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Frequent Nosebleeds

Bleeding of the nose generally isn't a cause of concern. However, frequent nosebleeds can sometimes indicate serious conditions like bleeding disorders, vitamin K deficiency or leukemia.
Debopriya Bose
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
Children are more prone to nosebleeds than adults. Occasional loss of blood from the tissue lining the inside of the nose is termed as 'epistaxis'. As long as these occurrences are sporadic, it's alright. However, repeated episodes of loss of blood through the nose (more than once a week is referred to as 'frequent') can be scary.
Common Causes
The nose is lined with blood vessels that warm and increase the level of moisture in the air that we breathe in. These blood vessels lie close to the surface which makes them easily susceptible to being injured and broken. Inhalation of dry air in hot indoor / outdoor climate can make the moist lining (mucous membrane) inside your nose dry and thinner. As a result, the blood vessels in the lining become more prone to bleeding. Picking nose, injury or blowing the nose too hard to clear the passages during cold, are common reasons of bleeding nose in kids and adults. All these conditions usually cause sporadic instances of nosebleeds.
Other Causes
Some health conditions can lead to frequent nosebleeds. For example:
  • Bleeding Disorders: Some people suffer from bleeding disorders in which the ability of blood to clot and seal a wound is impaired. By sealing the wound the clot ensures that excess blood is not lost from the body. Such disorders tend to run in the family and hence are not difficult to be identified as a cause of bleeding nose.
  • Vitamin K Deficiency: Vitamin K has an important role to play in blood clotting. Lack of this vitamin makes one prone to such bleeding. The person may suffer from other bleeding problems too.
  • Leukemia: Frequent nosebleeds and bruising is one of the early symptoms of leukemia. Leukemia is a disease in which the number of white blood cells increases. They flood the blood stream but can't perform their usual function. Instead, they affect the amount of other blood cells like red blood cells and platelets adversely, causing anemia.
  • Pollution: Inhaling chemical irritants like ammonia or a foreign body stuck in the nose can lead to bleeding.
  • Injuries: Nasal trauma, from a car accident or from a direct or indirect blow to the nose may result in a serious injury or a broken nose. Bleeding nose after an injury needs prompt medical attention.
  • Side Effects of Drugs and Medicines: Frequent use of nasal sprays, sniffing cocaine (or other drugs that are snorted through the nose), taking aspirin (NSAIDs), etc. can result in bleeding. One who is taking blood thinners (for example, warfarin or heparin) may also suffer from the disorder.
  • Other Causes: People who have nasal tumors, allergies, sinusitis, or deviated septum, may experience bleeding, many times in a month.
It is commonly believed that when the blood pressure of an individual shoots up, the blood vessels in his nose burst causing bleeding. But doctors say that high blood pressure does not always lead to nasal bleeding.
Treatment
Whether frequent or not, it is very important to stop the bleeding from nose.
  • When one experiences a nosebleed, make the person stand or sit erect. This is to ensure that the heart is at a level lower than the head so that there is less amount of blood flowing into the blood vessels of the nose.
  • Wipe the blood with wet cloth or tissues.
  • Do not ask the person to blow his nose.
  • Now, press your fingers half way up the nose where the bone and cartilage meet. Apply light pressure on this spot for 10 minutes.
  • By this time a blood clot must form at the site of bleeding that would stop blood flow.
  • In case blood continues to trickle out, apply pressure for a couple of minutes more.
  • If bleeding continues for more than 20 minutes, or if the person is experiencing breathing difficulty, or if relatively higher amount of blood is released, then it can be due to a serious problem and you should seek medical help.
Those who often suffer from nosebleeds should check and maintain humidity levels at home and office. They should consult a doctor and should use nasal saline spray and / or water soluble jelly, especially in winter. Such preventive measures can help reduce the occurrence of bleeding episodes. It is best to consult one's doctor to ascertain that nasal bleeding is not a sign of some serious health condition.
Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.