Nosebleed

(Epistaxis; Bloody Nose)

Definition

Nosebleed refers to blood flowing from the nose or nasal passage. There are two types of nosebleeds:
  • Anterior nosebleed—Blood comes from the front of the nose. It usually flows from the semi-rigid walls that separate the two nostrils. This is the most common type of nosebleed.
  • Posterior nosebleed—Bleeding starts deep within the nose. This is often more severe and difficult to treat than an anterior nosebleed.
The Nasal Passage
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Causes

Nosebleeds may be caused by:
  • Irritating or breaking the lining of the nose
  • Injuring the nasal tissue, which occurs more easily when nasal structure is not normal, or when the passages are inflamed due to a cold or allergies
  • Very dry nasal tissue
  • Picking or bumping the nose
  • Forcefully blowing or rubbing the nose
  • Having clot from a previous nosebleed becoming disturbed or dislodged
  • Placing a foreign object in the nose
  • Having a tumor in the nose and/or sinuses

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your risk of nosebleeds include:
  • Irregularity in the structure of the nose
  • Abnormalities of the blood vessels in the nose (angiomas)
  • Dry climate
  • Dry, heated indoor air
  • Allergies
  • Colds
  • Sinusitis
  • Diseases, such as sarcoidosis or systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Cocaine use
  • Bleeding or clotting disorders
  • Anticoagulant (blood-thinning) drugs, including aspirin
  • Very high blood pressure

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