Are You Allergic to Exercise?


ExerciseHave you ever noticed that when you’re working out, especially with cardio activities, your nose starts to run? Or maybe after an exertive workout, you feel congested like you were just hit with a cold. If either of these scenarios sound familiar, then you must be allergic to exercise and now have an excuse to binge watch Netflix instead of going for that jog! No, just kidding. Exercise-induced rhinitis is a real thing, but while it’s inconvenient, it’s harmless.

Although the medical community (and many of us) know that this reaction exists, its exact cause is unknown. However, here are two popular theories:

  • Greater exposure to allergens. Of course if you are exercising outside, you are going to be surrounded by all of the things that usually trigger allergiespollen, grass, mold — and even things that cause nonallergic rhinitis such as cold air and car exhaust. In the same vein, if you are working out at a gym, it’s possible that you are allergic to something there, such as the chemicals they use to clean. It follows then that the harder you work out, the more your breathing deepens and speeds up, causing you to inhale more of the allergens.

  • Dilated blood vessels: The American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) explains:

    Normally these blood vessels are in a half-constricted or half-open state. But when a person exercises vigorously, hormone (adrenaline) levels increase. Adrenaline causes constriction of the nasal membranes so that the air passages open up and the person breathes freely.

When you’re done exercising and less adrenaline and blood is flowing, your nasal passages expand again, which can make you feel congested.

Important note: Exercise-induced rhinitis is not to be confused with exercise-induced asthma and exercise-induced anaphylaxis (EIA), both of which need medical attention and treatment.

That said, if you are suffering from a runny or congested nose while exercising, it’s time to stop allowing it to keep you from fitness activities. After all, exercising is extremely important to your overall health and wellbeing. Schedule an appointment with CT Sinus Center to find out how we can help you put down the tissues and pick up your performance. Through our patient-centered philosophy and up-to-date diagnostic tools, our expert physicians will find the right treatment for your specific symptoms. You may even be a candidate for one of our two outpatient procedures, both of which will end your suffering in around an hour:

  • Balloon Sinus Dilation, which will reshape your nasal passages, promoting draining and natural healing
  • Turbinate Reductions, in which the tissue in the nose that supports the nasal passages is decreased, decreasing the size of the turbinate and quickly increasing airflow

Call 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of  CT Sinus Center’s four conveniently-located offices, and let us help you get back on that track and leave your exercise-induced rhinitis in the dust.

For more information on sinus– and allergy-related conditions and treatments, visit the CT Sinus Center website and blog.

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