Nosebleeds: Types, Causes, Symptoms
Most people will experience a nosebleed (epistaxis) at some point, and they're rarely a serious issue. Nosebleeds can be caused by dry air, frequent nose blowing, nasal injury, allergies, or blood thinner medications. There are two types of nosebleeds:
- Anterior nosebleed: Bleeding stems from the nasal septum (the dividing wall of the nostrils) in the front of the nose. This type of nosebleed is usually not serious.
- Posterior nosebleed: Blood drains from a higher, deeper portion of the nose, usually out of both nostrils and down the back of the throat. If bleeding does not stop on its own, you should seek medical care.
Nosebleeds often occur without warning and can be more common during the winter months as you breathe dry, heated indoor air. To alleviate frequent nosebleeds, schedule a visit to Cross Timbers ENT in Arlington, Mansfield, or Midlothian, TX.
"Nice office. Easy, efficient check-in. Mariah, the MA, is super-friendly, great to talk to, and does her job well. Dr. Shellenberger is friendly and professional, and quickly diagnosed the source of my nosebleeds, and addressed it via cauterization. He told me what to do and not to do, but I didn't get any paperwork to summarize that, which would have been nice. He also didn't give me any idea what to expect afterward, which is a lot worse than I expected. But still glad I went."- D.S. / Google / Aug 14, 2021
Treatment and prevention for Nosebleeds
To stop a nosebleed, lean forward in an upright position and firmly pinch the soft part of your nose for about ten minutes. Applying a cool compress over the center of the face may also help. While nosebleeds aren't usually a cause for concern, you may want to seek medical care if you experience recurring nosebleeds, as they could indicate an underlying health condition. During an appointment at Cross Timbers ENT, one of our trained specialists can perform an ear, nose, and throat exam and treat any bleeding. To prevent nosebleeds, we may recommend applying a saline gel or antibiotic ointment. If you have persistent bleeding, a minimally invasive sinus treatment like endoscopic cauterization, or even a procedure where a blood vessel is blocked off, called endoscopic sphenopalatine artery ligation, may provide relief.
Does stress cause nosebleeds?
While stress and/or stress headaches can lead to nosebleeds, they aren't necessarily a cause. Common causes of nosebleeds include frequent nose blowing or picking the nose, high altitude, dehydration, cold weather, dry air, pregnancy, an impact or injury to the nose, and heavy exercise or strenuous activity.
When should you be worried about nosebleeds?
Most nosebleeds aren't serious and are nothing to be worried about. However, heavy, frequent nosebleeds can be an indicator of a serious health problem, typically high blood pressure or a blood clotting disorder. If you experience frequent, heavy nosebleeds, you should schedule a consultation with your physician. If you experience a nosebleed that bleeds heavily for longer than 15 – 20 minutes, you're having difficulty breathing, or it followed a blow to the head or serious injury, you should immediately go to an emergency room.
What steps can I take to prevent nosebleeds?
- Keep the inside of your nose moist with nasal saline mists or a cotton swab with petroleum jelly
- Use a humidifier to avoid dry air
- Stop smoking
- Refrain from picking your nose
- Don't overuse cold or allergy medications
Nosebleeds can seem alarming, but they are probably not a medical emergency. However, some people deal with frequent nosebleeds that cause interruptions to their daily lives. At Cross Timbers ENT, our board-certified team can provide effective treatment to stop nosebleeds and prevent future bleeding incidents. Schedule an appointment at one of our North Texas locations today.