What Causes a Runny Nose? Uncovering the Culprits Behind Nasal Drip

Ever wondered why your nose suddenly turns into a faucet, leaving you scrambling for tissues? A runny nose, also known as rhinorrhea, is a common symptom that can be quite bothersome. It’s not a condition in itself, but rather a symptom of various underlying issues. Understanding the causes behind a runny nose can help you manage it better and even prevent it in some cases. Let’s delve into the culprits behind nasal drip.

Common Cold and Flu

One of the most common causes of a runny nose is the common cold or flu. These viral infections cause inflammation in your nasal passages, leading to increased mucus production. This is your body’s way of trying to flush out the virus.


Allergies are another common cause of a runny nose. When you’re exposed to an allergen, your immune system overreacts and produces histamines. These chemicals cause a variety of symptoms, including a runny nose, as they work to expel the allergen from your body.


Sinusitis, or inflammation of the sinuses, can also cause a runny nose. This condition can be caused by a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection, or even by allergies. The inflammation leads to increased mucus production, resulting in a runny nose.

Weather Changes

Changes in weather, particularly cold weather, can cause a runny nose. This is because the blood vessels in your nose may expand in response to the cold, leading to increased mucus production.

Spicy Foods

Ever noticed your nose running after eating spicy food? This is because capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their heat, can irritate the nasal passages and trigger a runny nose.


Certain medications, particularly those used for blood pressure, erectile dysfunction, and some psychiatric conditions, can cause a runny nose as a side effect.

Deviated Septum

A deviated septum, where the thin wall between your nostrils is displaced to one side, can cause a runny nose. This is because it can lead to dryness in one nostril and increased mucus production in the other.

In conclusion, a runny nose can be caused by a variety of factors, from common colds and allergies to medications and structural issues. If you’re frequently dealing with a runny nose and it’s affecting your quality of life, it’s worth speaking to a healthcare provider to identify the underlying cause and find effective treatment options.