Alcohol and Nosebleed

by Garreth Myers


Case studies suggest that there is a significant association between nosebleeds and alcohol because of growing evidence of alcohol nose bleeds.

High alcohol consumption can be a triggering factor of nose bleeding as alcohol influences the metabolic process of the body, resulting in abnormal regulation of the blood vessels. Consequently, alcohol nose bleeds occur frequently to people who drink excess alcohol. Even though nosebleeds can be frightening, most nosebleeds are not dangerous. There are two types of nosebleeds, depending on the location. Anterior nosebleed comes from the front of the nose and is the most common kind of nosebleed.  It occurs due to the breaking of capillaries inside the nose. Nose bleeding that occurs from the deepest part of the nose is known as posterior nosebleed. It occurs in people who have high blood pressure and who have sustained nose injuries.

Causes

Common causes of nosebleed include dry environmental conditions and nose injury. Additionally, dry nose, nose picking, excessive nose blowing, side effects of certain medications like aspirin, hypertension, inhalation of chemical irritants, and prolonged use of nasal spray are some of the risk factors that cause nose bleeds.

Alcohol and drug use are the most important causes of nosebleed as alcohol is known to affect the platelet function. In addition, consumption of alcohol is also associated with hypertension and dehydration. Drinking excessive alcohol can cause nosebleeds as alcohol has the tendency to prohibit blood clotting and dilates blood vessels. Dilation of blood vessels reduces the blood’s ability to clot. Excessive consumption of alcohol reduces activity of platelets, the blood cells that are responsible for forming blood clots. This results in thinning the blood and thereby increases the chance for a nosebleed and prolongs bleeding time. High consumption of alcohol also leads to changes in blood pressure, which may be an important cause for alcohol nose bleeds. Alcohol has a number of effects that interfere with hemostasis that will increase bleeding problems. Regular use of three or more drinks of alcohol per day is a risk factor of hypertension. Dehydration is another important cause of nose bleeding as dry nose is one of the main problems that leads to nosebleeds. Regular alcohol consumption causes dehydration that can cause nosebleeds.

Treatment

Quick blood clotting is the first step to stop nosebleed as profuse nose bleeding is a scary situation. Ensure to keep calm and relaxed. Sit comfortably and pinch the soft parts of the nose firmly for 10 minutes so as to stop nose bleeding. You can breathe through your mouth during this time. In order to prevent draining of blood into throat, lean forward. You can also apply ice packs to arrest bleeding. If bleeding continues, medical attention is required.

It is important to prevent re-bleeding. For this, it is essential not to pick or blow your nose. You should also keep your head higher than the level of your heart and you should avoid bending down for several hours. Also, avoid sneezing or coughing, if possible. Strenuous activities such as exercise and weight lifting should also be avoided.

Prevention

Mostly, nosebleeds occur during dry climates. Using a humidifier can help to prevent nosebleeds. Petroleum jelly and saline nasal sprays can help keep the nasal passages moist as a dry nose cause nose bleeding. Picking your nose and blowing vigorously should be avoided. Stop smoking as smoking may lead to a dry nose. Limit alcohol intake to prevent alcohol nose bleeds.

Nosebleeds are not a serious health condition and people can recover without any long term effects. However, if nosebleeds occur frequently, it may be a symptom of underlying health condition and should be addressed immediately.

References:

  1. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/thcp/causes.html
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/854058?dopt=Abstract&access_num=854058&link_type=MED
  3. http://general-medicine.jwatch.org/cgi/content/full/1994/1007/7


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