The 9 Main Causes of a Bleeding Nose

30 January, 2020
A bleeding nose is only a source of concern when  it's very abundant and happens frequently. In most cases, you can treat it at home.

In the vast majority of cases, a bleeding nose has nothing to do with a serious health condition. However, it’s not a symptom you should take lightly. It may be a problem if it happens often or is too intense.

This is a symptom that most people have experienced at least once throughout our lives. In fact, almost everyone knows some sort of home remedy to deal with it! In any case, it’s always best to know the reasons why your nose may bleed. Most of them are of no concern.

Nosebleeds only require medical consultation when they’re recurrent.

Bleeding nose: A common problem

Estimates indicate that at least 60% of the population has experienced a nosebleed at some point. There are many blood vessels in the nasal cavity and most of them are relatively superficial. About 95% of nosebleeds occur in the area near the nostrils and we refer to it as “anterior epistaxis.”

The kind of bleeding that originates in the deepest part of the nose it’s referred to as “posterior epistaxis.” It’s usual in these cases to lose a greater volume of blood so it’s more difficult to handle. This type of bleeding requires immediate medical attention.

Nosebleeds are more common among children under 10 and adults over 45. However, you can have one at any age. The main reasons why they happen are:

1. Dryness

Many instances of nose bleeding are due to a lack of moisture in the nasal cavity. This is because it leads to dryness and thus bleeding happens as a consequence. The problem originates when a person doesn’t breathe through the nose and doesn’t keep it clean. It may also arise from viruses or allergies. In any case, it isn’t serious.

A person removing a nose plug.
Nasal bleeding may be the product of excessive dryness in the area.

2. Foreign bodies may lead to a bleeding nose

It’s relatively common for children to insert objects into their nose (like fingers!) and for parents or caregivers not to notice. Thus, there may be bleeding. Then, after a few days, it may even come along with pus, a bad smell, and difficulty breathing. These cases should be attended by a trained doctor.

3. Allergic rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis isn’t always accompanied by nasal bleeding, but this symptom is present in many cases. This kind of nosebleed is spontaneous and usually takes place at night. You shouldn’t worry too much about it but should consult a doctor who can advise you on how to control this allergy.

You may be interested: Do You Get Nosebleeds Often? Find Out Why!

4. Injuries can cause a bleeding nose

Injuries are the most frequent reason for nosebleeds. They may occur when you suffer a blow, pick your nose, or blow your nose too vigorously. Homemade measures are usually enough to stop this kind of nosebleed.

However, more serious blows in the nasal cavity, or the skull, may also lead to bleeding and they do require immediate medical attention.

5. A dry environment

There are times when the environment is too dry, mainly due to heating or air conditioning. This dries the nasal mucosa, so any small lesion will lead to bleeding. You can improve this with some home remedies.

A person looking up.
A bleeding nose can be the result of environmental conditions such as exposure to heating or cooling systems.

6. Certain substances

Some substances such as anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents make people more predisposed to nosebleeds. Likewise, the excessive use of decongestants also causes bleeding.

7. Von Willebrand disease

This is a serious condition that’s sort of similar to hemophilia. It’s a genetic problem that causes coagulation difficulties. Thus, frequent and copious nosebleeds may be a symptom of this condition. If this is your case, make sure to see a doctor as soon as possible.

Discover: What to Do When Your Nose Bleeds

8. Other diseases often lead to a bleeding nose

There are other serious diseases for copious and frequent nosebleeds. Among them are leukemia, malignant tumors, and liver disease. You must consult a doctor if your bleeding is frequent and heavy.

9. Other causes

There are times when a benign tumor puts pressure on the blood vessels that supply the nose and causes bleeding. Likewise, changes in atmospheric pressure or altitude can also lead to a nosebleed. This mainly occurs when you travel by plane or go up a very high mountain.

In short, most nosebleeds instances shouldn’t be a source of concern. However, it’s important to discuss them with your doctor, especially if they happen often.

 

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  • Fatakia A, Winters R, Amedee RG. Epistaxis: a common problem. Ochsner J. 2010;10(3):176–178.
  • Tabassom A, Cho JJ. Epistaxis (Nose Bleed) [Updated 2019 Jan 30]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK435997/