Health

Causes of frequent nosebleeds

A moist tissue, or mucosa, lines the inside of the nose. This tissue is delicate and has many blood vessels close to the surface. Damage to the lining of the nose, including small scratches, can cause the blood vessels to break and bleed.

Nosebleeds can happen due to dry air or trauma to the nose. Daily or frequent nosebleeds may be due to certain medications or underlying conditions.

Here we look at possible causes, treatment options, and when to see a doctor.

Causes

There are a number of possible causes for daily nosebleeds, including the following:

Picking or blowing the nose

Picking the nose can cause scratches or nicks in the delicate lining of the nose. This can cause blood vessels to break, making the nose bleed.

Blowing the nose too vigorously can also cause a nosebleed. If people have recently had a nosebleed, even gently blowing the nose may cause another one.

Colds and allergies

Allergies, colds, and upper respiratory tract infections can cause frequent nosebleeds. Inflammation and congestion in the nose can increase the risk of nosebleeds.

Congestion causes blood vessels in the nose to expand, making them more at risk of breaking and bleeding.

Hot or dry climates

Very hot or dry air can increase the frequency of nosebleeds. Hot or dry air causes cracks in the lining of the nose, making it bleed.

Seasonal changes can cause frequent nosebleeds, as the nose has not had time to adjust to changes in temperature and humidity.

Clotting disorders

People experiencing frequent nosebleeds may have a clotting disorder. Genetics or hereditary factors can cause these clotting disorders.

Hemophilia is a condition where the blood does not clot correctly. This can cause frequent bleeding inside and outside the body, especially after any injuries or surgery. People with hemophilia may have frequent nosebleeds that are difficult to stop.

Von Willebrand’s disease is another type of bleeding disorder that causes blood to clot slower than usual. People with von Willebrand’s disease may have frequent nosebleeds that are hard to stop.

Medication

Nosebleeds can sometimes be a side effect of medication. Certain medications stop blood clotting, which may cause frequent nosebleeds.

These drugs can include blood thinners, such as coumadin or warfarin, and anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or aspirin.

Dietary supplements

Certain dietary supplements can work similarly to blood-thinning medication. Some supplements contain chemicals that can lengthen bleeding. These supplements include:

• vitamin E

• garlic

• ginger

• feverfew

• ginko biloba

• danshen

• dong quai

• ginseng

Underlying conditions

Certain underlying health conditions can cause frequent or recurring nosebleeds. These can include:

• high blood pressure

• seasonal allergies

• drug abuse

• kidney failure

• leukemia

• thrombocytopenia

Thrombocytopenia is a condition that leads to low levels of platelets in the blood. Platelets are necessary for blood clotting.

Abnormalities

Certain abnormalities in the nose can also cause frequent nosebleeds.

A deviated septum is an abnormality that can occur from birth or through injury to the nose.

The septum is the thin wall of cartilage that separates each nostril. If the septum is not central, it can cause uneven airflow in the nose. This can cause one side of the nose to become very dry, increasing the risk of nosebleeds.

Tumors

Tumors in the nose or sinuses can cause frequent nosebleeds. Tumors may be cancerous or noncancerous. Tumors in the nose or sinuses may be more likely in older adults or smokers.

A persistent stuffy nose or foul smelling discharge from the nose may be additional symptoms of a tumor in the nose or sinuses.

Heavy alcohol consumption

Heavy use of alcohol can affect the platelets in the blood and slow down blood clotting. Alcohol can also enlarge blood vessels that are close to the surface, making it easier for them to break and bleed.

Chemical irritants

Certain chemicals can irritate the lining of the nose. If people are regularly around chemical irritants, these could cause frequent nosebleeds. Chemical irritants may include:

• cigarette smoke, including secondhand smoke

• sulphuric acid

• ammonia

• gasoline

Treatment

The immediate treatment of nosebleeds is to stop blood flow from the nose.

If people have a nosebleed towards the front of the nose, they may be able to stop it with the following steps:

1. Sit up straight and lean forward a little.

2. Breath through the mouth rather than the nose.

3. Using the thumb and index finger, pinch the fleshy tip of the nose, just below the bone.

4. Pinch for 5 minutes to give the blood time to clot.

5. If bleeding continues, pinch in the same place for another 10 minutes.

6. Avoid blowing your nose or snorting up the blood for up to an hour after bleeding stops to avoid dislodging the clot before healed.

7. If the nose is still bleeding, use an over-the-counter decongestant nasal spray, such as Afrin, which constricts the blood vessels.

8. If necessary, insert the nasal spray just inside the bleeding nostril and spray, hopefully when the bleeding is slowing down.

9. Continue to pinch the fleshy part of the nose to allow the medication to be absorbed and repeat up to three times.

10. If the nose is still bleeding, seek medical help.

If people cannot stop a nosebleed themselves, they will need to go to their doctor or emergency room straightaway.

Nosebleeds are a common occurrence and usually harmless, although serious cases can occur. If people are experiencing daily or frequent nosebleeds, it may be a side effect of medication or sign of an underlying condition.

Seeing a doctor can establish the underlying cause of recurring nosebleeds, and treatment may help to prevent future nosebleeds.

If people are unable to stop a nosebleed themselves, they will need to seek medical help straightaway.

References

www.medicalnewstoday.com ( Nosebleeds every day: What to know) Written by Beth Sissons on March 20, 2020

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