What are Nosebleeds?
When tiny blood vessels in your nose break and bleed, the condition is referred to as a nosebleed. Nosebleeds are fairly common. Every 1 in 7 American will experience a nosebleed at least once in their lifetime. Children between the ages of 2 and 10 are more susceptible to nosebleeds than adults. However, adult bloody nose is not rare either. People over 50 are at higher risks for developing a nosebleed. An injury or trauma to your nose can cause a one-off nosebleed. Allergies and dry nasal passage may lead to recurring nosebleeds.
Types of Nosebleeds
Following are the two main types of nosebleeds:
Anterior Nosebleed: Broken blood vessels in the lower part of your septum or the front of your nose cause anterior nosebleed. In case of an anterior nosebleed you will experience blood coming out of one of your nostril while you are sitting or standing.
Posterior Nosebleed: When the blood vessels rupture in the deepest part of your nose and the blood flows down the back of your nose into your throat, the condition is referred to as a posterior nosebleed. It is a serious condition that requires prompt medical attention.
What Causes a Nosebleed?
The more dangerous posterior nosebleeds are caused by:
- Injury to the nose or the face
- High blood pressure
- Older adults are more prone to developing posterior nosebleeds.
The more common anterior nosebleeds can be caused by any of the following factors:
- Dry indoor air in winters can crack and crust the inner linings of your nasal passage.
- Infections and allergies can cause itching and lead to picking of the nose, increasing the chances of a nosebleed
- Strenuous nose blowing may also rupture some blood vessels in the front of your nose
- Anticoagulant and anti-inflammatory drugs can increase nosebleed chances
- Foreign objects may injure your nose or get stuck leading to a nosebleed
- Fractures of the skull or your nose can trigger nosebleeds
- Antihistamines and decongestants can dry out your nasal passage and encourage nosebleeds
- Upper respiratory infection and repeated sneezing can cause nosebleeds as well
- Hereditary blood clotting disorders
- Blood vessel growths and tumor whether malignant or benign can cause nosebleeds
What are the Symptoms of Nosebleeds?
The most obvious symptom of the anterior nosebleed is a stream of blood running down your nostril. You can feel blood running down throat in case of a posterior nosebleed. Following symptoms may accompany your nosebleeds:
- Sinus pain
- Itchy and watery eyes
What are the Risk Factors for Nosebleeds?
Following are some of the risk factors for recurring or chronic nosebleeds:
- Living in a cold and dry environment
- Being involved in high impact physical activities
- Old age
- Children with long fingernails
- High blood pressure
- Bleeding and blood clotting disorders
How to Stop a Nosebleed?
If you or your kid has developed a nose bleed, following steps can help you manage it at home:
- Stay calm and composed
- Keep your nose above the level of your heart i.e. do not lie down
- Lean forward to prevent the blood running down your throat
- Squeeze the soft part of your nose with your thumb and forefinger, making sure your nostrils are closed and you are breathing through your mouth
- Hold this position for at least 10 minutes or for as long as needed to stop the nosebleed
If you are not able to manage the nosebleeds at home, seek the help of an experienced ENT specialist.
How is a Nosebleed Diagnosed?
Your ENT specialist may use following diagnostic procedures to determine the cause and an effective treatment plan for your nosebleed:
- You doctor may ask you questions about the frequency of your nosebleeds, any allergies or hereditary conditions
- A physical exam of your nose using an otoscope or an endoscope, to rule out any foreign object
- X-ray or CT scan of your nose and face to determine the extent of injury
- Complete Blood Count to check for blood disorders
How is a Nosebleed Treated?
Your otolaryngologist may use following procedures to help with quick recovery:
Cautery: Your doctor may burn the blood vessels with minute electric current, silver nitrate or laser to stop recurring nosebleeds.
Packing the Nose: Special gauze or an inflatable latex balloon can be used to put pressure on the blood vessels to stop the bleeding.
How to Prevent a Nosebleed?
Following measures can help you decrease your risks for developing nosebleeds:
- A thin coat of petroleum jelly or an antibiotic cream can keep the inner lining of your nose moist and protected against dry air
- A saline nasal spray can help keep the nasal passage moist
- Using a dependable humidifier in cold and dry weather can improve the suppleness of your nose, discouraging nosebleeds
- Keeping the fingernails of your children trimmed can decrease the incidences of nosebleeds
Nosebleeds may lead to serious and long-standing complications. Effective management and timely treatment is necessary. Right diagnosis and timely sinus treatment is essential. If you or your child have developed a nosebleed, do not hesitate to call us at 440-352-1474 to set up an appointment with a board-certified ENT Doctor in Concord, Willoughby, or Madison.
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OTHER HELPFUL NOSE, SINUS & ALLERGY FACT SHEETS:
- Allergies and Hay Fever
- Allergic Rhinitis, Sinusitis, and Rhinosinusitis
- Antihistamines, Decongestants, and Cold Remedies
- Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate
- Facial Sports Injuries
- Fungal Sinusitis
- Nasal Fractures
- Nose Surgery
- Pediatric Obesity and Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders
- Post-Nasal Drip
- Salivary Glands
- Secondhand Smoke
- Sinus Pain: Can Over-the-Counter Medications Help?
- Sinusitis: Special Considerations for Aging Patients
- Smell & Taste
- Stuffy Nose
- Tips for Sinus Sufferers
- Your Nose, the Guardian of Your Lungs