Nosebleeds can be caused by a number of things – trauma, dryness of the nasal membranes, fluctuations in temperature and humidity, and even some medications. They typically originate in the lower part of the septum, or the wall that separates one side of the nose from the other. Less common are nosebleeds in the upper septum that start high in the nose and flow back down the throat. There are various factors that may make someone predisposed to nosebleeds, including infection, rhinitis, high blood pressure, hormonal changes (like during pregnancy), alcohol abuse, nasal tumors, or inherited bleeding problems.
How to stop nosebleeds
While most lower septum nosebleeds can be treated at home, treatment for any nose bleed will start with the same steps:
- Pinch all the soft parts of the nose together between the thumb and index finger and press firmly towards the face.
- Lean forward slightly with your head tilted forward. Do not lean back or tilt your head back, allowing the blood to run into the sinuses and throat and potentially cause gagging.
- Hold your nose for at least five minutes. Repeat as necessary until the bleeding stops.
Once the bleeding stops:
- Sit quietly with your head higher than the level of your heart. Do not lay flat or put your head between your legs.
- Apply ice (wrapped in a towel) to the nose and cheeks.
- Do not blow your nose or put anything into it (tissue, cotton balls). Sneeze with your mouth open if necessary.
- Do not strain.
- Do not smoke.
- Avoid hot liquids for 24 hours.
- Do not take any medications that may thin your blood, like aspirin or ibuprofen.
- Try using a lubricant inside your nose, like petroleum jelly.
Seek immediate medial attention if:
- The nosebleed is in the upper part of the nose and is going down your throat
- The blood loss is heavy
- Your nose bleeds often
- The nose bleed is caused by severe injury
- An infant, young child, sick, or elderly person has the nose bleed
Do you or someone you know get nose bleeds often? Tell us about it below.
Sources: medicinenet.com and menshealth.about.com