Introduction to the Causes and Treatment Methods for Nose Bleeds
Nosebleeds are common. Nevertheless, they can be frightening since they come on suddenly. Fortunately, the majority of nosebleeds aren’t serious. Most will go away within a short period of time, especially if you use the following steps after developing a common nosebleed:
- Begin by pinching the sides of your nose firmly together using your thumb and index finger.
- Learn slightly forward with your head tilted down making sure that you head is higher than heart level.
- Hold your nose in this position for about 5 minutes or so until your nose has stopped bleeding.
- If necessary, repeat these steps and apply wrapped ice to the cheeks and nose area.
When to Seek Medical Attention
- If you experience recurrent nosebleeds or you are unable to stop a nosebleed
- If your infant has a nosebleed
- If, in addition to a nosebleed, you have a headache, fever and/or feel weak or faint
- If you are taking blood thinners and you experience a nosebleed
While these conditions are not always emergency situations, it is better to play it safe. An ear, nose and throat doctor will perform the necessary diagnostic tests and utilize the most effective treatment plans depending on the cause of your nosebleeds.
Causes of Nosebleeds
Your nose is situated in a vulnerable position. As a result, nosebleeds as a result of trauma to the nose are common. External trauma, such as a sharp blow to the face, or internal trauma, such as irritation from a cold or from nose picking, can lead to nosebleeds. Nosebleeds are much more common in the winter months or in dry climates, since low humidity levels can dry out the nasal membranes.
Disorders that interfere with the body’s ability to clot blood are less common causes of nosebleeds. For example, blood-thinning pharmaceuticals, such as warfarin or aspirin, or anti-inflammatory medications may cause an inability of the blood to clot. Nose cancers or abnormal blood vessels are far less common causes of nosebleeds.
Factors that may put you at higher risk for nosebleeds include:
- Internal nose trauma (more common in children) such as self-induced trauma caused by nose picking
- Non-allergic and allergic rhinitis
- Use of blood-thinning drugs
- Use of anti-inflammatory medications
- Alcohol abuse
- Inherited bleeding disorders
Since nose bleeds are often caused by dry nasal membranes, you may be able to alleviate the problem by lubricating the inside of your nose with a specialized ointment. Applying the ointment with a Q-tip will allow you to properly moisturize the wall that separates your right and left nostril (the septum), which is important for preventing nosebleeds in the drying months of the year.
If your child experiences frequent nosebleeds, be sure to visit your doctor. If no underlying cause is found, then it may just be a matter of watching your child’s habits. For example, if your child picks their nose often, it may help to talk with them about how this causes nosebleeds.
In some cases, doctors will insert nasal packs when a nosebleed cannot be stopped using other methods. These packs are typically left in for about 2-3 days. If you are experiencing any pain, your doctor will prescribe an appropriate pain medication and may also prescribe antibiotics, if necessary. Keep in mind that medication such as aspirin or other meds that act as blood thinners should not be taken if you are experiencing nosebleeds.
Talk with an ENT doctor for the most effective treatment plan if you experience chronic nosebleeds. There may be a simple solution, or there may be an underlying condition that will need to be addressed before the issue can be resolved.