Simple bleeding that causes blood loss from the tissue or blood vessels from the nose is called nosebleed or in the medical term "epistaxis". Sometimes the bleeding can be light and few drops of blood may show up but at times it can be heavy and takes minutes to control. Heavy bleeding from the nose is frightening and needs to attend by visiting a doctor. For normal bleeding, it can be treated at home.
Q: What may be the reason for blood drops?
A: The reasons for the bleeding can vary according to the situation, age and condition of the person. Some of the common ones are as follows:
- Picking your nose - Many have the habit of putting their finger and picking their nose. If you have grown nails, it can tear and cause bleeding.
- Climate - When the climate is hot and humid or even cold, it causes the nose to dry and crack. Due to over-drying inside the nose, one can see blood drops through the nostrils.
- Blowing nose very hard - When you have nose congestion, one tends to blow the nose very hard causing it to bleed.
- Nose injury - While playing or fighting, we might get hurt on the nose and that can cause bleeding.
- Overusing nasal decongestants - Many have the habit of using nasal decongestants but without following the instructions provided and that causes bleeding.
- Using Medications - Many people use blood-thinning medicines that can also cause bleeding from the nose.
- Sinus infection - Some times even people suffering from sinusitis can have a bleeding nose.
- In older people, it can be due to atherosclerosis i.e. hardening of the arteries.
- hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) - A genetic disorder that leads to abnormal blood vessel formation in the skin, mucous membranes.
- It can be early signs of leukemia, blood clotting, blood vessel disorder or a nasal tumor.
- It can also be due to infections, high blood pressure and blood clotting disorders.
Q: What are some of the preventive measures for bleeding nose?
A: Some of the precautionary measure that one needs to follow while having a bleeding nose are:
a) Try to avoid nose picking and always keep your nails short.
b) Sit down and lean forward keeping your head above your heart position. This will help to slow the bleeding and get control of the bleeding.
c) Using your thumb and index finger, squeeze the bony ridge i.e. bridge of your nose for at least 5 minutes or till bleeding stops. If it doesn't stop, hold for another 5 minutes.
d) During hot or cold climate, keep your room humidifier to avoid drying of your nose.
e) When playing or activities that can cause head injury, always wear headgear or head guard to avoid heat or nose injury.
f) Try to blow your nose gently or use water to blow your nose as it will eliminate force or pressure.
g) When using nasal decongestant, always follow the instructions that are written with it for safety.
h) Place an ice bag or simply ice covered by a towel on the nose can ease bleeding of the nose.
i) Stand tall with your head upright reduces the blood pressure and prevent bleeding from the nose.
Q: When should one consult a doctor or ENT for a bleeding nose?
A: Normally Nosebleeds aren't harmful or a cause to worry but one should consult ENT or a doctor when:
- You have nosebleed regularly or it comes and goes often.
- While having a nose bleed, you're having difficulty in breathing.
- You have lost a lot of blood by heavy nose bleeding.
- The bleeding has not stopped for over 20 minutes or have a clotting disorder such as hemophilia, anemia or taking blood-thinning medicine (anticoagulant).
- The bleeding of the nose is due to a serious injury, a hit on the face of by a fall.
- Children below 2 years should be taken to the doctor for consultation.
- Vomiting caused due to swallowing of large amounts of blood.
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