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Nosebleeds (Epistaxis)

Nosebleeds may be an occasional / seasonal symptom you or your child may experience, or a problem that happens on a regular basis. There are different types of nosebleeds and different remedies. It is important to identify which type of nosebleed you may be experiencing, to help you treat it properly.

There are Anterior and Posterior nosebleeds, both related to drying and cracking within the nasal cavity. Sometimes they are caused by a change in the humidity of your daily environment. Others experience nosebleeds as a side effect of your body having changes in the tissues of your sinuses or an allergy episode that causes too much inflammation. In rare occasions there may be an old injury of trauma to the nose that was never looked at by a doctor, like a sports injury or car accident.

Anterior Nosebleeds
The most common type of nosebleed, these begin in the lower part of the septum (center of the nose separating both nostrils) where there is blood flow exiting one nostril while the patient is upright.

Causes of Anterior Nosebleeds
The most common cause of Anterior Nosebleeds is due to dry air. These are especially prominent nosebleeds during the cold drier Winter months when humidity decreases and air quality is much more dry. It leads to cracking and bleeding inside your lower nasal passages, and can lead to an occasional nose bleed.

Posterior Nosebleeds
Often experienced by older people, these types of nosebleeds begin deep within the nasal / sinus passages. Posterior nosebleeds often require the help of a physician.

Causes of Posterior Nosebleeds:
Posterior Nosebleeds are the results of a more complicated series of events, and it is better schedule and meet with a certified ENT provider, who can evaluate your medical history and anatomical structure, to make the best diagnosis. Posterior Nosebleeds drain into the back of the mouth or throat, especially during nose blowing or coughing episodes.

The Bigger Picture - other potential causes of nosebleeds:
Nose Injury – if someone gets punched in the nose, falls on their face or suffers from a nose injury playing sports the blood vessels may be broken. The bleed can sometimes be profuse or sometimes it just steadily oozes a flow of blood. If the injury to the blood vessels is near the front of the nose, the blood is bright red. If it happened further back on the nose, the blood is usually a darker red.
Dry Air – Simply breathing in dry air can cause damage in the delicate blood vessels in the nose.
Nose Picking – Fingernails are sharp edges that can cut skin, and pulling on the interior of the nose that is already slightly dry, or picking at existing scabs in the nose can break a blood vessel in your nose.
Allergies – Allergies cause inflammation in tissues of the nose and make those tissues more susceptible to cracking and bleeding.
Sinusitis – Inflamed sinuses due to a viral cold, a deviated septum that leads to regular sinus infections, allergy reactions that cause a lack of air flow and or nasal polyps in the nose can lead to nosebleeds.
Tumors - Undiagnosed tumors in and around your nose can alter your nasal passages and cause a nosebleed problem.
Workplace Reaction - Long term exposure to chemical fumes in the workplace such as gasoline or ammonia.
Deviated Septum – The septum is a cartilage, bone-like center, vertical division between your nasal passages. Sometimes people are born with this medial bone tilting to one side, or possibly experiencing a blunt trauma from an aggressive sport as a young person, or a fall or car accident. This blockage can lead to cutting off the body's ability for normal breathing. It can also deny normal mucus discharge from the nose, causing things to get trapped and then infected.
Cocaine – When inhaled it constricts blood vessels and can cause them to break.

Short-Term, Home Treatment:
If you are experiencing a nosebleed, position yourself to sit up with your head bent forward and use your fingers to gently squeeze your nostrils closed for 10 minutes. By keeping your nose closed, it allows the blood to clot inside your nasal cavity, which should stop the bleeding. hold a cold compress against the nose as you hold it shut. Don't speak and try not to swallow the blood from the nosebleed. You can spit it out.
Breathe through your mouth during this time, avoid blowing your nose and avoid sneezing, if possible, for several hours once the nose bleed stops. Sneezing and blowing your nose could remove the blood clot.
Do not pack your nose with gauze or cotton.

If you feel your nosebleeds have become a regular occurrence, please schedule an appointment with one of our doctors using our online form or by calling (704) 703-1080. We can diagnose the type and cause of the nosebleed, and offer options to stop it from happening regularly in the future.

PLEASE NOTE: If you or your child cannot stop the bleeding yourself, or your child's complexion turns pale or they become dizzy during these episodes, please seek immediate medical care at an emergency medical care facility.

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