.

Old sources

Sources :
Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma (ARIA) guidelines: 2010 Revision. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, septembre 2010, vol. 126(3): 466-476.
Mullol J, Valero A, Alobid I, et al. Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma update (ARIA 2008). The perspective from Spain. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 2008;18(5):327-334.
Haahtela T, Holgate S, Pawankar R, et al. The biodiversity hypothesis and allergic disease: world allergy organization position statement. World Allergy Organ J. 2013;6(1):3. Published 2013 Jan 31.
Choi CH, Poroyko V, Watanabe S, et al. Seasonal allergic rhinitis affects sinonasal microbiota. Am J Rhinol Allergy. 2014;28(4):281-286.
Peng GC, Hsu CH. The efficacy and safety of heat-killed Lactobacillus paracasei for treatment of perennial allergic rhinitis induced by house-dust mite. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2005;16:433–8.
Yang, G, Liu ZQ, Yang, PC. Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis with Probiotics: An Alternative Approach. North American Journal of Medical. Sciences 2013 ; 5(8), 465–468.

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