A nosebleed (also known as epistaxis) is a common condition (60% of people will have one in their lifetime) that results from a laceration or rupture of tissue in your nose. While a nosebleed can be annoying, it is often harmless. But, what does it mean if you find yourself with nosebleeds happening frequently?
If you live in the Kissimmee or Orlando, Florida area and have frequent nosebleeds, Drs. Wade Han, Elvira Livigni De Armas, and the skilled team at Florida Ear, Nose, Throat, & Facial Plastic Surgery Center can help. Let’s examine some common causes of nosebleeds, why they may become chronic, and what can be done to treat it.
Common causes of nosebleeds
Anyone can get nosebleeds, but they are more common in children ages 2-10, adults between 45-65, pregnant women, people using blood thinning medications, and people with blood clotting disorders. Common reasons for epistaxis includes:
- Dry climate
- Frequent nose blowing
- Sinus and allergy medications (antihistamines and decongestants)
- Foreign objects in your nose
- Environmental irritants
- Allergic reaction
- Persistent sneezing
- Nose picking
- Upper respiratory infections
- Aspirin overuse
While most often nosebleeds don’t require medical help, if you have one lasting longer than 20 minutes, or if it’s injury related, seek medical attention. If you have an injury to the head or an injury that causes your nose to be misshapen, seek immediate medical help.
Why it becomes chronic
A few of the above-mentioned common causes can lead to frequent nosebleeds, such as picking your nose, blowing your nose frequently, and using nasal spray medications. However, several other factors can lead to chronic nosebleeds, such as blood clotting issues, the use of blood thinning medications, and dietary supplements (ginger, garlic, ginkgo biloba, ginseng). Underlying illnesses that can cause nosebleeds include blood pressure problems, nasal deformities, tumors, exposure to chemical irritants (tobacco smoke, ammonia, gasoline, sulfuric acid),, and drug abuse.
Overall treatment options will vary depending on the cause, but basic nosebleeds can be managed with simple steps. First, relax; get into an upright position and lean your head and body slightly forward. While breathing through your mouth, use a tissue or cloth to catch the blood and use your thumb and index finger to pinch together the soft part of your nose. Keep doing this for about five minutes, or longer if your nose is still bleeding. An icepack on the bridge of your nose can help constrict blood vessels to slow bleeding.
If bleeding is severe, rapid, or you’re having difficulty breathing, other treatments, like nasal packing, cauterization, surgical repair, or ligation may be necessary. To prevent nosebleeds, try using a saline solution to keep the nasal passages moist, get a humidifier, use water-soluble nasal gels, avoid forceful blowing, and limit medications that can cause excess bleeding.
Nosebleeds are often harmless, but if there’s more going on, we can help you diagnose and treat the problems and resolve the epistaxis. So, if your nose is bleeding, or you have other nasal concerns, make an appointment with Drs. Han, Livigni De Armas, and Florida Ear, Nose, Throat, & Plastic Surgery Center today.