Nosebleeds in Adults

by Sam Malone


Nosebleeds known in medical terms, as epistaxis are often sudden and frightening. The gush of blood from the nose can be dramatic but is rarely the result of a serious medical condition. While nosebleeds are a common occurrence among children, they are not that much of a problem in adulthood. Nosebleeds become more common among adults aged between 50 to 80 years. Chronic nosebleeds in adults and in the elderly may be a cause for concern and should receive medical attention at the earliest. No matter the age, there are several causes for nosebleeds such as:

  • Injury or Trauma to the Nose: This is one of the most common reasons for nosebleeds. Picking your nose repeatedly or a broken nose caused by an accident can result in nosebleeds. In rare cases an injury to the skull to lead to a nosebleed.  
  • Environmental Factors: Anything that affects the delicate inner lining of the nasal passages can cause a nosebleed. Extra dry weather, low humidity, cold temperatures are all reasons for sudden nosebleeds.
  • Illnesses: Respiratory ailments and disorders can affect the nasal membranes and lead to an inflammation of the nasal lining. Illnesses such as sinusitis, upper respiratory infections and chronic coughs and colds can lead to bleeding. Other medical conditions such as a deviated septum, bleeding disorders, high blood pressure, or a tumor in the nose may cause nosebleeds as well. In the elderly, problems such as arteriosclerosis are responsible for nosebleeds.
  • Certain Medications: Blood thinners, aspirin, decongestant nasal sprays and abuse of drugs such as cocaine can lead to nosebleeds.

Depending on where they originate, nosebleeds can be categorized into two types – anterior (if they originate from the front of the nose) or posterior (from the back of the nose). A large percentage of all nosebleeds are anterior nosebleeds due to the large concentration of blood vessels in the area. Anterior nosebleeds can be treated at home and are usually easy to stop. Posterior nosebleeds originate from an artery in the latter portion of the nose. These types of nosebleeds are more complicated and usually require medical treatment to manage and control the bleeding.

Nosebleeds that are only a trickle or not severe can be treated at home. Some simple ways to stop a nosebleed include:

  • Leaning forward and sitting up or standing up to prevent the blood from flowing backwards into the throat
  • Pinching the nose on either side of the septum to stop the flow of blood. This pressure should be applied for a good ten to fifteen minutes or else the flow will start again once the pressure is released.
  • If the pressure does not work, insert small gauze pads into the nostrils. You can soak these pads in petroleum jelly or decongestant nose drops to arrest the blood flow.
  • Applying an ice pack to the nose can also help stop the bleeding.
You can also prevent recurring nosebleeds by:

  • Not picking your nose or blowing your nose too hard
  • Using a humidifier at home to reduce dry, extra cold or hot air that can aggravate a nosebleed
  • Avoiding medications that may be causing your nosebleed such as blood thinners or aspirin. However before you change any medication you must check with your doctor first.
In case you experience any of the following symptoms along with a nosebleed, contact your doctor immediately:

  • You loose a lot of blood and feel weak or faint
  • You feel nauseas, dizzy or confused
  • If the bleeding does not stop even after applying pressure for twenty minutes
  • If you experience three nosebleeds over an hour
  • You also have bleeding gums or unexplained bruising
  • You suffer from chronic nosebleeds (more than one per week)
Reference:

  1. http://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Patients/Programs-and-Services/Sinus-Center/Conditions/Nosebleeds.aspx

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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