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Nosebleeds: What To Do About It

The nose is a part of the body that is very well supplied with blood. This also means a great susceptibility to wounds: nosebleeds develop. But how can you stop nosebleeds? And what are the causes? Is there something to be said about the popular belief that nosebleeds occur particularly frequently when they are stressed or have a cold? And when should you see a doctor? We clarify the most important questions about nosebleeds.

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Stopping nosebleeds: what to do if you have a nosebleed?

When blood drips from the nose, the first thought for many is: “What is the best way to stop a nosebleed?” After all, nosebleeds are usually painless and for many simply annoying. At the same time, the amount of blood is an alarm signal for quite a few people.

The good news is, in most cases, nosebleeds are harmless and will stop on their own. Contrary to popular myth, however, you shouldn't put your head back. Because then the blood runs into the trachea or esophagus. There it can cause shortness of breath or gagging stimuli. In addition, it cannot be used to assess how high the blood loss is.

Instead, the following procedure is recommended:

  1. Sit up straight
  2. Bend your head forward
  3. Cool the neck
  4. Squeeze your nostrils together for a few minutes

Most of the time, the nosebleed should subside or even stop completely after a short time. In this case, however, you shouldn't blow your nose afterwards. Neither should you put anything up your nose to stop the bleeding. In both cases, the small wound can subsequently tear open and the nosebleed can recur.

Sudden nosebleed from one nostril

The fact that nosebleeds only occur in one nostril and not in both is the rule rather than the exception. In this case, a blood vessel - usually in the front part of the nose - has simply burst.

So if you are bleeding from one nostril unsigned and it doesn't happen regularly, the first step is to keep calm and don't panic. Usually, the above steps are enough to get your nosebleed under control.

Epistaxis: Reasons and Risk Factors

The causes of nosebleeds are many. Most of them are local and harmless. In this case, a small vein in the front part of the nose simply bursts. The reasons for this can be either violent sneezing or blowing your nose (for example with a cold) or an external force such as a blow or a fall.

But there are other reasons for a nosebleed:

  • Tissue changes
    Malformations or an incipient tumor can lead to frequent nosebleeds. In this case, you should have your nose examined by an ear, nose and throat specialist.
  • Diseases
    Certain medical conditions increase the risk of developing nosebleeds. For example: Infectious diseases such as flu, high blood pressure, kidney diseases, leukemia or an allergy.
  • Medication
    Taking certain medications can also cause nosebleeds. Above all, aspirin or other pain relievers as well as antibiotics, psychotropic drugs or drugs for cardiovascular diseases cause such side effects.

However, it is a myth that stress causes nosebleeds. As does the claim that nosebleeds are healthy and cleansing. Usually it is harmless, but again it is not beneficial to health.

What can sudden nosebleed mean?

Since the causes of nosebleeds are so diverse, the meaning and the level of danger can vary accordingly. As mentioned earlier, in most cases, nosebleeds are not dangerous.

However, if it has its origin in the back of the nose, larger blood vessels are usually affected there. The bleeding is not so easy to stop here.

If this is the case and the above tips are unsuccessful or if the nosebleeds occur more frequently, you should seek medical treatment.

Frequent nosebleeds in children

Nosebleeds are more common in children than in adults. The reason for this is that the small blood vessels are even more vulnerable than in old age. In addition, children play and pierce their noses more often, which can trigger nosebleeds.

As a result, they often panic when they see their own blood. It is therefore important to calm down the children. Follow the above mentioned first aid measures for nosebleeds and talk to the child (for example your grandson) calmly, slowly, quietly and gently.

Nosebleeds at night

Nocturnal nosebleeds are mostly associated with a cold or other infectious disease. This can happen through the drying out and swelling of the nasal mucous membranes when lying down, frequent blowing of the nose and the use of decongestant nasal sprays.

However, elevated blood pressure or medication can also trigger nosebleeds at night.

So if this takes you by surprise at night, don't lie down. Follow the four steps mentioned above to stop the nosebleed before going back to sleep.

Epistaxis with blood clots

In connection with a cold, it often happens that the leaked blood clumps together.

This is not a cause for concern - on the contrary. If blood clots form during a nosebleed, this is usually a sign that the blood vessels are closing and healing quickly. Rather, it only becomes questionable if there is no blood clotting.

However, in order to remove the annoying blood clots or clots from the nose, you should be very careful not to tear the newly healed wound open again. It is best to leave them in your nose until they resolve by themselves - even if it may be difficult.

Epistaxis: when to see a doctor?

As mentioned, nosebleeds can in individual cases indicate a serious cause - although this is rarely the case. You should therefore definitely consult an ear, nose and throat doctor if the nosebleeds occur several times a week.

The doctor will then thoroughly examine your nose and risk factors using the following diagnostic methods:

  • Nasoscopy
  • Imaging procedures such as CT, MRI, and ultrasound
  • Blood pressure measurement
  • Blood analysis

Depending on the result, he will either cauterize the area locally, treat it with medication or treat the corresponding cause for which the nosebleed is only a symptom.

When does nosebleed become dangerous?

In some cases, nosebleeds can even be an emergency:

  • When, after a blow or fall, the nasal bone could be broken.
  • If the nosebleed lasts more than 20 minutes and you cannot stop it.
  • When the nosebleed causes extreme blood loss and shock.

In this case, you should call an emergency doctor and get a hospital check-up immediately.

This is how you can prevent nosebleeds

Anyone who frequently suffers from nosebleeds should try to prevent this. Here are a few tips that have proven helpful:

  • Keep the humidity in the house at at least 40 percent (60 percent is better). You should use humidifiers, especially if you heat properly in winter. This prevents the mucous membranes from drying out.
  • Use nasal sprays and nasal douche to keep your nose moist. Decongestant nasal sprays should only be used for a very short time - if at all. They dry out the nose and encourage nosebleeds.
  • Get out in the fresh air as often as possible - even in winter. Nothing can replace daily walking in terms of your health.
  • Follow the recommendations for a balanced diet. This prevents high blood pressure and thus vascular blockages. You should also avoid alcohol and smoking if possible.
  • Stay away from certain unnecessary drugs. Aspirin in particular has a blood-thinning effect long after ingestion.

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Important NOTE

This article does not claim to be complete and only provides general information. It cannot and should not replace medical advice. Before taking any medication, please read the package insert carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist.

[Photo credit: Herbstlust.de]