Nose Bleeding

Nose bleeds are common in childhood and will generally stop of their own accord. If the bleeding is superficial, then pressure on the soft part of the nose between two fingers may be all that is needed. If pressure is kept constant for 4 to 5 minutes most superficial nose bleeds cease.

Ice packs across the bridge of the nose help to close up the blood vessels. Packing of the nose might be necessary.

Nose bleeds in adults are more complicated. A dramatic flow of blood, part of which is being swallowed down the throat, indicates a bleeding blood vessel deep in the posterior part of the nasal passage.

Severe nose bleeds of this nature will possibly need hospitalisation and surgical treatment. You should always call a doctor if the bleeding is severe and the person is swallowing blood. This can, particularly in an older patient, develop rapidly into an emergency.

Recurring nose bleeds should be investigated. In most cases cauterisation of the offending blood vessel will be all that is necessary.

The causes of recurring nose bleeding include:

Allergies associated with itching and picking of the nose.
Vigorous nose blowing which can rupture superficial blood vessels in the elderly and also in the young.
Blood diseases which interfere with clotting e.g. haemophilia can cause chronic nose bleeds.
Fractures of the nose itself or of the base of the skull can cause bleeding and should be regarded seriously of the bleeding follows a head injury.
Rarely, tumours both malignant and non-malignant have to be considered particularly in the older patient.

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