Nosebleed Causes, Complications, Prevention And Treatment


Due to the nose's position and the blood vessels in its lining that are close to the surface, nosebleeds, also known as epistaxis, can happen quickly. Most nosebleeds may be managed at home, but some symptoms necessitate seeing a doctor.

In its most basic form, a nosebleed is just blood loss from the tissue lining your nose.

 Nosebleeds, also known as epistaxis, are frequent. In their lives, 60% of people will experience at least one nosebleed. The nose is a common site for damage and nosebleeds due to its central placement on the face and the significant number of blood vessels that are near the surface in its lining.

Although it might be frightening to see blood gushing from your nose, most nosebleeds are not dangerous and can be treated at home. However, some need to be examined by your doctor. For instance, consult your doctor if you frequently get nosebleeds. This can be a precursor to other medical issues that need to be looked at. Occasionally, nosebleeds begin in the back of the nose. Large blood arteries are typically involved, substantial bleeding occurs, and these nosebleeds can be deadly. If you have this kind of bleeding, you should seek medical treatment, especially if it follows an accident and does not cease after 20 minutes of putting direct pressure on your nose.


Many factors can induce nosebleeds. Thankfully, the majority are not serious.

Dry air is the most frequent reason for nosebleeds. Hot, low-humidity climates and warm interior air both contribute to dry air. The nasal membrane, which is the fragile tissue inside your nose, dries up in both settings, becomes crusty or cracked, and is more prone to bleed when rubbed, plucked, or when you blow your nose.

Additional typical reasons for nosebleeds include:

  • Smelling things.
  • Upper respiratory infections (colds) and sinusitis, particularly bouts that involve a lot of sneezing, coughing, and blowing of the nose.
  • Firmly blowing your nose.
  • Putting anything into your nose.
  • Injury to the face or nose
  • Rhinitis can be allergic or not (inflammation of the nasal lining).
  • Medicines that thin the blood (aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, warfarin, and others).
  • Cocaine
  • Inhaled through the nose, as well as other medications.
  • Chemical allergens (chemicals in cleaning supplies, chemical fumes at the workplace, other strong odors).
  • High elevations. As you ascend, the air gets thinner (short of oxygen) and dryer.
  • Divergent septum (an abnormal shape of the wall that separates the two sides of the nose).
  • Frequent use of medicines and nasal sprays to address runny, itchy, or stuffy noses. Antihistamines and decongestants have the potential to dry up the nasal membranes.

Other, less typical reasons for nosebleeds include as follows:

  • Using alcohol.
  • Bleeding illnesses such as leukemia, hemophilia, and von Willebrand disease.
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Atherosclerosis.
  • Rhinoplasty and facial surgery.
  • Nasal growths.
  • Nose growths.
  • Thrombocytopenia immune.
  • Leukemia.
  • Hemorrhagic telangiectasia which is hereditary.
  • Pregnancy.

Who can get a Nosebleed?

A nosebleed may happen to anybody. A lifespan will typically include at least one. Some people are more prone to bleeding from the nose. They consist of:

  • Children between the ages of two and ten. Children are more prone to nosebleeds due to dry air, colds, allergies, and inserting fingers and items into their noses.
  • Adults who are 45 to 65 years old. In middle age and older individuals, blood clotting times may be prolonged. They are also more prone to have high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (hardening of the artery walls), a bleeding condition, and to regularly use blood thinners like aspirin.
  • Expecting mothers. Pregnancy causes blood vessels in the nose to enlarge, which increases pressure on the fragile blood vessels in the lining of the nose.
  • Individuals who take anticoagulants like aspirin or warfarin.
  • Individuals who suffer from blood clotting conditions like hemophilia or von Willebrand disease.

Types of Nosebleeds

The location of the blood helps to characterize nosebleeds. One is more serious than the other of the two main categories.

An anterior nosebleed originates in the front of the nose on the lower part of the wall separating its two sides (called the septum). Delicate capillaries and small blood vessels at the front of the nose are prone to bursting and bleeding. The most typical and often non-serious form of nosebleed is this one. Children are more likely to get these nosebleeds, which may typically be managed at home.

Deep inside the nose, there is a posterior nosebleed. The bigger blood vessels at the back of the nose are bleeding, which is what's causing this nosebleed. Compared to an anterior nosebleed, this one may be more dangerous. Significant bleeding that extends down the esophagus may result from it. You could need emergency medical care if your nosebleed is this severe. These nosebleeds are more common in adults.


The following are indicators and symptoms of a nosebleed:

  • Bleeding from one or both nostrils. 
  • A feeling of liquid streaming down the throat.
  • A constant want to swallow


  • To keep your nasal passages moist, use a saline nasal spray or saline nose drops twice to three times a day in each nostril. These items can be created at home or purchased over the counter. (To prepare saline solution at home, combine 1 teaspoon salt with 1 quart of regular tap water. 20 minutes of boiling water followed by mild cooling.)
  • To add moisture to the air, put a humidifier on your heater or use one at night in your bedroom.
  • Apply water-soluble nasal gels or ointments using a cotton swab into your nostrils. You can use over-the-counter ointments like Bacitracin®, Vaseline®, or Ayr Gel®. Make sure not to put the swab into your nose any deeper than 14 inches. These ointments and gels can be found in the majority of pharmacies.
  • Try not to blow your nose too hard.
  • Open your mouth and cough. At all times, sneeze into a tissue or the crook of your arm.
  • Avoid sticking your fingers, or any other hard object, up your nose.
  • Limit the amount of aspirin and ibuprofen you take since they might cause more bleeding. Please keep in mind that any medication modification, especially one that involves a prescription substance like warfarin (Coumadin®) or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), should only be carried out with your doctor's approval.
  • If your nasal allergy symptoms are difficult to manage with over-the-counter or prescribed drugs, consult your doctor. When using over-the-counter medications, be sure you follow the guidelines precisely. Rhino Bleeds can result from overusing them.
  • Give up smoking. Your nose becomes dry and irritated after smoking.
  • Wear a helmet if necessary. Taking part in activities that might harm your face and nose.
  • Keep the fingernails on your youngster short.
  • Do not be afraid to phone your doctor if you have any queries or worries.


To stop a nosebleed, do the following:

  • Relax.
  • Leaning your head and torso slightly forward while sitting erect. Your throat will not become swollen with blood, which will prevent nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. (Keep your head out of your knees and avoid resting flat.
  • Use your mouth to breathe.
  • To collect the blood, use a tissue or a wet washcloth.
  • Pinch the soft area of your nose together with your thumb and index finger. Make careful to squeeze the soft portion of the nose tightly against the tough bony ridge that makes up the nose's bridge. It will not put pressure where it can assist stop the bleeding if you squeeze at or above the bony section of the nose.
  • Continue constantly pinching your nose before determining if the bleeding has stopped, wait at least five minutes (measured by the clock). Continue squeezing your nose for another 10 minutes if it is still bleeding.
  • If you would want to further aid constrict blood vessels (which will halt the bleeding) and feel more comfortable, place an ice pack on the bridge of your nose. You can attempt this step even if it is not required.
  • The bleeding side of the nose can be sprayed with an over-the-counter decongestant spray, such as oxymetazoline, a possible nosebleed risk.

Depending on the reason, treatments could include:

  • Cramming the nose. Your nose is stuffed with gauze, specialized nasal sponges, foam, or an inflated latex balloon to apply pressure to the bleeding area. Frequently, the substance is kept in place for 24 to 48 hours before being taken out by a medical expert.
  • Cauterization. In this operation, the leaking blood artery is sealed by using either a chemical (silver nitrate) or thermal energy (electrocautery). To initially numb the inside of your nose, a local anesthetic is shot inside the nostril.
  • Modified prescriptions for medications. Cutting back on or quitting blood thinner use can be beneficial. Additionally, blood pressure medicines can be required. Tranexamic (Lystedaâ), a medication that prevents blood clots, may be administered.
  • If a foreign object is what is causing the nosebleed, get it removed.
  • Surgically repairing a broken nose or, if the deviated septum is to blame, correcting the septum.
  • Ligation. In this operation, the blood artery that is causing the bleeding is tied up to halt it.

Complications of Nosebleeds

Dial your doctor right away, have a friend or family member transport you to the closest emergency facility, or contact a medical professional ,if you have any of the following:

  • After exerting direct pressure on your nose as instructed in the instructions above for more than 15 to 20 minutes, the bleeding cannot be stopped.
  • The bleeding is heavy or happens quickly (more than a cup).
  • Breathing is challenging for you.
  • Due to ingesting a significant amount of blood, you have vomited.
  • A hit to the head or other major injury caused your nose to bleed (fall, car accident, smash to your face or nose).

Call your doctor right away if:

  • Your nose bleeds a lot.
  • You exhibit anemia-related signs (feeling weak or faint, tired, cold, short of breath, pale skin).
  • Your youngster is under two years old and has experienced a nosebleed.
  • If the bleeding will not stop, you may be using blood thinners (such as aspirin or warfarin) or have a clotting issue.
  • You get a nosebleed that appears to be connected to taking a new drug.
  • You have nosebleeds and discover strange bruises all over your body.
  • Your doctor should be consulted since this combination might point to a more dangerous issue like leukemia, a nasal tumor, or a blood clotting abnormality (hemophilia or von Willebrand disease).


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Page last reviewed: Mar 20, 2023

Next review due: Mar 20, 2025

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