Most people will have a nosebleed at some point in their life. Nosebleeds are most common in children between 2 and 10 years old and adults between 50 and 80 years old. While some nosebleeds are sporadic, other factors can cause recurrent nosebleeds, including:
- Allergies, infections, or dryness that cause itching and lead to rubbing or picking of the nose
- Vigorous nose-blowing
- Inherited clotting disorders
- Medications (such as anticoagulants or anti-inflammatories)
- Fractures of the nose or the base of the skull
- Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (a blood vessel growth disorder that runs in certain families)
- Tumors, both benign and malignant
There are two primary types of nosebleeds
These are nosebleeds that originate in the front of the nose and are caused when blood vessels in the septum are damaged due to trauma or, more commonly, environmental factors, some of which are listed above. Specifically, anterior nosebleeds are common in dry climates or when dry, heated indoor air dehydrates the nasal membranes and causes cracking and bleeding such as during the changes of season. Like chapped lips, which occur at similar times, these nosebleeds can often be prevented with regular topical application of Vaseline or moisturizers like saline gel.
How To Stop An Anterior Nosebleed
- Sit up.
- Lean slightly forward so the blood won’t drain down the throat.
- Gently blow any clotted blood out of the nose.
- Spray a nasal decongestant into the nose.
- Using the thumb and index finger, pinch all the soft parts of the nose. (Do not pack the inside of the nose with tissue, gauze, or cotton.)
- Hold the position for five minutes.
- If bleeding continues, repeat the above instructions every five minutes.
- If bleeding has not stopped after 30 minutes, consider going to an emergency room or urgent care facility.
As opposed to anterior nosebleeds, posterior nosebleeds occur high and deep within the nose and flow down the back of the mouth and throat. These nosebleeds are often more severe and usually require a physician’s care. Posterior nosebleeds are more likely to occur in cases of severe injury to the nose, as well as in the elderly and people on blood thinners and with high blood pressure.
When To Consult An ENT Physician (Otolaryngologist) For A Nosebleed
If you are experiencing frequent nosebleeds, an otolaryngologist at CornerStone Ear, Nose & Throat can provide you with a careful examination to determine the cause of the nosebleeds and suggest a course of treatment. The most common treatment options include counseling on methods to prevent and control nosebleeds; cautery, which involves burning the blood vessels to seal them closed; and temporarily packing the nose to place pressure on the blood vessels while the area heals. Generally, the least invasive approach is used to stop the bleeding and allow healing, and then prevention becomes the focus.