North Hills ENT

Nose Bleeds

A nose bleed is called epistaxis, and this is a fairly common condition. If you have ever had a nose bleed, you probably did not even realize that only one nostril was bleeding. The blood comes from the blood vessels inside of the nostrils. Nosebleeds are more common in people who live in dry climates, and they occur more often during the winter months. Children ages 2 to 10 and adults ages 50 to 80 are at the highest risk for having a nose bleed.

Causes and Concerns

The majority of time, a nose bleed is not serious. There are only a few reasons why a nose bleed could be serious and even life threating. There are several reasons why you may experience a nose bleed. The blood from an anterior nosebleed comes from inside of the nasal septum. The nasal septum is made up of tiny blood vessels that all join together in the area of the septum called the Kiesselbach plexus. Almost 90% of all nose bleeds come from this area. This type of nose bleed can be treated at home most of the time. If nosebleeds are frequent, a procedure called cauterization can help. This can be performed at our office.

Posterior nosebleeds are rare compared to anterior nosebleeds. With this type, the bleeding starts from an artery in the back of the nose. This is more common in elderly people, and posterior nose bleeding requires hospitalization.

Other causes of nose bleeds include:

  • Dry nostril passages
  • Sinus infections
  • Nasal passage infections (virus, bacterial, or fungi)
  • Excessive or hard nose blowing
  • Allergies
  • Deviated nasal septum (nasal septum is out of placed on one side)
  • Cocaine use
  • Foreign object in the nose
  • Recent nasal surgery (medical or plastic surgery)
  • Certain prescription medications (Coumadin, aspirin, and anti-inflammatory medications)
  • Antihistamines
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Blunt force trauma to the face (car accident, hit with a baseball, trauma)
  • Broken nose
  • Diseases causing problems with blood clotting

Symptoms and Signs

If you or your child has frequent nose bleeding, you should consider seeing a nose an ENT specialist. There are accompanying symptoms and signs that indicate an underlying problem. These include:

  • Persistent dry nose
  • Frequent nasal infections
  • Stuffy nose and colored drainage
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Inability to smell and loss of taste
  • Difficult breathing through the nose
  • Mouth breathing, especially at night

Solutions and Options

If the nose bleed has not stopped within 30 minutes, medical attention is required. Some tips for caring for a nose bleed include:

  • Stay calm
  • Pinch the soft spot on the bridge of the nose using your index finger and thumb.
  • Sit up or stand up (never lie down during a nosebleed).
  • Lean forward slightly, so the blood does not drain down the back of the throat.

Call us at 817-595-3700 to schedule an appointment if you feel you or your child needs to be seen for nosebleeds.

Additional Reading:

http://www.emedicinehealth.com/nosebleeds/article_em.htm

http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/Nosebleeds.cfm