Most of us experience a nosebleed at some point in our lives, maybe from dry weather or taking an accidental elbow to the face during gym class. While any bleeding can be scary, the vast majority of nosebleeds do not require medical attention.
However, research has shown that approximately 10% of all nosebleeds are severe enough to warrant medical attention. Let’s take a closer look at why nosebleeds happen and when it’s time to seek additional treatment.
Common Causes of Nosebleeds
Nosebleeds can be caused by many factors, including, but not limited to:
- Blowing your nose too hard
- Picking your nose
- Swelling or irritation from a cold or allergies
- An object stuck in the nose
- Minor trauma to the nose
These will usually cause minor bleeding and are not a cause for concern. However, if you have more serious reasons as to why your nose is bleeding, you should seek medical attention. These reasons can include:
- Bleeding disorders
- Blood-thinning medication
- A blow to the head
- Genetic conditions
- Extremely high blood pressure (hypertensive crisis)
- Head and neck cancer
What Classifies a Nosebleed as Serious?
Additionally, if you experience certain symptoms during your nosebleed, you should seek immediate medical care, such as:
- Bleeding that is unusually heavy
- Bleeding that lasts longer than 30 minutes
- Any nosebleed that occurs after a serious injury like a fall or accident
- A nosebleed that interferes with your breathing or causes you to choke on blood
- Any dizziness or lightheadedness
If your nosebleeds aren’t heavy or serious but happen more than three times a week, you don’t need to seek urgent care, but you should reach out to your medical provider to determine the cause of your frequent episodes.
Medical Treatments for a Bloody Nose
If you determine that your nosebleeds warrant medical attention, there are several different options for treatment. These may include:
- Nasal packing. Inserting gauze-like material into your nose to help absorb blood, apply pressure and encourage clotting.
- Drops, ointments, sprays or gels. These can work to keep the nasal passages moist and reduce irritation while also constricting the blood vessels to stop bleeding.
- Nasal cautery. This procedure involves using either a chemical swab or an electrical device to seal the area of your nose that is bleeding.
To learn more or to have your nosebleeds evaluated by one of our experts, contact Pinnacle ENT today.