The nose is an area of the body that contains many tiny blood vessels that can break easily. In the United States, one of every seven people will develop a nosebleed some time in their lifetime.
Most nosebleeds (epistaxis) begin in the lower part of the septum, thE central cartilage that separates the nostrils. Nose bleeds (nosebleeds), known as epistaxis, are typically caused by irritation or damage to the septum. More often than not, they are simply a nuissance and require no intervention. Some may be very severe and need immediate medical attention. The two types are anterior and posterior. The anterior type are the most common and can be stopped quickly. The posterior type are more serious and will need medical help to stop.
Anterior nosebleeds come from dryness, local trauma (picking your nose), medication (such as blood thinners and aspirin) or medical conditions ( uncontrolled high blood pressure). Posterior ones come mainly from combinations of the above. Posterior nose bleed will cause bleeding to go down the throat and out the mouth whereas anterior nosebleeds are mainly seen as blood dripping out of the front of the nose. More common than dryness, New York and New Jersey ENT doctors see allergies, infection, tumors (although rare), soot, car exhaust as other causes of nose bleeds.
At home measure to stop a nosebleed include pinching the soft parts of the nose or placin an cotton ball soaked in Afrin or Neo-Synephrine in to the nostril and apply pressure. Applying pressure to the bones of the nose (upper portion) is not advisable but applying it to the soft nostrils will help. Keeping your head down will prevent blood from flowing back into your throat. Ice is also helpful.
To prevent re-bleeding, the nose must not be picked or blown. Counteract drying of the nose by applying humidity in the air. The patient should also avoid strenuous lifting objects.
Lubricating creams or ointments can also be helpful in preventing rebleeding. A saline nasal spray with or without aloe vera, Bacitracin, A and D Ointment, Eucerin, and Polysporin all have been used to aid in moisturizing the nose and can be purchased over the counter. Due to the common nature of this in New Jersey, doctors at our ENT practice suggest three applications a day.
If frequent nosebleeds are a problem, it is important to consult an otolaryngologist. An ear, nose, and throat specialist will carefully examine the nose using an endoscope, a tube with a light for seeing inside the nose, prior to making a treatment recommendation. Two of the most common treatments are cautery and packing the nose. Cautery is a technique in which the blood vessel is burned with an electric current, silver nitrate, or a laser. Sometimes, a doctor may just pack the nose with a special gauze or an inflatable latex balloon to put pressure on the blood vessel.