Ear Nose | Otorhinolaryngology | Nosebleeds (Disease)


Nosebleeds (epistaxis, nose bleed) can be dramatic and frightening. Fortunately, most nosebleeds are not serious and usually can be managed at home, although sometimes medical intervention may be necessary. Nosebleeds are categorized based on where they originate, and are described as either anterior (originating from the front of the nose) or posterior (originating from the back of the nose).

Anterior nosebleeds make up more than 90% of all nosebleeds. The bleeding usually originates from a blood vessel on the nasal septum, where a network of vessels converge (Kiesselbach plexus). Anterior nosebleeds are usually easy to control, either by measures that can be performed at home or by a health care practitioner. Posterior nosebleeds are much less common than anterior nosebleeds. They tend to occur more often in elderly people. The bleeding usually originates from an artery in the back part of the nose. These nosebleeds are more complicated and usually require admission to the hospital and management by an otolaryngologist (an ear, nose, and throat specialist).

Causes and Risk factors

The lining of the nose contains many tiny blood vessels that lie close to the surface and are easily damaged. The two most common causes of nosebleeds are: dry air — when the nasal membranes dry out, theyre more susceptible to bleeding and infections and nose picking. Nosebleeds arent caused by high blood pressure, which is a common misconception.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Most nosebleeds arent serious and will stop on their own. Its important to talk to a doctor if a person is having frequent nosebleeds, even if he/she can stop them fairly easily. Its important to determine the cause of frequent nosebleeds.


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