One minute you’re fine and the next a steady stream of blood is gushing from your nose. A nosebleed occurs when one of the many fragile surface blood vessels in the nose break. Even if the particular cause of a nosebleed is unknown, most cases are minor and treatable from home.
Patients experience two kinds of nosebleeds. An anterior nosebleed occurs when the blood vessels in the front of the nose break and bleed. A posterior nosebleed occurs in the back or the deepest part of the nose. In this case, blood flows down the back of the throat. Posterior nosebleeds can be dangerous.
A nosebleed that comes out of nowhere for no apparent reason, however, is rarely dangerous. To ease your mind, we’ve compiled a list reasons your nose might be bleeding “for no reason.”
During the winter months, dry air from indoor heating or outdoor cold can dry the lining of the nose, causing it to crack and bleed. A humidifier used while sleeping may relieve dryness and saline nasal sprays can moisten the nostrils.
Nose Picking or Scratching
Accidental injury to the blood vessels in the nostril from nose picking can also cause a nosebleed. This is common in children, but also in adults who are prone to itching or scratching inside their noses.
Compulsive and habitual nose picking in adults is often classified as a Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs). BFRB is a general term for a group of related disorders that includes hair pulling, skin picking, nail biting, and nose picking. These behaviors are not habits or tics; rather, they are complex disorders that cause people to repeatedly touch their hair and body in ways that result in physical damage. Unfortunately, many people are unfamiliar with BFRBs. If you think you may have a BFRB, the first things you can do is research and talk to your medical care provider.
Blood thinners prevent blood clots from forming and they also keep existing blood clots from getting larger. Clots in your arteries, veins, and heart can cause heart attacks, strokes, and blockages. You may take a blood thinner if you have:
- Certain heart or blood vessel diseases
- An abnormal heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation
- A heart valve replacement
- A risk of blood clots after surgery
- Congenital heart defects
Because blood thinners change the blood’s ability to clot, they can cause the nose to bleed or make one harder to stop.
Underlying Health Conditions
Liver disease, kidney disease, chronic alcohol consumption, or another underlying health condition can lower the blood’s ability to clot and cause the nose to bleed.
Heart conditions like hypertension (high blood pressure) and congestive heart failure can also cause nosebleeds. Hypertensive crisis which is a sudden, rapid increase in blood pressure accompanied a severe headache, shortness of breath, and anxiety can also cause the nose to bleed.
If you have or suspect you have an underlying health condition, you need to speak with a medical professional right away.
How to Prevent Nosebleeds
While you can’t always prevent nosebleeds, you can reduce your chances of getting them:
- Dryness can cause nosebleeds. To combat dryness, use a cotton swab to apply petroleum jelly to the inside of your nose at least three times a day. You can also use an antibiotic ointment like Bacitracin or Polysporin.
- Spraying a saline nasal product in your nostrils helps keep the inside of your nose moist. There are plenty of saline mists on the market. If you constantly suffer from sinus problems you might consider a nasal saline irrigation. Nasal saline irrigation uses a salt and water solution to flush out the nasal passages. One of the most popular is the Neti pot.
- Use a humidifier. Your nostrils might be dry because the air in your house is dry.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking can irritate the inside of your nose and dry it out.
- Don’t pick your nose. Also, don’t blow or rub it too hard. If your child is getting nosebleeds, keep his fingernails short and discourage him from picking his nose.
- Don’t use cold and allergy medications too often. These can dry out your nose. In some cases, certain medications can cause nosebleeds or make them worse. You may need to discuss your medications with your doctor. But keep taking them unless your doctor tells you to stop.
If you have a nosebleed that will not go away or you have questions about nosebleeds, give us a call at (662) 348-3342 . We will be happy to schedule an appointment for you.