Nose Bleed Causes And Symptoms: How To Stop And Prevent It?

Bleeding from nose in medical parlance is called epistaxis. It occurs due to rupture of a blood vessel in the nasal canal. In most cases the bleeding is sudden, unless it is damaged by a major trauma or some underlying blood abnormalities. Bleeding usually occurs from the lining of the nasal septum which has rich supply of blood vessels. The forward part of the nose has delicate membranes that crack easily and bleed.

Usually epistaxis is self limiting if the hemostatic (hemorrhage arresting) mechanism in the body is normal. Although bleeding from nose may be frightening, most cases of nose bleeding is not serious.

Home remedies and self care measures can stop the bleeding, especially when it occurs from the front portion of the nose. If the blood loss is significant and requires medical assistance, the choice should be an ENT specialist.

What Causes Bleeding From Nose?

Nose bleed is common in adults as well as children. Bleeding usually occurs from one nostril. Several factors are responsible for nose bleed, here they are;

  • Most common cause of epistaxis in young people is idiopathic, meaning the reason is not known. It begins spontaneously and stops after few minutes.
  • Frequently epistaxis occurs in winter season, when the air is dry as the mucus membrane cracks easily.
  • Traumatic injury to the nose or a blow, hard rubbing of the nose may also damage the nasal mucus membrane and the vessel beneath it.
  • Children picking their nose or adults blowing their nose very hard can damage the inner nasal lining and precipitate bleeding.
  • Inflammation of the nose due to cold, rhinitis, sinusitis, tumors of nose.
  • Epistaxis is common in infective fever. Influenza, measles, typhoid, malaria dengue, are few common diseases that may trigger nasal bleeding.
  • Blood disorders such as hemophilia, thrombocytopenia, Christmas disease, vitamin K deficiency.
  • Use of anticoagulants and blood thinners.
  • Frequent use of intranasal steroids and nasal sprays for rhinitis.
  • In older patients hypertension can cause bleeding from the nose.

Symptoms Of Nose Bleeds

Nose bleed usually occurs in one nostril, but in some cases it may be present in both the sides. Both the sexes are equally affected. Epistaxis is also common in children.

  • Bleeding begins spontaneously. Most patients get scared and anxious with the blood streaming down the nose.
  • In many cases there is history of minor trauma or blowing of nose that is too hard.
  • Accompanying symptoms such as watery discharge, unilateral headache, sneezing may be present.
  • Sensation of fluid in the throat or back of the nose.
  • If the nostril gets blocked with blood clot, and if bleeding persists, it may come out from other nostril.
  • The bleeding may prolong if there is underlying blood disorder, history of anticoagulant therapy, high blood pressure etc.
  • With heavy bleeding there is shortness of breath, rapid pulse, vomiting of blood that has gone in the stomach from the back of the nose.

How To Stop Bleeding From Nose?

It is very important for the patient to remain calm when there is bleeding from the nose.

  • The patient should sit and bend his head forwards and allow the blood to come out from the nose.
  • Press the nose with your fingers for few minutes. During this period breathe through your mouth.
  • Apply ice cold packs on the nose bridge. Applying cold allows the vessels to constrict and reduce the blood flow.
  • Once the bleeding stops, avoid blowing the nose as it may again initiate fresh episode of nasal bleeding.
  • Petroleum jelly is a lubricant and prevents dryness inside the nose. Apply it especially when the weather is dry.
  • Nasal pack: If bleeding persists, pack the nostril with gauze. Use your thumb and forefinger to squeeze shut the soft part of the nose. For that period, the person has to breathe from the mouth.

How To Prevent Frequent Nose Bleeds?

  • Children should avoid picking in the nose.
  • Use a home humidifier to prevent dryness in the air.
  • In dry weather keep membranes moist by applying thin layer of petroleum jelly inside the nose.
  • Do not smoke if you want to keep the nasal cavity moist. Smoking really dries out the membrane.
  • Eat foods that contain vitamin C. Vitamin C helps to strengthen the mucus membrane creating a healthy protective lining for the sinuses and nose.