Most Americans will have at least one nosebleed during their lives, and in nearly all cases, the cause isn’t serious. These more common nosebleeds are called “anterior nosebleeds.” But even if they aren’t particularly dangerous, they’re inconvenient at best, and understanding why your nose is bleeding — and what type of treatment can help — is important.
With locations in Salt Lake City, Murray, Draper, Tooele, and West Jordan, Utah, ENT Specialists helps patients with frequent nosebleeds understand the underlying cause and learn how to prevent them. Here are five common reasons why frequent nosebleeds happen.
Falls, car accidents, and being hit in the nose (by a ball, fist, or other object) can all cause nosebleeds, but typically, not frequent nosebleeds. The type of trauma that’s commonly associated with frequent nosebleeds is good, old-fashioned nose-picking (or, in medical terms, digital trauma).
Even if you keep your nails trimmed, picking your nose can damage the thin skin that lines your nose, resulting in frequent bleeding. Nose-picking is also a good way to spread germs — to others and even to yourself.
The membranes lining your nostrils are very thin, and the blood vessels are located near the surface of those membranes. When air is dry, the membranes can quickly dry out, making nosebleeds more common, especially when you blow your nose.
Dry air-related nosebleeds are more common during winter when air is naturally drier. They’re also more common when you’re exposed to dry, heated air or cold, dry air from heating or air conditioning systems.
Some medications make bleeding more likely, including blood thinners like heparin or warfarin. Even common, over-the-counter medications like aspirin can increase the risk of nosebleeds.
Sometimes, it’s a combination of medicines that’s involved. Always discuss all your medications — including vitamins and supplements — with your doctor when visiting for chronic nosebleeds.
Nasal sprays are commonly used to treat cold and allergy symptoms. Ironically, these medicines may increase your risk of nosebleeds by drying out the nasal membranes. If you do use these medicines, follow dosing directions, and don’t overuse them.
Many allergies are caused by tiny, airborne particles, like dust, pollen, or smoke. When you inhale, those allergens enter your nose, irritating the nasal membranes. Once irritated, the tiny vessels under the surface of the membranes are more likely to rupture, resulting in nosebleeds. These nosebleeds can be worse if your allergy symptoms cause you to blow your nose more frequently.
Most causes of frequent nosebleeds can be treated with lifestyle changes or “home remedies,” like limiting the use of allergy medicines, using a humidifier, or changing medications that are drying out your nasal membranes. In most cases, a few, simple changes — sometimes combined with prescription medications to “shrink” blood vessels — are all that’s needed to find relief.
There is a second type of nosebleed, called a posterior nosebleed, that’s more serious. These nosebleeds involve larger vessels located farther back, toward your throat. With a posterior nosebleed, you can lose a significant amount of blood, and medical treatment is necessary to prevent serious complications.
Although most nosebleeds aren’t serious, if you have them on a regular basis, they need to be evaluated. To learn what’s causing your nosebleeds and how we can help, book an appointment online or over the phone with the team at ENT Specialists today.