There are several tiny blood vessels in the lining of the nose. Due to these blood vessels being so close to the surface, they can be easily damaged – either from dry air or too-frequent blowing of the nose – resulting in nosebleeds. If you take medications like antihistamines or decongestant, over time this can also dry out the nasal membranes and cause nosebleeds. Use of Aspirin, blood thinners, trauma to the nose, alcohol consumption, as well as chemical irritants can also cause nosebleeds.
In order to prevent nosebleeds from occurring, it is first important to figure out the cause. If your nosebleeds are a result of the use of nasal decongestants, it is generally fairly easy to stop the nosebleeds by discontinuing the use of the nasal spray. Instead, Dr. Ali Ghahary from Vancouver suggests switching to a saline nasal spray to help keep the nasal membranes lubricated. The more lubricated the nasal membranes are, the less likely you are to develop nosebleeds. Using a humidifier can also be helpful. To stop a nosebleed in its tracks, Dr. Ali Ghahary recommends sitting in an upright position and leaning slightly forward. Sitting in this position reduces the blood pressure in the veins of the nose, which slows down the bleeding. You can also stop bleeding by taking your thumb and index finger, and pinching your nostrils shut. This applies pressure to the septum and can also slow down the bleeding. You may need to repeat these steps for approximately 10 to 15 minutes in order to stop the bleeding completely.
When simple methods such as the ones mentioned above fail, your doctor may choose to pack your nose to stop the bleeding. In cases where nosebleeds are severe and chronic, the blood vessels in the nose may need to be cauterized in order to stop the nosebleeds from occurring. This type of procedure is typically done by an ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) specialist. An ENT specialist will also be able to look at your nose with a special instrument known as an endoscope, which can be helpful in ruling out sinus disease or any other problems that may be causing your nosebleeds.
You may also be predisposed to developing nosebleeds if you happen to be fighting a viral or bacterial infection (such as the common cold), have a history of both allergic and non-allergic rhinitis, have high blood pressure, or are going through hormonal changes as a result of pregnancy.
Most nosebleeds are not considered serious and generally stop on their own – oftentimes without even needing any special care. However, if your nosebleeds are severe and you are losing large amounts of blood, it is important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible.