Nosebleeds are somewhat common. They may look scary, but they do not indicate any severe medical problems. The nose is a part of our bodies that comprise multiple blood vessels, located near the surface, in the back and front of the nose. They are extremely fragile and can bleed quite easily. Nosebleeds are quite popular in adults as well as children with in the age brackets of 3 to 10 years.
Nosebleeds are of two types. Anterior nosebleed normally occurs when there is a breakage in the vessels present nose’ front that leads to bleeding. Posterior nosebleeds normally occur in the deepest areas of the nose, causing blood to move down the throat’s rear. Posterior nosebleeds are life-threatening.
Causes of nosebleeds
Many things could be responsible for nosebleeds. An infrequent or sudden nosebleed is not serious. If you are dealing with frequent nosebleeds, you may have a severe problem on your hands.
One of the nosebleed causes is dry air, which is the most popular cause actually. Making use of a central heating system under a dry climate can dry nasal membranes, which happens to be nose tissues. This dryness normally results in crusting in the nose. Crusting can become irritating or may even itch. And when the nose is picked or scratched, it starts bleeding.
Adopting special decongestants for allergies, sinus problems or colds, antihistamines, can equally dry nasal membranes and give rise to nosebleeds. Another factor regarded as one of the causes of nosebleed is frequent blowing of the nose.
Some other reasons for nosebleeds include:
A host of nosebleeds cases require zero medical attention. However, it is advisable that you seek medical help if your nosebleed experience last for more than 20 minutes, or when it surfaces immediately after sustaining an injury. This could be an indication of posterior nosebleed, which is the more severe type.
Injuries that are likely to result in nosebleed are a car accident, a fall, or a punch to the face. After-injury nosebleeds could be a case of skull fracture, internal bleeding or broken nose.
Diagnosing a nosebleed
Should you ever seek any medical help for a nosebleed, the first thing your doctor would do is carry out a physical examination to establish the likely causes of nosebleed. They will examine the nose for foreign objects. They will equally ask a couple of questions regarding your current medications and medical history.
Inform your doctors about any recent injuries if you have any, as well as any unusual symptoms that you have noticed. For now there is no routine test for determining nosebleed causes. Your doctor may however, apply diagnostic tests to ascertain what could be responsible. These tests include the following:
- CBC (complete blood count) – a test for checking for blood disorders.
- PTT (partial thromboplastin) – a blood test for checking the amount of time it takes your blood to actually clot.
- nasal endoscopy
- Undergoing a nose CT scan.
- Nose and face X-ray.
Treating a nosebleed
Nosebleeds treatments differ from one to another depending on the causes of nosebleed. Continue reading to discover what you need to know regarding different nosebleeds causes.
Anterior nosebleeds are usually accompanied with bleeding from the front part of your nose, which is normally the nostril. It is possible to treat anterior nosebleeds at home. While you are sitting up, just squeeze the delicate section of your nose. Ensure that your two nostrils are completely closed. Leave your nostrils still closed for like 10 minutes, lean to the front slightly, and breathe with your mouth.
Avoid lying down when stopping a nosebleed. When you are lying down in such conditions, you are likely to swallow blood, which can be irritating to your stomach. Open your nostrils after about 10 minutes and verify if bleeding has ended. Do the above processes again if the bleeding is yet to stop.
Visit your health adviser if you find it difficult to end a nosebleed. You may be dealing with a posterior nosebleed which requires a rather invasive treatment.
Posterior bleeding is accompanied by bleeding at the back side of the nose. The blood has a tendency of flowing from that part of your nose down to your throat. Posterior nosebleeds are not as popular as anterior nosebleeds, though they are more severe. Avoid treating posterior nosebleeds at home. Get in touch with your doctor as soon as you can or approach an emergency room (ER) if you suspect posterior nosebleed.
Nosebleeds caused by foreign objects
If your nosebleed is caused by a foreign object, then your doctor can help you remove it.
Cauterization is a medical method that is equally used to stop frequent nosebleeds. To do this, your doctor would need to use silver nitrate or a heating device to burn the blood vessels that are in your nose. Your doctor may result to packing your nose with gauze, foam or cotton. Sometimes they end up implementing a balloon catheter for applying pressure on your blood vessels to stop the bleeding.
How to prevent nosebleeds
Here are various ways to prevent nosebleeds.
- Keep the air in your house moist with a humidifier.
- Refrain from picking your nose.
- Reduce the number of aspirin you are taking, as it is a possible contributor to nosebleeds. Have a conversation with your doctors before engaging such pills.
- Use decongestants and antihistamines in modest amounts, as these can dry the nose.
- Implement a gel or saline spray for keeping the nasal passages moistened.
Nosebleed is a common occurrence in people, and it is normally not serious. Majority of cases are anterior nosebleeds and shouldn’t cause any panic, as it can be easily treated at home. They normally appear suddenly, but don’t stay for long. They are caused by many factors, like dry air and frequent scratching of the nose. Contact your doctor immediately should you find it difficult to treat your anterior nosebleed all by yourself.
Posterior nosebleeds are bound to be more severe. If you suspect a posterior nosebleed, see your doctor as soon as possible or go for an ER. Some healthy ways of preventing nosebleeds include humidifying the air in your home, using nasal spray to moisten your nasal passages and avoid picking your nose.