Nose bleeds are very common and are usually not serious. They occur mostly in children younger than 10 and adults older than 50. Also, they are known to be more common in men. Everyone has experienced a nosebleed at least once in their lifetime. Some people are even prone to having constant nose bleeds.
Types of nosebleeds
The medical term for a nosebleed is “epistaxis.” There are 2 main types of epistaxis, and one is more serious than the other. The more common one is an anterior nosebleed. It starts at the front of the nose and separates the two sides of the nose which is called the septum. Since the capillaries and blood vessels are fragile, they can easily break and bleed. This type of nosebleed appears more in children and can usually be treated at home.
The more serious nosebleed is the posterior nosebleed. It occurs deep inside the nose and is more commonly found in adults. This nosebleed is caused by large blood vessels towards the back near the throat. If you experience this type of nosebleed, you need to be careful not to let the blood flow down your throat. If it does, you may need to seek medical attention from an ear, nose, and throat specialist.
I have a nosebleed, now what?
The onset of a nosebleed can happen unexpectedly and is more likely to occur in the morning or later in the evening. They also occur more in the winter when you are more susceptible to colds as well as drier climates or heated indoors. So, when should you be concerned about nosebleeds?
- If the bleeding continues after holding pressure for 20 minutes
- If you have experienced a recent trauma or injury, especially to the head area
- If you are experiencing symptoms such as dizziness, vomiting, fatigue, headache, or have trouble breathing
- If you are losing too much blood or have chronic nosebleeds
As unpleasant as it is to have a nosebleed, and quite often embarrassing, it is important to stay calm so that you can take the proper steps towards getting control of the bleeding.
- You should sit up straight and lean slightly forward.
- DO NOT lay flat on your back or put your head between your legs. Doing this canmake the blood run down your throat causing nausea, vomiting, and possibly diarrhea.
- Always keep your head above your heart to lessen the bleeding.
- Apply pressure to the nose using your thumb and index finger.
- Pinch the soft part of the nose between your nostrils and the hard bone, applying pressure.
- Hold this for 5 minutes, then check to see if the nose is still bleeding.
- Repeat for up to 20 minutes unless the bleeding stops sooner.
- If your nose continues to bleed, you should seek medical attention.
Signs to watch for.
If you are prone to nosebleeds, you should be aware of how often you are getting them. Having nose bleeds too often could lead to anemia, feeling faint or weak, and even shortness of breath. These could all be a sign of something more serious and therefore should not be ignored.
People who are most predisposed to nose bleeds are those who live in dry climates, have allergies or sinusitis, take blood thinning medication, or have high blood pressure. If you fall in either of these categories, having the facts can better help you prepare for a nosebleed. Remember to stay calm and breathe through your mouth. A nose bleed rarely becomes a serious medical problem and can usually be treated at home.
If you have any questions about nosebleeds, contact the specialists at Camellia ENT for additional information and the answers you need.