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When Should You Worry About a Nosebleed?

Learn what causes nosebleeds, how to treat them, and the 4 signs that may mean you need to get your nosebleed checked out.

By
Rob Lamberts, MD
April 26, 2012
Episode #068

Page 2 of 2

Do Clotting Disorders or High Blood Pressure Cause Nosebleeds?

What about clotting disorders or high blood pressure? A person with a clotting disorder may have an increased risk of nosebleeds, but people with nosebleeds don’t have to be evaluated for clotting disorders unless they get them a whole lot. As far as blood pressure, there isn’t much evidence that a high blood pressure makes the nose bleed more than normal, but experts seem to think that it may prolong the bleeding.

5 Tips for Dealing with a Nosebleed

What should you do about nosebleeds?     

Tip# 1: Don’t Panic - despite the horror-movie appearance of the scene, nosebleeds are rarely a dangerous thing.

Tip# 2: Blow your nose - this doesn’t seem to make sense, but often the presence of clots in the nose prolong the bleeding. Blowing out the clots won’t make the nose bleed more, but less. Trust me on this one.

Tip# 3: Use a decongestant nasal spray - if you have neo-synephrine or Afrin nasal spray, a spray of that will cause the blood vessels to shrink and stop bleeding.

Tip# 4: Hold the nose - pinch the nose closed just below the tip for 10 minutes continuously (without peeking).

Tip# 5: Insert cotton and apply ice to the bridge of the nose - if the other measures fail, this can slow things down.

When Should You Worry About a Nosebleed?

You should seek medical attention under the following four circumstances:

  1. If the above measures don’t work.

  2. If the nosebleeds recur.

  3. If you have a blood clotting disorder or are on medications that thin the blood.          

  4. If the nosebleed is caused by trauma and the bleeding doesn’t stop or you suspect the nose is broken.

Some people are prone to anterior nosebleeds, requiring a minor procedure to cauterize Kesselbach’s plexus. Posterior nosebleeds are very serious problems that require hospitalization and surgical intervention, but it’s hard to tell anterior from posterior nosebleeds other than the fact that the above procedures to stop the nose from bleeding don’t work real well on posterior bleeds.

As always: when in doubt, get it checked out by your doctor.

And try to keep your fingers off of Kesselbach’s plexus!

If you have topics that you want me to cover, send them to housecalldoctor@quickanddirtytips.com, or you can submit them to me on twitter (@housecalldoc) or my Facebook page.

Let me once again remind you that this podcast is for informational purposes only. My goal is to add to your medical knowledge and translate some of the weird medical stuff you hear, so when you do go to your doctor, your visits will be more fruitful. I don’t intend to replace your doctor; he or she is the one you should always consult about your own medical condition.

Catch you next time! Stay Healthy!

Nosebleed image from Shutterstock

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