What is a Nosebleed?
A Nosebleed is the loss of blood from the tissue that lines the inside of the nasal passageways, they can be anterior or posterior in location. They can be impressive and worrisome as the volume of blood loss can be significant, however most can be controlled by applying local pressure to the nose, tilting the head back and applying ice to the bridge of the nose. 60% of people will have one at some point in their life and the number and close proximity of the blood vessels to the skin’s surface make this area highly susceptible to bleeding. Nosebleeds can occur from trauma, infection, dry air, and spontaneously.
How are nosebleeds Diagnosed?
The medical provider will use a nasal speculum and light to examine the nasal cavity in order to determine the bleeding tissue’s location and severity. Anterior nosebleeds are most common and easier to control, while posterior nosebleeds are less common and harder to control due to the larger size of vessels located in this region.
How are nosebleeds Treated?
Often tilting the head back, pinching the nose while placing ice on the nasal bridge will stop the bleeding. However, if the bleeding is from a posterior location or more severe, other methods may be employed like electric or chemical cautery and the placement of nasal pledgets.
Nasal decongestants can be sprayed into the nostrils and can help stop the bleeding by causing vasoconstriction. Cautery causes the bleeding vessels to coagulate from either chemical or electrical energy, and the pledgets expand to tamponade the bleeding vessels. Sometimes when these measures don’t work, surgery is required to stop the bleeding.
How to prevent nosebleeds?
Nosebleeds can be prevented by the following measures:
- Keep the nasal tissue moist with nasal saline spray
- Don’t pick the nose or put anything in the nasal cavity
- Avoid intra-nasal drugs
- Use a humidifier