What You Need to Know About Nosebleeds

What You Need to Know About Nosebleeds

Nosebleeds, medically termed epistaxis, are a common occurrence. In fact, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, almost everyone will experience a nosebleed at some point in their life. While most nosebleeds are not cause for alarm and can be easily managed at home, there are times when it is important to seek medical attention. In this blog post, we will discuss everything you need to know about nosebleeds!

What are nosebleeds?

Nosebleeds occur when the blood vessels in the nose rupture. There are two types of nosebleeds:

  • Anterior nosebleeds: These nosebleeds originate from the front of the septum and are by far the most common type. Anterior nosebleeds often result from picking or blowing your nose too hard, as well as from dryness.
  • Posterior nosebleeds: Posterior nosebleeds occur less frequently than anterior nosebleeds and originate from the back of the nose. These nosebleeds are usually more serious and often require medical attention. Posterior nosebleeds are often caused by high blood pressure, trauma, or nasal tumors.
woman with a nosebleed

There are many different things that can cause nosebleeds. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Picking or blowing your nose too hard
  • Dryness (either from the weather or from allergies)
  • High blood pressure
  • Nasal tumors
  • Trauma (such as a nose injury)
  • Blood thinners (such as aspirin)
  • Allergies
  • Cold and flu

While most people will experience a nosebleed at some point in their lives, they are not usually frequent occurrences. However, certain groups of people are more prone to nosebleeds than others. These include children (due to their smaller nasal passages), older adults (due to dryness and thinning of the skin), and people who take blood-thinning medication (such as aspirin).

In some cases, people who frequently have nosebleeds may be affected by a condition known as a deviated septum. This is a condition in which the septum (the bone and cartilage that divides the two sides of the nose) is off-center, which can make one side of the nose more prone to bleeding.

How can I prevent or manage nosebleeds?

humidifier next to a plant

There are a few things you can do to prevent nosebleeds, such as:

  • Keep the air in your home moist (use a humidifier)
  • Apply a petroleum jelly-based ointment to the inside of your nose
  • Avoid picking or blowing your nose too forcefully

If you do experience a nosebleed, there are a few things you can do to manage it:

  • Sit up straight and tilt your head forward slightly (do not lie down)
  • Pinch your nostrils shut and breathe through your mouth
  • Apply pressure to your nose for five to ten minutes
  • Use a cold compress on your forehead or cheeks (do not put ice directly on your nose)

When should I be concerned and seek medical attention?

If you experience frequent nosebleeds, if the bleeding does not stop after two ten minute periods of applying firm pressure, or if you are coughing up large amounts of blood, it is important to seek medical attention. These could be signs of a more serious condition, such as an infection or a bleeding disorder.

In Conclusion

In this blog, we have discussed everything you need to know about nosebleeds! We hope that this has been helpful and informative for you. Remember, most nosebleeds are not cause for alarm and can be easily managed at home. However, if you experience frequent nosebleeds or the bleeding does not stop after ten minutes of applying pressure, it is important to seek medical attention. Thanks for reading!

Lee A. Kleiman

Dr. Lee A. Kleiman is a double board certified ENT & plastic surgeon at Anne Arundel ENT in Annapolis, Maryland known for his superior clinical outcomes in all Surgical and Non-Surgical ENT, specializing in Sinus Care, Voice and Swallowing, Rhinoplasty and Revision Rhinoplasty, and Facelifts and Non-surgical Aesthetic. He also continues to attend conferences internationally and nationally to keep abreast of the latest treatments and technology.