How to Stop a Nosebleed

April 28, 2017

Have you ever experienced epistaxes? If you have, then you’ll be happy to learn about how to stop a nosebleed. Pronounced ep-ih-STAK-seez, epistaxes is another name for the common health problem of nosebleeds. What is a nosebleed? It’s when you have bleeding coming from the inside of your nose. Most of the time, blood only comes out of one nostril, but sometimes it will come out of both. If you live in the in the northeastern United States, nosebleeds are especially common due to the dry climate.

The nose’s job is to warm and humidify the air that we breathe in. Most of the time we don’t even think about the function of our nose unless we’re really stuffed up from a cold, sneezing from allergies or suddenly have blood dripping out of our nostrils. A nosebleed can definitely be disturbing, especially when you haven’t had one before. A nosebleed can definitely come out of nowhere and leave us wondering what on earth brought that on?

Thankfully, nosebleeds  are usually not serious. But they are not pleasant and can be quite messy. So, knowing how to get them under control can be very helpful. It’s also important to consider the possible causes of a nosebleed and make sure there isn’t a more serious underlying concern, especially if you’re having nosebleeds on a regular basis. Are you ready to find out how to stop a nosebleed at home and how to stop a nosebleed fast?

What is a Nosebleed?

In general, a nosebleed is defined as an attack of bleeding from the nose.  Our noses have a lining inside that houses a lot of tiny blood vessels. These blood vessels are close to the surface of the lining, which makes it easy for damage to occur. When damage occurs to this lining for some reason, you can experience bleeding from your nostrils, otherwise known as a nosebleed.

Nosebleeds can actually be divided into two types: anterior nosebleeds and posterior nosebleeds. When the blood vessels in the front of the nose rupture and blood comes out, this is called an anterior nosebleed. Anterior nosebleeds are the most common type of nosebleed and typically start off with blood suddenly coming out of just one nostril when someone is standing or sitting down.

In contrast, you can also have bleeding in the far back region of your nose, which is known as a posterior nosebleed. This kind of nosebleed has its roots high up and deep within the nose, which is why the blood from a posterior nosebleed will flow down the back of the mouth and throat, even if you’re sitting or standing. The blood from an anterior nosebleed can also trickle down the back of the throat when you are lying down. The way you can tell the difference between an anterior and posterior nosebleed is by how the blood flows when you are upright.

Nosebleed Causes & Risk Factors

The two most common causes of nosebleeds are said to be dry air and nose picking.

Some of the most common causes of nosebleeds:

Dry, heated, indoor air can dry out the nasal membranes, causing them to become cracked and prone to bleeding when rubbed or picked or when blowing the nose (especially during winter months)

Living in a dry, hot, low-humidity climate, which can dry out the mucous membranes.

Harsh nose picking or nose blowing

Upper respiratory infections (like a cold) and sinusitis, especially infections that include repeated sneezing, coughing and nose blowing.

Inserting foreign object into the nose (think children)

Injury to the nose and/or face

Allergic and non-allergic rhinitis (inflammation of the nasal lining)

Nasal sprays, such as those used to treat allergies, if used frequently

Use of drugs that thin the blood (like aspirin and NSAIDs)

Chemical irritants (such as ammonia or industrial chemicals)

Cocaine use

Deviated septum (an abnormal shape of the structure that separates the two sides of the nose)

Less common causes of nosebleeds, which are also nosebleed risk factors, include: (6)

Alcohol use

Nasal tumor

Nasal polyps

Inherited bleeding disorders like hemorrhagic telangiectasia

Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP)

Face or nasal surgery


Second trimester pregnancy

When it comes to general nosebleed risk factors, nosebleeds are most prevalent in children between the ages of two and  10 years old and adults between the ages of 50 to 80 years old. However, nosebleeds are possible at any age. The main risk factors for posterior nosebleeds include being older, having high blood pressure or experiencing an injury to the nose or face.

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