Nosebleeds can happen for a variety of reasons, from a dry climate to picking your nose. But for some people, nosebleeds are a recurring problem. If you have a history of frequent nosebleeds, it’s important to understand the causes and how to treat them.
Types of Nosebleeds
There are two types of nosebleeds: anterior and posterior epistaxis.
Anterior epistaxis is the most common type of nosebleed. It occurs on the front part of your nasal septum. The blood vessels and tissues there are fragile and can easily rupture. However, anterior nosebleeds are usually easy to treat and are more common in children.
Posterior epistaxis is a less common type of nosebleed that occurs in the back of your nasal passages. Posterior epistaxis is usually more severe and might indicate a more significant problem. Posterior nosebleeds may cause heavier bleeding than anterior nosebleeds and are more difficult to control. This type of nosebleed is more common in adults.
What Causes a Nosebleed?
A nosebleed happens when the lining of the nose becomes damaged or when there’s a blockage in one of the nasal passages. Typically, nosebleeds come from only one nostril, but it’s also possible to have a bleed from both nostrils simultaneously. Frequent nosebleeds are generally due to bleeding from the front of the nose.
Causes of nosebleeds may include:
- Blowing or picking your nose
- Nose Injury/Trauma
- Deviated septum
- Nasal Polyps
Treating a Nosebleed
For more mild cases, stopping a nosebleed can be relatively easy. However, if the bleeding is more severe, medical attention may be required.
Steps to Stopping a Nosebleed:
1) Sit down and use gauze or tissue to pinch the soft part of your nose, applying pressure for 10 to 15 minutes.
2) Lean forward and be sure to breathe through your mouth. Staying upright can help reduce blood flow and repress further bleeding.
3) Place an ice pack on the bridge of your nose.
*Do not tilt your head back and avoid laying down as this may cause blood to flow down the throat and cause you to vomit.
When to Seek Medical Attention
If you have a nosebleed lasting longer than 20 minutes or if your nosebleed is recurring, you may need to seek medical attention. Other reasons to seek medical attention include:
- Difficulty breathing
- A nosebleed as a result of an injury
- Heavy blood loss and or swallowing blood
- Nosebleeds in children under the age of two
- If you are taking blood-thinning medications
- Having symptoms of anemia, such as heart palpitations
If home treatment fails to stop the bleeding or if nosebleeds are recurring, an otolaryngologist may recommend a cauterization or a nasal packing.
Nasal cauterization is a procedure that uses heat to stop the blood vessel from bleeding.
A nasal pack is a small piece of material that’s packed into the nose to absorb the blood and stop the bleeding. Nasal packing is usually done with a gauze or latex balloon.
Frequent Nose Bleeds
If you are experiencing a nosebleed that happens more than three times a week, you may need to see your doctor to rule out any underlying causes. These may include polyps, nasal fractures, or even cancer of the nose. Nosebleeds that happen more than 2-3 times a month may result from chronic allergies, deviated septum, high blood pressure, and other serious medical conditions.
Nosebleeds resulting from such underlying causes may need further treatment. While nosebleeds can be scary, it’s important to remember that most are not a sign of something serious.
Contact The Ear & Sinus Institute
The Ear and Sinus Institute specializes in treating nosebleeds and all other ear, nose & sinus conditions. We offer a team approach to care that puts the patient first. If you are experiencing recurring nosebleeds, please contact us at 817-332-4060 to book an appointment today.
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