Nose bleeding or epistaxis is often mild but can be life-threatening in very rare cases. The position of the nose on the face and the density of blood vessels in it makes it susceptible to bleeding.
Causes of Nose bleeding
Nosebleeds can be classified into anterior and posterior nosebleeds depending on the location from which the bleeding comes. Anterior nosebleeds are commonly seen in children and result from bleeding from the anterior nasal septum, called the little’s area.
Posterior nosebleeds result when bleeding originates further behind and higher up the nose in an area where artery branches supply blood to the nose. Posterior nosebleeds are more serious than anterior bleeds and may require medical attention. They are more common in adults.
The common causes of nosebleeds include:
- Nose-picking: Picking the inside of the nose, especially if done frequently, with long fingernails, and if the inside of the nose is already irritated or painful.
- Trauma: A blow to the nose could cause damage to the mucous membrane’s tiny blood vessels.
- Sinusitis: Inflammation of the air-filled cavities of the bone and skull surrounding the nose.
- Allergies: Allergies result in the inflammation of the nasal tissue and make the nasal blood vessels widen and bleed more easily.
- Viral infection: The inside of the nose can become inflamed and fragile during a viral infection, making it more prone to bleeding. Cold, viral infection, and nasal allergy cause people to blow their noses more frequently.
- Deviated Septum: This occurs when the thin wall between the nasal passages is moved to one side, making one nasal passage smaller. The surface of the nasal septum may become dry, increasing the risk of nosebleeds.
- Drugs: Excessive usage of some medications, such as blood thinners like warfarin and heparin or NSAIDs like aspirin, Ibuprofen.
- Liver disease: Blood clotting abnormalities can result from the inability of the liver to produce clotting factors. This can result in excessive loss of blood from minor injuries in the nose.
- Cocaine use: sniffing of cocaine can irritate the nasal mucosal and result in nosebleeds.
Other common causes of nosebleeds are:
- Foreign body in the nose
- Nasal sprays, such as those used to treat allergies, if used frequently
- Chronic nasal congestion
- Bleeding disorders
- Nasal polyps
- Complications of nasal surgery
When To See The Doctor
A nosebleed every now and then isn’t normally reason for alarm. However, if you experience more than two nosebleeds per week or if your nosebleeds last longer than 30 minutes, it’s time to contact your doctor. A visit to an ENT specialist may be recommended by your primary care physician.
Your nose and nasal passages will be examined by a doctor to rule out any odd bleeding causes. Small nasal polyps, a foreign body, or abnormally big blood vessels are all possibilities.
- Avoid picking your nose
- Apply a lubricating ointment to the inside of the nose, such as petroleum jelly (Vaseline), especially in youngsters whose nosebleeds are caused by crusting inside the nostrils.
- Avoiding cigarette smoke.
- Using headgear when playing sport.
- Drinking plenty of fluids.
- It’s best not to blow your nose too hard or too often.
- In dry conditions or at high altitudes, use a humidifier.
- Avoid effort or vigorous activity for at least 1 week after the previous nosebleed to prevent repeated nosebleeds.
The majority of nosebleeds are minor and will go away on their own or with self-care. If the bleeding is continuous and won’t stop despite appropriate first aid care, it is most likely caused by an underlying systemic condition.
The following treatment options may be recommended by the doctor:
- Nasal packing: ribbon gauze or special nasal sponges are pushed as far back as possible into your nose to apply pressure to the bleed’s source.
- Cautery: This is a technique that involves sealing the source of bleeding by burning it.
- Septal surgery for a deviated septum
- Ligation: a surgical procedure that involves stopping the bleeding by tying the ends of the affected blood vessels.