Nosebleeds aren’t uncommon. That’s because the nose contains a myriad of blood vessels close to the skin, and they bleed easily.
Although nosebleeds are frightening, they are hardly ever serious. They occur in both children and adults. However, in some cases they can be severe, requiring medical attention.
For example, a posterior nosebleed, which occurs in the back of the nose, is often dangerous. In this case, blood flows down into the throat rather than coming out of the nostrils. Nevertheless, such issues are not so common.
What causes nosebleeds?
There are many causes of nosebleeds. If they’re frequent, chances are it may be nothing serious. But if it’s sudden or rare, as the posterior nosebleed, it’s typically a cause for concern.
Causes of nosebleeds include:
- Drying of the nasal membrane due to dry air, leading to crusting. When scratched, it easily bleeds
- Antihistamine and decongestants for allergies
- Frequent blowing of the nose
- Frequent nose picking
- Allergic reaction
- Nasal injury
- A foreign object inside the nose
- Chemical irritants
- Respiratory infection
- Large doses of aspirin
- Blood clotting issues
- High blood pressure
Nosebleeds may also result after an accident, such as a fall, car crash, or getting punched in the face. However, none of these will cause frequent bleeding.
If the bleeding is frequent and you also have other issues like facial pain, headaches, and breathing problems, it might be a deviated septum.
What is a deviated septum?
The nasal septum is the bone and cartilage dividing the nose into two nostrils. It’s usually straight at birth but can get misaligned — crooked — to some degree over time. In fact, about 80% of people will have a deviated septum, but not significant enough to cause problems.
When the septum gets significantly deviated, it can cause frequent nosebleeds, breathing problems, headaches, postnasal drip, and sleep disorders like snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. The breathing problem isn’t something to be relaxed about, so it’s best to seek medical help as soon as possible.
Notably, a deviated septum can be corrected by a procedure called septoplasty. When talking about septoplasty with Dr. Mani Zadeh, the professional says that patients have testified of impressive results. The process can help straighten the septum, thereby ending the other symptoms, including nosebleeds.
How are nosebleeds treated?
Medical treatment isn’t always required if the bleeding isn’t from an underlying condition. However, you should see a doctor if it lasts for over 20 minutes.
Generally, treatment is based on the cause and type of the condition.
These are the common ones where bleeding emerges from the nostrils.
To stop the bleeding, squeeze the soft part of your nose so that the nostrils are shut airtight. Keep them that way for about 10 minutes while breathing through your mouth. You should sit up throughout; do not lie down when trying to stop the bleeding as it can cause the blood to flow backward into your throat.
After 10 minutes, remove your fingers from your nose to see if the bleeding has stopped. If it hasn’t, it would be wise to seek immediate medical attention.
This type, already discussed above, requires medical attention as it is more complicated. Some treatment options include:
- Topical vasoconstriction
- Chemical cautery
- Nasal packing with nasal tampon/gauze and petroleum jelly
- Modified Foley catheter
- Arterial ligation.
The nose often bleeds because the nerves are fragile and are close to the surface. In addition, dry air, foreign objects in the nose, injuries, and accidents can cause bleeding.
If you experience other symptoms and bleeding lasts longer than expected, it is wise to get help quickly.