What Are the Causes of Frequent Bloody Noses?
If you suffer from frequent nosebleeds, it can be distressing and embarrassing. It may seem that it always occurs at the worst time, and your nose may bleed profusely. If this happens to you, there are a few steps you can take to prevent future nosebleeds.
First, Let's Talk About What Noses Do
The function of the nose is to warm and humidify the air you breathe. The inside of the nose is lined with a mucosal membrane that secrets mucous and protects the membranes from drying out. These membranes are very rich in capillaries and are susceptible to bleeding from the slightest injury. When humidity is low in the air, as in dry climates, the mucous membranes become dried out and crack and bleed.
Some People are Prone to Nosebleeds
Some people have thin membranes in their nose and suffer from frequent nosebleeds. Other causes may be from allergies and colds that can irritate the mucosal lining of the nose and cause an opening in the nasal tissue. Sneezing or blowing the nose hard or frequently can initiate a nosebleed. If you have nosebleeds along with your seasonal allergies, consider anti-histamine to lessen your bouts of sneezing and decrease the drainage of your sinuses. Instead of blowing hard to drain your nose, protect your nasal mucosa and gently wipe it with a soft tissue.
Nosebleeds and Your Anatomy
Over 80% of people have abnormalities in the placement of their septum, but only a few require it to be surgically corrected. The septum divides the nasal cavity and separates each nasal passageway into equal halves. A deviated septum may put pressure on the blood vessels and can cause a rupture of the blood vessels. Nosebleeds happen frequently to a small number of people in this way, but if you suspect this may be a reason, have it checked by a physician.
Keep the Nasal Membranes Moist
If you are prone to nosebleeds, use A&D ointment, Neosporin, or Vaseline on a Q-tip and apply a tiny amount to the inside of each nostril daily to keep them moist. If you use heaters in winter, you may want to use a humidifier to keep the air in your home humidified and your nasal mucosa moist.
Don’t Use Certain Medications and Nasal Sprays
The overuse of nasal sprays will dry out your nasal mucosa and can cause nosebleeds. The rebound effect of nasal decongestants can cause swelling and irritation to the nasal mucosa. Refrain from nasal sprays if you have frequent nosebleeds, and try a saline nasal spray to clear the nostrils and moisten the lining of the nose. Also, aspirin and ibuprofen are blood thinners and can cause blood to seep out of the nasal lining. If you take aspirin and are experiencing frequent nosebleeds, ask your physician for alternatives to these medications.
Other Causes of Frequent Nosebleeds
- Picking the nose (digital trauma), especially in children
- Sinus infections
- Upper respiratory infections
- Rare cases of genetic blood disorders
Serious Nosebleeds are Rare but may Signal a Serious Condition
- Hypertension: Nosebleeds may be a sign of uncontrolled blood pressure.
- Leukemia: Especially in children, frequent nosebleeds can be a sign of a blood disorder.
- Nasal tumors: Though rare, there could be a tumor in the nose or the nasal cavity.
- Difficulty breathing and a headache may indicate a head or brain injury.
This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.