Causes And Care For Nosebleeds

Posted on: 24 April 2020

Nosebleeds, also known as epistaxis, are very common and you usually don't need to worry about them. If you have them very often, however, then you may have a problem that needs medical attention. Here is more information about what causes a spontaneous nosebleed and signs that you may need to see an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) surgeon.

What Causes Nosebleeds?

Your nose's inner membrane is very thin and contains many blood vessels. It's very easy for this membrane to break and for blood to start flowing out of your nose. If your nose is dry, then that could cause cracks in the skin and start bleeding on its own. Colds and allergies can also irritate the inside of the nose.

Less serious nosebleeds start in the front of the nose near the nostrils. However, those that start in the back of the nose, near the throat can be very serious. These types of nosebleeds involve larger blood vessels and more loss of blood. You are more likely to swallow large quantities of blood.

What Should One Do About Nosebleeds?

The most common way to stop a nose bleed is to stay upright, or slightly forward, and pinch the end of your nose shut. Usually, five minutes is sufficient to stop the blood flow. Do not lean backward or you could swallow blood which will irritate your stomach. Your nose will feel irritated and swollen, so ice packs can help. If you have any trouble breathing, or the blood does not slow down or stop after 30 minutes, then see a doctor right away.

How Can One Prevent Nosebleeds?

Use a saline spray to keep your nose moist. That will keep the membrane from cracking. Also, avoid using medicated nasal sprays. Use a humidifier if your home is chronically very dry. Some allergy medications can also increase nosebleeds. Don't pick your nose as you could puncture the skin. Smoking is also not good because it affects the blood vessels.

When Should You Talk to Your Doctor?

If your nosebleeds don't last long, but you have them very frequently, then see an ENT surgeon to talk about more permanent treatments for nosebleeds. One surgical technique is to cauterize the inside of your nose to seal up the blood vessels. This surgery is usually effective as long as you follow the surgeon's aftercare instructions. Your doctor may also suggest different creams and medications to reduce your nosebleed frequency.

Even if you have them often, nosebleeds usually won't have any serious accompanying health problems. If you have chronic nosebleeds, then make sure you eat a healthy diet. Also talk to an ENT doctor to see if you need more treatment. In some cases, chronic nosebleeds can be stopped with surgery, but that is not your only option.