Nosebleeds: Why You Get Them And What To Do About It

Discussion in 'Otolaryngology' started by Ghada Ali youssef, Mar 10, 2017.

  1. Ghada Ali youssef

    Ghada Ali youssef Golden Member

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    Once in a while your nose starts running, but when you reach up to stop it with a tissue, the paper comes away red. Bloody noses are uncomfortable and unexpected, and sometimes they seem impossible to stop.

    Whether it’s a minor nosebleed or a gush of blood, you definitely want your nose to stop bleeding right away.

    For some reason, when it comes to stopping nosebleeds, we often do a lot of things incorrectly: we try to blow the blood out, tilt our heads back, and try to dry out the area.

    Unfortunately, many of the things we think we should do to help stop nosebleeds actually do the exact opposite and make them worse.

    Everybody has had a nosebleed at some point in their life, so we should all know how to deal with it properly.

    Learn more about the causes of nosebleeds and how to treat them below!

    What Is A Nosebleed?
    Medicine Net explains that “a nosebleed is simply bleeding from the blood vessels in the nose. The medical term for nosebleed is epistaxis. Nosebleeds are common due to the location of the nose on the face, and the large amount of blood vessels in the nose.”

    What Causes Nosebleeds?
    “The most common causes of nosebleeds are drying of the nasal membranes and nose picking, which can be prevented with proper lubrication of the nasal passages and not picking the nose,” explains Medicine Net.

    WebMD adds that “most nosebleeds are not serious and can be handled fairly easily. Most often, trauma to the nose can trigger a nosebleed. Less commonly, an underlying health problem, such as an inability of the blood to clot, may contribute to the bleeding.”

    Nosebleed Cause #1: External Trauma
    External trauma is one cause for nosebleeds — this is something that can occur if you’re hit on the nose by some external object, like a ball or a fist.

    Medicine Net explains: “The nose is a part of the body rich in blood vessels (vascular) and is located in a vulnerable position protruding on the face. As a result, trauma to the face can cause nasal injury and bleeding.”

    Nosebleed Cause #2: Internal Trauma
    Internal trauma may also cause a bloody nose.

    “A nosebleed is most commonly caused by dry air or picking your nose,” explains Drugs.com. “Irritation from a cold or allergies, or a foreign object can also cause a nosebleed.”

    Nosebleed Cause #3: Underlying Diseases
    Underlying diseases can also contribute to the frequency and severity of your nosebleeds. Allergies, high blood pressure, alcohol abuse, inherited bleeding problems, tumors, and hormonal changes during pregnancy may all increase the risk of nosebleeds.

    Additionally, blood-thinning medications can make bloody noses much easier to come by.

    What's The Right Way To Stop A Nosebleed?

    DO: Stop The Flow

    In order to stop a nosebleed, there are specific steps you should follow.

    First, grab some tissues or a towel. Nosebleeds can make a big mess.

    DO: Sit Up Straight
    WebMD explains that if you have a nosebleed, you should not lie down or tilt your head backward.

    Instead, sit up perfectly straight. Keep your head directly above your heart.

    DO: Tilt Your Head Forward
    In addition to sitting up straight if you have a nosebleed, you should also tilt your head forward.

    “This keeps the blood from draining down the back of your throat,” explains WebMD.

    Mayo Clinic says, “By remaining upright, you can reduce blood pressure in the veins of your nose. This discourages further bleeding. Sitting forward will help you avoid swallowing blood, which can irritate your stomach.”

    DO: Pinch Your Nostrils Together
    “Pinch your nostrils closed,” says WebMD.

    “Use your thumb and index finger to hold your nostrils closed for five to 10 minutes while you breathe through your mouth. This puts pressure on the part of your nose that’s bleeding and can make the blood stop flowing.”

    DO: Spit Out Any Blood In Your Mouth
    If any blood from your nose gets into your mouth, spit it out into a bowl or sink — don’t swallow the blood, as it can upset your stomach.

    DO: Breathe Through Your Mouth
    This may come as no surprise, but you shouldn’t try to breathe through your nose while it is bleeding.

    Instead, breathe through your mouth — you might feel silly, but you should do it anyway.

    DO: Avoid Irritation
    Once your nose has stopped bleeding, avoid any sort of irritation — you need the blood to clot properly.

    WebMD says, “Once the bleeding has stopped, do not touch or blow your nose. This may start it bleeding again.”

    DO: Keep The Air Moist
    To prevent future nosebleeds, keep the inside of your nose moist. You can keep the air in your house moist by using a humidifier, but you can also put products directly into your nose.

    “Dryness can cause nosebleeds,” explains WebMD. “Use a cotton swab to gently smear a thin layer of petroleum jelly in your nostrils three times a day, including before you go to sleep. You can also use an antibiotic ointment like Bacitracin or Polysporin.”

    What's The Wrong Way To Stop A Nosebleed?

    DON'T: Lie Down Or Lean Back

    In addition to knowing how to stop a nosebleed, you should also know how NOT to stop a nosebleed.

    When you have a nosebleed, you should avoid lying down or leaning backwards at all.

    DON'T: Swallow The Blood In Your Mouth
    Never swallow any blood in your mouth.

    Medicine Net explains that you should “spit out any blood that may collect in your mouth and throat. It may cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea if swallowed.”

    DON'T: Tilt Your Head Back
    “Leaning back or tilting the head back allows the blood to run back into the sinuses or throat, and can cause gagging or inhaling of blood,” explains Medicine Net.

    DON'T: Blow Your Nose
    When you have a nosebleed, you should “gently, blow any blood clots out of your nose. The nosebleed may worsen slightly when you do this, but this is expected.”

    Once the clots are out of your nose, though, “do not blow your nose or put anything into it,” says Medicine Net. “If you have to sneeze, open your mouth so that the air will escape out the mouth and not through the nose.”

    When Should You See A Doctor For Nosebleeds?
    For the most part, nosebleeds can be stopped easily and at home. It’s uncommon for nosebleeds to be so severe that they require a trip to the doctor, but once in a while, that’s necessary.

    “Consult a doctor for a nosebleed if bleeding cannot be stopped, there is a large amount of blood lost, or you feel weak or faint,” explains Medicine Net. “Chronic nosebleeds or persistent nosebleeds may need to be stopped with a heating instrument or chemical swab (cautery of the blood vessel that is causing the trouble), or application of a topical medicine called thrombin that promotes local clotting of blood. A doctor may use nasal packs to stop nosebleeds when conservative measures fail.”

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