Nose bleeds are also known as epistaxis and they occur when there is blood loss from the tissue which lines the nose. This can occur in one nostril or both nostrils.
There are two types of nose bleeds:
Anterior nose bleeds count for about 90% of all nose bleeds and involves the blood vessels of the nasal septum. The very small blood vessels and capillaries can break and cause bleeding.
Posterior nose bleeds occur from a break in the artery in the back of the nose. This type of nose bleed is typically more common in elderly people and can cause blood to flow down the back of the throat or into the stomach. This can cause nausea and vomiting blood.
Causes of Nose Bleeds
One of the most common causes of nose bleeds is trauma. This can occur by a blow or direct hit to the outer nose causing blood vessels to rupture and bleed. Another type of trauma occurs on the inside of the nose where the blood vessels rupture and this is commonly from nose picking.
Other causes are:
- Blood thinning medication
- Allergic and non- allergic rhinitis
- Nasal or sinus infection
- Nasal surgery
- Vigorous nose blowing
- Rarely, nasal tumours
Types of Treatment
At home treatment
- Lean forward and breath through your mouth
- Apply an ice pack to the nose
- Gently and firmly pinch the soft outer part of the nose
- Cauterisation and sealing of the blood vessels with silver nitrate. This is the best method for people with anterior nose bleeds.
- Nasal packing may be used to help with blood clotting to stop the bleeding. This is used after nasal surgery.
- A bleeding nose from a posterior bleed can be very serious and needs hospitalisation.
Prevention of Nose Bleeds
These tips can help prevent nosebleeds:
- Do not pick your nose!
- Avoid blowing your nose too vigorously.
- Apply petroleum jelly or Vasoline regularly to help keep the inside of the nose moist and to prevent it from drying out.
- An antibiotic nasal ointment or saline spray may also be useful in keeping the nasal passages moist.