What causes nose bleeding?

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Nosebleeds can be frightening, but they’re typically not serious and can be handled at home. Nevertheless, certain symptoms should be checked by a doctor. Hospital Ochoa has a specialised department of Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose and Throat).

Common causes of nosebleeds

Nosebleeds (also called epistaxis) occur easily because the septum (the inner wall that separates the nostrils) contains many delicate blood vessels close to the surface lining.

They are typically subdivided into two types: anterior and posterior. Anterior nosebleeds occur in the lower part of the septum, close to the nostrils, whereas posterior nosebleeds start deeper in the back of the nose. Anterior nosebleeds are far more common, making up almost 95% of cases.

The two most common causes are dry air and nose picking. Common causes of nosebleeds include:

  • Dry air
  • Nose picking
  • Allergies
  • Irritations
  • Colds
  • Repeated nose-blowing
  • External trauma to the nose
  • Nasal sprays
  • Sinus infection
  • Aspirin
  • Cocaine
  • Nasal surgery
  • Alcohol use
  • Deviated septum
  • Chemical irritants like ammonia
  • Blood thinners
  • Pregnancy

How to stop a nosebleed?

  • Stay calm. Getting nervous can increase the bleeding.
  • Sit up, don’t lie down. Keep your head above your heart.
  • Lean a little bit forward. This keeps the blood from draining down the back of the throat and irritating the stomach.
  • Pinch the nostrils closed. Use the thumb and index finger to hold the nostrils closed and breathe through the mouth. Continue to pinch for approximately 10 minutes until the bleeding stops.

When to see a doctor

While nosebleeds are typically not serious, they may sometimes be symptomatic of more serious pathologies. See a doctor if you get frequent nosebleeds.

In addition, go to the nearest hospital or call 112 if:

  • The nosebleed last longer than 30 minutes after putting pressure on it.
  • The bleeding is rapid, or the blood loss is large.
  • The bleeding is accompanied by difficulty breathing.
  • The nosebleed occurs in a child under the age of 2.
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