Nosebleed refers to the loss of blood from the tissues that line the nasal cavity. Nosebleeds are very common, and are categorized based on the part of the nose from where the loss of blood occurs.
There are two types of nosebleeds:
- Anterior nosebleeds – This is the most common form of a nosebleed and occurs from the tissues in the front part of the nose. This type can be easily controlled by simple home remedies.
- Posterior nosebleeds – This is most commonly found in elderly people, and occurs from the tissue lining the back of the nose. In most cases, this type requires medical attention, as it is more complicated than anterior nosebleeds.
Nosebleeds are not serious health complications, but can be very irritating and can become a nuisance. These bleeds are very common in children between the ages of 2-years-old and 10-years-old, and also among elderly people. In many cases, the actual causes for nosebleeds are unknown.
The most common cause for bleeding from the tissue lining in nose is trauma to the organ include:
- A blow to the face, frequent cold, runny nose, and picking one's nose can cause a nosebleed.
- Problems in clotting of the blood due to health conditions or certain medications, like blood-thinning drugs, may also lead to nosebleeds.
- Corticosteroids and antihistamine medications are also known to cause nosebleeds in some.
- Liver and kidney diseases predispose a person to have nosebleeds.
- Some rare causes include tumors in the nasal cavity and high blood pressure.
Some of the factors that may increase the risk for nosebleeds include:
- Sinus infections
- Allergic rhinitis
- Surgery in nose
- Drug abuse
- Prolonged exposure to warm and dry air
One should immediately get medical attention if:
- There are frequent episodes of nosebleeds.
- There is blood in urine and stool.
- You are taking blood-thinning drugs.
- You have other health issues like kidney and liver diseases.
Avoiding vigorous blowing of the nose and nose picking would suffice to control the bleeding. At home, if you are to get a nosebleed, sit straight and lean your head forward. Close the nostrils with your fingers for about 10 minutes, and spit out the blood in the mouth to avoid vomiting.
Anterior nosebleeds are treated through cauterization with silver nitrate. If bleeding is persistant, doctors may recommend nasal packing to prevent blood loss. Sinus infections can be prevented by taking antibiotics. For posterior nosebleeds, doctors may suggest packing, pain medications, and sedatives to alleviate the symptoms. In most cases, nosebleeds occur during the cold, dry months. Using petroleum jelly or nasal saline spray may be helpful in keeping the nasal cavity moist. Quitting smoking helps to reduce dryness and irritation in the nasal passages.