Nosebleeds are usually caused by a ruptured blood vessel in either the anterior or posterior portion of the nose. The medical term for the condition is epistaxis. Nosebleeds are generally not dangerous but medical attention may be needed if it persists.
If you have a kid, they have probably had a nosebleed at one time or another. The majority of the nosebleeds occur in the front of the nose. They can result from contact injury (like with a fist, a ball during sports or a crash) or from dryness (colds) or even a hard sneeze due to a sinus condition. Most posterior nosebleeds are caused from nasal or sinus surgery. These can be more complicated than anterior nosebleeds and bring about a greater amount of bleeding.
A nosebleed is usually not serious. Once the initial trauma is dealt with, you may be advised to hold you head down between your legs to reduce the pressure. Holding your nose closed with your fingers or a tissue in the nostrils will cause the blood to clot. Once the clot forms, the bleeding will stop.
Some cases where nosebleeds are more serious include blood disorders like hemophilia, the use of blood-thinning medications, high blood pressure, or nasal abnormalities. An examination of your medical history will help doctors with their course of action to prevent future nosebleeds from these causes.
Most nosebleeds produce a trickle or two of blood. Even if it is more than that as in a hit during a sporting match or a crash, there is rarely enough blood to lead to the signs of excess blood loss. One symptom that you can avoid is nausea and vomiting. This occurs when you throw your head backwards to try and stop the bleed. The blood will flow down the back of your oropharynx and down your throat leading to the nausea.
When blood loss is more than normal, you could experience some of the following:
Nosebleeds don’t typically last a long time. If your nose is still bleeding after about ten minutes, see a doctor. Experiencing any of the above symptoms is also a warning sign that the source of the bleeding is too remote for you to stop with just finger pinching.
Tell your doctor about your medical history. They can test your clotting factors to rule out hemophilia or other blood clotting conditions.
Certain drugs and medical treatments may have nosebleeds as a possible side effect. Your doctor may stop the medication or refer you to an ENT doctor for further attention. They may use packing material in the nose to stop the bleed so that they can examine you.