Occasional nosebleeds are common. If you have a few after a particularly bad respiratory infection or another during the dry months of winter, there’s likely no fundamental issue, and you won’t need treatment beyond a supply of clean, absorbent material. The wound will heal and you’re good to go until the next cold and flu season.
There are some people, though, who have nosebleeds on a far more regular basis. When you’re seeing blood more than once a week, your nosebleeds are considered frequent in medical terms. Rather than stocking up on cotton balls, it’s time to contact Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates about a permanent solution.
Common causes of nosebleeds
The nose is a busy place, with much more to do than simply prop up your glasses. To carry out its function, there are lots of tiny blood vessels very close to the surface, providing a warm, moist atmosphere for the air you inhale. Most nosebleeds happen for one of two reasons (or a combination of both): dry air and trauma, including digging or picking.
Other reasons you may be more likely to have a nosebleed include:
- Injury to the nose
- Nasal sprays such as anti-allergy or decongestant sprays.
- Genetic predisposition — nosebleeds run in your family
- Sinus infections
- Medications that thin the blood, such as aspirin and warfarin
- Environmental and chemical irritants that are inhaled
- Deviated septum
There are other, more serious conditions that can cause nosebleeds, including tumors and leukemia, but these are, fortunately, rare. Generally, nosebleeds aren’t a symptom of high blood pressure, though severe high blood pressure could make nosebleeds worse.
Self-care for nosebleeds
If you have a few nosebleeds through the year, there’s likely nothing to be concerned about, and you probably already know the reasons why your nosebleeds occur. You can prevent some of these nosebleeds by keeping the inside of your nose moist, humidifying your home during the winter months, or applying a thin coating of antibiotic ointment or petroleum jelly to the inside of your nostrils.
When you have a nosebleed, perform the following:
Remain upright and lean forward
This lessens blood pressure in your nose and keeps blood flowing out your nostrils rather than down your throat.
Blow your nose gently
This can clear any blood clots. Then pinch both nostrils shut, even if you’re bleeding only on one side. Pinch for 10 to 15 minutes while breathing through your mouth.
If at first …
Repeat this again, if necessary. If the bleeding hasn’t slowed or stopped, seek medical help to stop the flow.
Medical treatment for nosebleeds
If you’ve got a stubborn or frequent nosebleed condition, the physicians of Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates can help you put a stop to it. The usual medical treatments for nosebleed include packing in either the front or back of a nostril, cauterization or a combination of both, as well as pain management and infection control.
More serious nosebleeds may require surgically closing off certain blood vessels leading to the nose, or through therapeutic embolization, a deliberate blockage of one or more blood vessels leading to the point of bleeding in your nose. The body re-vascularizes your nose to keep blood flow happening, but the vulnerable arteries are no longer a problem.