One of every seven Americans will experience a nosebleed at some point in their lifetime, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology.
Nosebleeds occur most frequently in young children and adults aged 50-80 years. However, nosebleeds can happen at any age.
The nose contains many small, delicate blood vessels that can easily be broken. Although they can be frightening, most nosebleeds are typically not cause for concern. Generally, minor nosebleeds can be self-treated and in many cases, prevented with simple home remedies.
The most frequent cause of nosebleeds can be attributed to nasal dryness, typically associated with dry, indoor heat during winter.
However, nosebleeds can have a variety of other causes and frequent nosebleeds should be taken seriously as they can indicate a more serious health condition.
For this reason, it can also be important to understand the difference between the two major types of nosebleeds.
Two Types of Nosebleeds
There are considered to be two types of nosebleeds, based on where the bleeding originates in the nose.
Anterior nosebleeds come from the front of the nose and are the most common type of nosebleed. They generally begin in the lower septum, the part of the nose that separates the two nostrils. The bleeding may often start to flow out of one nostril while sitting or standing, and can sometimes produce up to several ounces of blood. While anterior nosebleeds can be frequent and scary, they typically aren’t dangerous.
Posterior nosebleeds are a more rare and severe type of nosebleed. They originate from the back of the nose in the larger blood vessels. The bleeding generally begins high and deep within the nose, flowing down towards the back of the mouth and throat, even while sitting or standing.
Although far less common, posterior nosebleeds are potentially dangerous and require medical attention. These nosebleeds are more likely to occur in older adults, people with high blood pressure, or as a result of an injury.
Other Common Causes of Frequent Nosebleeds
Some medications can potentially cause or be a contributing factor in frequent nosebleeds. Certain drugs like blood thinners and non steroidal anti-inflammatory medications can be to blame. This can even include common over the counter medications, such as aspirin. In some cases, the use of antihistamine and decongestant nasal sprays may also play a role.
Allergies and Infections
Allergies and upper respiratory infections affecting the nose and sinuses are among some of the most typical causes of nosebleeds. Crusting, cracking, and bleeding can occur as a result of dryness. Frequent sneezing and vigorous nose-blowing may also rupture the superficial blood vessels.
High blood pressure and atherosclerosis may be likely contributing factors to frequent nosebleeds among older adults. Although less common, other underlying illnesses such as blood clotting disorders and tumors may potentially be the cause of chronic nosebleeds.
While most nosebleeds are minor and can be treated quickly with simple, at-home measures, some nosebleeds can be difficult to control and require immediate medical attention to stop the bleeding.
If you experience frequent nosebleeds, even if they are easily controlled, it’s a good idea to consult with a physician in order to rule out a more serious health condition.
An ear, nose, and throat specialist can help determine the appropriate treatment option for chronic nosebleeds.
Treatment measures such as cautery and nasal packing may be used to help stop the bleeding. When typical treatment methods fail to relieve chronic nosebleeds, a nasal endoscopy may be performed to identify the root of the problem.
In some cases, anatomical irregularities in the nose, such as a deviated septum, may contribute to frequent nosebleeds. This sort of structural problem can be corrected surgically. Other procedures can also be undertaken to address problematic blood vessels and to help prevent further bleeding.
Bottom line: talk to your doc about frequent nosebleeds.
If you suffer from chronic nosebleeds, call the Ohio Sinus Institute today. Our ear, nose, and throat specialist can help you identify the best treatment steps to help you gain control over frequent nosebleeds.