Posterior Nosebleeds

by Garreth Myers


Nosebleeds can be of two types, anterior and posterior. Nosebleeds which occur in the front part of the nose are referred to as anterior nosebleeds while those which occur at the back of the nose closer to the throat are known as posterior nosebleeds. Since posterior nosebleeds occur closer to the throat, it is often difficult to determine how much blood loss has occurred. Recognizing some of the common posterior nosebleed symptoms is therefore crucial so that proper treatment can be started and complications like choking can be prevented. Posterior nosebleeds are more common in elderly people as compared to children and young adults. They are also more common in the case of people suffering from high blood pressure and diabetes. In this kind of a nosebleed, the bleeding usually happens from an artery at the back of the nose and this is treated as an emergency which requires specialized care from a qualified ENT specialist or an otolaryngologist. Some of the main posterior nosebleed symptoms include weakness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, choking, confusion and even fainting. If the blood loss is severe in a posterior nosebleed symptoms like sweating, heavy breathing and pale skin may also be observed. Since posterior nosebleeds occur at the back of the nose, simple first aid measures like pinching and closing the nose will not help in stopping the bleeding. Emergency medical care is required in such cases to prevent a life threatening situation.

Other than knowing just about the symptoms of a posterior nosebleed it is also important to be aware of the some of the main posterior nosebleed causes. One of the major causes for these nosebleeds is high blood pressure especially in the case of elder people. With progressing age the blood vessels and arteries lose their flexibility and elasticity and are therefore more prone to scarring. It is easier for these arteries to rupture at the back of the nose and cause posterior nosebleeds. One of the other major nasal bleeding causes is a severe physical blow or injury to the face, nose or head. This kind of an injury can definitely rupture an artery causing a posterior nosebleed and needs to be treated as a medical emergency. In many cases a cocaine addiction could also be one of the posterior nosebleed causes as regular snorting of cocaine can result in the formation of holes in the nasal lining. Posterior nosebleeds can even be the result of a recent nasal surgery in which case it is important to contact the doctor immediately and seek proper treatment. Tumors in the nasal cavity can be another cause of posterior nosebleeds which need to be diagnosed at the earliest to avoid further complications. In many cases certain medications can also cause such nosebleeds as they thin the blood and make clotting difficult.

Treatment

In the case of a posterior nosebleed treatment cannot be done at home and usually requires hospitalization. Doctors usually insert nasal packaging to control the bleeding and most of the times a balloon nasal pack is used as compared to other packaging options. Since these packaging's are quite uncomfortable and painful, pain medications and sedatives are also required for the treatment of nose bleeds which occur at the back of the nose. The nasal packaging is kept in place for at least 48-72 hours and if the bleeding still cannot be controlled further surgery may be required to treat the patient. Under no circumstances should the patient try to remove the nasal packaging himself as this may worsen the problem further. During this time nasal irritation in any form should be avoided. Coughing, sneezing, heavy lifting and any other strenuous activities should be avoided as far as possible during the course of a posterior nosebleed treatment.

Posterior nosebleeds are more serious as compared to anterior nosebleeds and therefore require immediately medical attention and even hospitalization. Home remedies are rarely recommended for posterior nosebleeds. However in the case of anterior bleeding, the best nose bleed remedy would be to apply an ice pack on the bridge of the nose and the cheeks to control the bleeding. The cold from the ice pack reduces the blood flow to the area and can therefore help in controlling the bleeding. Placing cotton on the inside of the upper lip is also one of the simplest nose bleed cures in the case of anterior bleeding. While suffering from a nose bleed it is important to sit upright and avoid tilting your head backwards to stop the bleeding. In case of an anterior nosebleed you can sit up and pinch your nose while breathing through the mouth to stop the bleeding. Once the bleeding reduces, the patient can lie down slowly. If the bleeding does not reduce, it is best to contact a doctor at the earliest and seek the right treatment.


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