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Nose Bleed


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A bleeding nose looks scary but it is not something very uncommon among children or may be adults as well. The medical terminology for nosebleed is epistaxis.


Symptoms associated with nosebleed

Blood flows out from one nostril or both the nostrils. It continues for 5- 10 minutes or less than that. In normal cases, the nose bleeds for a few minutes and then it stops once you tilt your head backwards.

You might feel dizzy and lightheaded on too much blood loss.


Causes of nose bleed

There are two types of nose bleeding:

Anterior nose bleeding is the most common type that occurs from the blood vessel present in the front of the nose while posterior nosebleed is mainly observed in elderly and old people (50-80 years) wherein the artery present at the back of the nose bleeds.

Triggers for nosebleed are:

  • Cold and dry weather, winter season
  • Allergy in nose with cold, sneezing or sinusitis
  • Picking or blowing the nose hard
  • Excessive use of decongestants and nasal sprays

Nose bleeding can also occur if you had an injury, tumor or fracture in your nose or if you have a deviated septum.


When to see a doctor?

In anterior case of nosebleed, it would stop spontaneously with preventive measures at home. Posterior nose bleeding needs medical care. However, under any circumstance if your nose is bleeding too often then you must check with a doctor, especially if you are taking blood thinners or aspirin at the same time.


Diagnosis of nosebleed

Your doctor (or otolaryngologist) will check your nose for the punctured blood vessel in the frontal portion of the nose. He would immediately give you a medicated cotton ball to stop the bleeding and reduce the swelling.

Apart from this, you need to tell your doctor about the medicines you are taking which could possibly trigger bleeding. There’s no specific diagnostic test for nose bleeds as physical evaluation is enough to figure out the cause.


Treatment of nosebleed

You will need medical treatment only if your nose continues to bleed and the treatment for anterior nosebleed is different from posterior.

Anterior nosebleed requires your doctor to cauterize or seal the blood vessel with heat or silver nitrate. The process is painful and is performed under local anesthesia. If bleeding is not arrested still, then your doctor would pack your nose with sponge or ribbon gauze until your nose stops bleeding.

You would be retained in the hospital if it’s a case of posterior nosebleed or trauma that has lead to massive bleeding. Your nose will be packed with a balloon and you’ll be given pain killers and sedatives during the treatment. In more severe cases of bleeding, a surgery might be performed on the artery.

You would be strictly advised to not blow your nose. Follow up checkups would be scheduled. Your doctor will further advise you regarding the medicines you are taking.

How do you manage at home when your nose starts bleeding suddenly?

You can always try the following steps as “first aid” for nosebleed.

  • First be calm if you see your nose bleeding, do not start panicking
  • Now sit straight or maintain an upright stature without bending. Now slowly tilt your head backwards but not your body. This would prevent the blood from reaching your throat.
  • Now pinch your nose at the nostrils while maintaining the same position. You can breathe through your mouth
  • Keep pinching your nose until you stop bleeding or you can block the nostril with cotton ball as well

Written by: Healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: October 27, 2014

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