The sight of blood may be unexpected, but nosebleeds are actually quite common and rarely life threatening. Nasal irritation and low humidity most frequently cause nosebleeds. In most cases, nosebleeds can be stopped with self-care. Simply squeeze your nostrils and lean forward for 5 to 10 minutes. You should have your doctor examine you if you experience recurrent nosebleeds, as they may be caused by an underlying medical condition, such as high blood pressure.
The lining inside your nose contains many fine blood vessels that can bleed easily. The blood vessels near the tip of the nose are the most delicate, and this is where most nosebleeds occur.
Nosebleeds most frequently occur from irritation of the lining of the nose. Dry nasal passages from medications, low humidity, colds, allergies, or sinus infection commonly contribute to nosebleeds. The tissues inside the nose may crust and are further aggravated by nose picking or blowing. High blood pressure, bleeding disorders, or blood-thinning medication may cause nosebleeds. Additionally, people with crooked (deviated) septum or hereditary blood vessel irregularities may be susceptible to nosebleeds. Direct injury to the nose or a severe head injury can also cause nosebleeds.
You should contact your doctor if you have repeated frequent nosebleeds. Your doctor will examine you to determine the cause. You should seek emergency medical care if a nosebleed does not stop after 20 minutes or if bleeding occurs after injury.
Home treatment works for the majority of nosebleeds. Sit down and gently squeeze the soft part of your nose to close the nostrils. Bend forward and breathe through your mouth while holding your nose for 5-10 minutes. After at least 5 minutes, check to see if the bleeding has stopped. Do not place gauze or tissue in your nose. You should also avoid lying down. Do not sniff or blow your nose for several hours following a nosebleed.
Some people are able to prevent nosebleeds by using a humidifier or vaporizer during the cold winter months or in regions with low humidity.
Repeated frequent nosebleeds may be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as high blood pressure. Bleeding after injury to the head or face can be a symptom of a broken nose, skull fracture, or traumatic brain injury and warrants emergency medical treatment.