Nosebleeds can be dramatic and frightening. Luckily, most nosebleeds are not serious and can be handled fairly easily. They are divided into two types, depending on whether the bleeding is coming from the anterior (front of the nose) or posterior (back of the nose). Anterior nosebleeds make up more than 90% of all nosebleeds.
The bleeding usually comes from a blood vessel at the very front part of the nose. Anterior nosebleeds are usually easy to control, either by measures that can be performed at home or by a doctor. Posterior nosebleeds are much less common than anterior nosebleeds. They tend to occur more often in elderly people. The bleeding usually comes 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).
Nosebleeds tend to occur during winter months and in dry, cold climates. They can occur at any age but are most common in children aged 2 to 10 years and adults aged 50 to 80 years.
Most commonly, trauma to the nose triggers a nosebleed. Trauma to the outside of the nose, such as a blow to the face, or trauma inside the nose, such as nose picking or repeated irritation from a cold, can cause a nosebleed.
Less commonly, an underlying disease process, such as an inability of the blood to clot, may contribute to the bleeding. Inability of the blood to clot is most often due to blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin(Coumadin) or aspirin. Liver disease can also interfere with blood clotting. Abnormal blood vessels or cancers in the nose are rare causes of nosebleeds. High blood pressure may contribute to bleeding but is almost never the only reason for a nosebleed.
To stop a nosebleed:
Sit up straight.
Lean your head forward. Tilting your head back will only cause you to swallow the blood.
Pinch the nostrils together with your thumb and index finger for 10 minutes. Have someone time you to make sure you do not release the nostrils any earlier.
Tired of pinching? Use a clothespin.
Spit out any blood in your mouth. Swallowing it may make you vomit.
Still dripping? Wad up a small piece of tissue or gauze, then stick it between your gums and upper lip in the area right under your nose. Leave it there for 5 to 10 minutes. The tissue puts pressure on the blood vessels that are sending blood to your nose. There are countless versions of this remedy—pouring vinegar, witch hazel, or lemon juice on the tissue; using a small square of brown paper from a bag sprinkled with salt; even placing a dime or a small, flat button under your upper lip instead of a tissue.
Apply an ice pack alongside the bleeding nostril. The cold narrows the blood vessels in the nose to slow the spurting.
Can you tell me how to stop frequent nosebleeds?
The power of prevention
If you want to avoid nosebleeds, keep your mucous membranes moist by drinking eight 8oz glasses of water a day. You are well hydrated if your urine is pale, not dark.
Don’t overdo the AC. Air-conditioning dries out the air, leaving you more prone to nosebleeds.
In winter, add moisture indoors by running a humidifier.
Spritz your nostrils liberally with a saline nasal spray.
Watch your aspirin intake. Aspirin can interfere with blood clotting, and of course that’s not a good thing if you get frequent nosebleeds.
If you have nasal allergies, treat them promptly. Between the constant irritation caused by allergens and the damage done by blowing your nose, nasal membranes take a real beating when you’re having an allergic reaction.
If you often have trouble with nosebleeds, take 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of vitamin C every day to help prevent them. Vitamin C helps strengthen capillary walls and is also a vital component of collagen, a substance that gives your nostrils a moist, protective lining. Along with vitamin C, take 1000 milligrams daily of a bioflavonoid supplement such as grape-seed extract, pine-bark extract, pycnogenol, or proanthocyanins. Flavonoids are known to heal capillaries.
Cayenne pepper can help to prevent frequent nosebleeds. The suggested dose is 600 mg a day.
Finally, make sure you’re eating enough broccoli and leafy greens, which contain vitamin K, the clotting vitamin. If you continue to have frequent nosebleeds on this regimen, consider adding a vitamin K supplement, 100 mcg per day. (If you are taking Coumadin or another blood thinner, you need to avoid the synthetic form of vitamin K (MK-4). Instead, talk to your doctor about taking a low dose of K2 (MK-7), approximately 45 mcg per day) to stop or prevent frequent nosebleeds.