Nose Bleeds: Causes, Treatment and More
Nose Bleeds are common. They may be scary and discomforting, however, they rarely indicate a serious medical condition.
Your nose contains a number of blood vessels, which are located close to the surface in the front and back of the nose.
Read on to learn more about the causes, treatment, and more.
The blood flow in the blood vessels in your nose is very fragile and can bleed easily. Nose bleeds are very common among adults and children between the ages of 3 and 10.
Moreover, medically it is termed as epistaxis.
Because of the number of blood vessels in your nose, you might have experienced nose bleeds once in your life.
Nose bleeds are not life-threatening and rarely indicate an underlying medical condition.
Moreover, the common causes of bleeds are local trauma, foreign bodies, nasal or sinus infections, and inhalation of dry air for a long period of time.
However, tumors and vascular malformations are potential causes of bleeds but are very rare.
Sudden nose bleeds are common in children which is due to the drying of the mucus membrane, crust, and crack.
When a child disrupts these by picking nose, it can bleed.
They are also common in individuals who use anticoagulants or blood-thinning medications like aspirin as well as in older people whose blood takes longer to clot.
If an individual is using blood-thinning medications, has high blood pressure, or blood clotting disorder, then nose bleeds can be hard to stop and can last for more than 20 minutes.
Causes and Symptoms
There are different causes of bleeds, and sudden or spontaneous nose bleeds are rarely a sign of any underlying medical condition.
But if you have frequent nosebleeds, then it could be a sign of a serious medical condition.
Doctors classify them as anterior nosebleed or posterior nosebleed.
In anterior bleeds, the bleeding comes from the walls of your two nostrils.
This part of your nose contains a lot of fragile and delicate blood vessels.
You can treat anterior nose bleeds at home and is one of the most common types in children.
However, in posterior bleeds, the bleeding starts from the back and the higher end of your nose where the arteries supply blood to the area.
Because of this reason, the bleeding is often heavier.
Posterior bleeds are often serious and may need medical consultations. Moreover, these are common in adults.
Causes of Anterior Nose Bleeds
Sometimes, there is no cause of anterior nose bleeds, however, the common causes of nosebleeds are as follows:
If you observe your child picking nose, then their nose can bleed due to long fingernails, or due to the reason that their nose is already tender or irritated.
A knock or blow on the nose can damage the fragile blood vessels or mucus membrane.
Sinusitis or inflammation of the sinus can also cause anterior nose bleeds.
A cold, flu, or nasal allergy can cause nose bleeds for several reasons.
This is because of:
- People often blow their nose in such cases
- Insides of the nose get irritated and tender during a viral infection, making it suspectable of bleeding
Hot climates with low humidity or changes from bitter cold to warm, dry climates can cause drying and crack of the insides of your nose, leading to nose bleeds.
Excessive use of medications like blood thinners or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDs can cause them.
Deviated Septum, when the walls of your nostrils are misaligned or off-center.
Liver diseases can interfere with blood clotting and can result in frequent or severe bleeds.
Causes of Posterior Nose Bleeds
The common causes of posterior nose bleeds can be due to underlying medical conditions.
These can be:
- blood pressure
- calcium deficiency
- blood diseases like hemophilia or leukemia
- nasal surgery
- Exposure to certain chemicals that can cause irritation in the mucus membrane
There may be other causes of nose bleeds as well. Let’s learn more about them.
Learn more about the ways to maintain normal blood pressure.
Other causes of bleeds can be as follows:
If you have a broken bone, or bridge of your nose fractures, or cartilage of the nose, then it can cause nose bleeds.
Factor X Deficiency
Stuart-Prower factor deficiency is a condition due to protein deficiency.
Aortic coarctation is a congenital narrowing of the aorta.
Foreign body in your Nose
This can happen mostly in children. For instance when they put Lego in their nose.
Osler-Weber Rendu Disease
This is a rare condition and can affect 1 in 5000 people.
It is a genetic disorder of the blood vessels that can lead to excessive bleeding.
Glomerulonephritis or Nephritis
This is an acute inflammation of kidney due to an immune reaction.
Von Willebrand Disease
A bleeding disorder due to deficiency of von Willebrand factor.
One of the signs and symptoms of the Ebola Virus in the latter stages is bleeding rash all over the body.
Other causes of nose bleeds are deficiency factors II, V, or VII, rheumatic fever, liver cirrhosis, celiac disease, or Leishmaniasis.
Symptoms of Nose Bleeds
One of the major signs and symptoms of nose bleeds is blood coming out of your nose.
Moreover, it can range from light to heavy bleeding.
If bleeding occurs when you are lying, you might feel liquid in the back of your throat before the blood comes from the nose.
Many doctors advise not to swallow the blood as it can cause feelings of nausea and vomiting.
However, in severe cases, it requires medical attention. Factors to watch out for are heavy bleeding, swallowing large amounts of blood that cause vomiting, tuning pale, shortness of breath, and palpitations.
The treatment of bleeding depends on the type and cause.
Moreover, when you seek medical advice, your doctor will perform a physical examination to determine the causes.
They will also check your nose for foreign objects in your nostrils.
The diagnosis depends on the causes and types. Your doctor may also ask about your medical history and medications you might be using.
If you have any recent injury or other symptoms, then you should tell your doctor.
Your doctor might also use diagnostic tests to find the causes.
These are complete blood count or CBC to check for blood disorders, partial thromboplastin time PTT to check for the time your blood takes to clot, and nasal endoscopy.
Moreover, other tests include a CT scan and X-ray of your face and nose.
If your doctor suspects an underlying medical condition causing bleeds, like hypertension or anemia, they may run further tests.
These include checking your blood pressure and pulse rate, or an X-ray before the treatment begins.
There are different types of treatment options physicians offer. These are:
This treatment uses a stuffing ribbon gauze or special nasal sponges that go as far as the back of your nose, thus, putting pressure on the source of bleeding.
A minor procedure that cauterizes or burns the area where there is bleeding to seal it off.
Moreover, your doctor will use this procedure if they identify the blood vessel. However, the area around the procedure can bleed in some cases.
It is a surgical procedure to straighten a crooked septum or the wall between the two channels of your nose.
It can be due to an injury or you might have a crooked nose by birth. This surgery can reduce the reoccurrence of nose bleeds.
Ligation is a surgical procedure that involves tying the ends of the blood vessels your doctor identifies from where bleeding occurs.
Sometimes, your doctor may also tie the artery from which bleeding occurs. If the source of the bleed is further back, then you may need major surgery.
There are certain home remedies you can try at home to stop bleeding nose. However, the first step is to stop the bleeding.
- sit down and pinch the soft parts of your nose firmly, and breath through your mouth
- sit upright so that your head is higher than the heart, this helps to reduce blood pressure and slows further bleeding
- keep on putting pressure on your nose, leaning forward, and sitting upright for at least 5 minutes and up to 20 minutes, so that the blood clots
- however, if the bleeding persists for more than 20 minutes, then you should seek medical attention
- apply an ice pack to the nose and cheek to soothe the area and avoid strenuous activity for a few days
If you suffer from excessive or frequent bleeds, then you should seek medical attention.
It could possibly be due to an underlying medical condition, a head injury, or if you take anticoagulants. With these remedies, bleeds can be easily treated at home.
You can take few preventive measures to prevent bleeding.
- do not pick your nose
- apply an ointment like petroleum jelly inside your nose, this is effective for children whose nose bleeds are common due to crusting insides of the nose
- use a humidifier if you live at high altitudes or in dry climates
- avoid activities that cause exertion for a minimum of 1 week after the previous nose bleeds
- do not blow your nose too hard or too frequently
Nose bleeds are common and not serious, and you can treat anterior bleeds effectively at home, which occurs suddenly and do not last long. If you are unable to stop anterior bleeds, then you should seek medical attention.
However, if they are frequent and persists, then it may indicate an underlying medical condition. Taking certain precautionary measures at home, like using a humidifier at home can help keep your nasal passages moist and can help prevent them.