Conditions We Treat: Nosebleed or Epistaxis
Nosebleeds may seem scary, but are fairly common and aren’t usually dangerous. Learn more about nosebleeds, what you can do about them, and how the experienced team at ENT, Sinus & Hearing Care Center can help.
What Is a Nosebleed?
A nosebleed or epistaxis is a loss of blood from one or more of the blood vessels in the nasal cavity. The interior of the nose includes hundreds of tiny blood vessels, and when they’re broken or damaged, they bleed. This may occur more often among young children and seniors, but anyone can be affected.
Most nosebleeds in children occur in the front part of the nose close to the nostrils, where there are many fragile blood vessels that can be damaged easily. Children usually outgrow the tendency to have nosebleeds during their teenage years.
What Causes Nosebleeds?
Nosebleeds go hand in hand with nasal dryness. Being in extremely dry air or a dry climate, for example, or living at high altitudes can cause the sinuses to dry out and bleed. Nosebleeds can also commonly present in winter, when dry heat inside homes and other buildings can cause drying, cracking, or crusting inside the nose.
Other typical causes can include:
- Nose or facial injury
- Deviated septum
- Heavy nose-blowing
- Hemophilia or other bleeding disorders
- Foreign object in the nose
- Illicit drug use through the nose
- High blood pressure
- Certain medications
Many times no apparent cause for a nosebleed can be found.
How Are Nosebleeds Treated?
Typically a bloody nose can be effectively addressed at home by applying direct pressure for a short while. Simply lean forward while sitting down and gently pinch the nostrils for five to 10 minutes to help control and stop the bleeding. Apply ice or a cold-water compress to the bridge of the nose. If still bleeding after the first several minutes, repeat the process for another 10 minutes.
- Blowing or picking the nose after getting the bleeding to stop
- Stuffing the nose with tissue or gauze, which can potentially do more harm than good
When Should I Seek Professional Medical Help?
A persistent bloody nose or frequent occurrences could mean something more serious. It’s important to seek medical help if:
- The bleeding can’t be stopped or it’s recurring
- There’s a nose injury — for example, a nose fracture or other head trauma — potentially indicating a more serious problem
- There’s a large amount or rapid loss of blood
- The person feels faint, weak, or ill
- Breathing is difficult
- Blood also appears elsewhere, such as in the stool, urine, or gums
- The person bruises easily
- A foreign body is stuck in the nose
How Can I Prevent Nosebleeds?
Here are some general guidelines in the case of frequent nosebleeds:
- Use a cool mist humidifier in the person’s room at night if air in the home is dry, being sure to follow manufacturer instructions for cleaning the device to reduce the risk of germs and mold.
- Avoid picking the nose or blowing it too forcefully.
- Apply petroleum jelly inside the nostrils several times a day — especially at bedtime — to help keep the area moist.
- Use saline (salt water) drops or a saline nose spray as directed by a physician.
- Seek professional treatment for allergies that may contribute to frequent nosebleeds.
If you are experiencing nosebleeds, our highly trained team can perform a diagnostic exam, explain what’s happening with your nose, and tailor a treatment to your specific needs. So don’t wait. Contact us to schedule an evaluation today. We’re here to help!