Bleeding From the Nose – Why Does It Happen?

Bleeding From the Nose – Why Does It Happen?

The seasonal changes can be irritating to most people because of their effect on the hair, nails, and general body health especially in countries with a harsh climate.

Flu, hay fever, pollen allergy are common allergies that can be seen in a majority of the regions of the world.

In addition to these bodily reactions to weather changes, nosebleeds are prevalent in dry climates.

For example, northeastern areas of the United States have fairly dry weather most of the year long. All months, with the exception of August, September and October can be termed as dry.
Nosebleeds, also known as epistaxes are not due to any serious reason mostly.

Environmental factors such as climate, pollution along with a few daily habits can lead to sudden nosebleeds. The blood usually comes out of one nostril at a time but in other conditions can come out of both nostrils.

There are no major differences between the reasons for these conditions and both of them do not indicate anything too serious.

Generally, nosebleeds can be treated easily but if you are having to bleed from your nose on a daily basis it is good to see a doctor. In such circumstances, it is important to make sure whether the nosebleed is an indicator of some underlying serious problem.

Bleeding From the Nose - Why Does It Happen?

How Does a Nosebleed Begin?

Nosebleed usually happens when the internal lining of the nose is damaged. The lining of the nose has multiple capillaries located on the surface. This makes the layer very sensitive to seasonal changes, force or anything other things.

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Nosebleeds can be divided into two types. Anterior nosebleeds can be defined as an injury in the front capillaries of the nose which are located near the opening.

This is the common type that happens whenever the weather is too dry. Blood starts flowing from either one of the nostrils when the specific person is in any position except lying down.

The second type is known as posterior nosebleeds. This particular type is related to bleeding from the back areas from the nose, closer to the forehead.

Since the damage occurs far back inside the nose, blood from this kind of nosebleed also flows into the mouth and throat even if the person is standing or sitting.

Having a posterior nosebleed when lying down attack does not stop the blood from entering the throat. This is one of the ways difference between a posterior and anterior nosebleed can be told and diagnosed.

What causes a nosebleed?

As mentioned earlier, nosebleeds are usually linked to environmental factors or habits that harm the capillaries located inside the nose. Ruptured capillaries in the nose can be due to the following prevalent factors:

  • Nose blowing or nose picking (commonly in children)
  • Dryness due to excessive heat exposure (indoor heating systems in winters) that increases the sensitivity of capillaries and likelihood of nosebleeds
  • Inflammation of the inner lining of the nose
  • Rhinitis (both allergic and non-allergic)
  • Respiratory infections such as sinus (even the ones related to lungs)
  • Chemical exposure (usually from using different products on the face or perfume and body sprays)
  • Injury or accident on the face or nose
  • Drying of mucous membranes (happens in hot, low humidity climates)
  • Deviated Septum
  • Use of drugs such as cocaine
  • Nasal sprays (only if used too much)

Since nosebleeds are common and can happen at any age, the reasons such as the listed above are minor and can easily be treated.

However, caution should be taken if nosebleeds occur on a regular basis. In addition, if the person having a nosebleed is a child under the age of 5 or is a patient of high blood pressure, immediately consult the doctor.

Nosebleeds due to injury should also be taken seriously as in many cases a surgery can be required because of possible dislocation and breakage of the nasal bone. Some other reasons that are not prevalent but can cause nosebleeds are:

  • Trimester pregnancies (usually for the second time)
  • Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura or ITP
  • Alcohol use (only if alcohol consumption is on a daily basis)
  • Surgeries related to nose, throat, and ears
  • Polyps in the nose
  • Nasal tumors
  • Leukemia

These are the conditions where you should immediately consult a doctor as severe health concerns such as the mentioned leukemia require medical attention to avoid any further risks.

Can you stop a nosebleed at home?

The most conventional ways of stopping a nosebleed are simple and require minimum effort. Mostly, nosebleeds can be handled with the use of an over the top cream or ointment. Many people are not comfortable with creams inside their noses.

Nasal sprays are also available as an option to avoid irritation from creams.

If you see a doctor in case of a normal nosebleed to stop it right away, the typical method used will be of cauterization to let all the blood flow out at once. The process involves a heating tool or silver nitrate to safely burn the capillaries near the nose.

This method can be opted for if you have an event or ceremony coming up since nosebleeds can last for a long time.

Other times it can stop in the middle and start later on during the time when you are in an important meeting or similar event. Cauterization can come in handy to avoid any such situations.

Besides these methods, nosebleeds can be stopped in easier ways and at home, especially if it is just one of the usual anterior nosebleeds. Following are the easiest ways to stop a nosebleed at home:

Cotton balls

The go-to way for stopping nosebleeds requires a cotton ball and no more than 5-10 minutes. Bleeding nose might not be comfortable for many people, but blood coming out of the nostrils is better than blood going down your throat and coming in the mouth.

Blood going down your throat can accumulate in the stomach and cause problems in the digestive tract for some people. Additionally, you might not like the taste of blood in your mouth.

Take a cotton ball close to the midsection of the nose and pinch for 5-10 minutes repeatedly. This can make the excess blood to flow out quickly and prevent any other damage.

Compression of the capillaries

Another way to stop bleeding from your nose is using a cold compress at the back of your neck and on both sides of the nose for 5-7 minutes. This way the capillaries constrict and the blood flow from the nose stops.

Stuffing the nose

The first thing was done by a majority of the people when a nosebleed start is looking for a cloth or tissue to stuff up the nose and stop the blood from running down. Avoid stuffing the nose with anything. Stuffing the nose makes the situation worse by damaging the outer most layer of the nose.

Hence, the nosebleeds more than the previous damage and last for a longer time. Keeping a tissue close to the nostrils to clean the incoming blood is fine but do not put the tissues or cloth inside the nose.

Bleeding From the Nose - Why Does It Happen?


The first thing to do when a nosebleed starts is to stay calm. Sudden nosebleeds can be irritating as well as frightening for the people who have never experienced it before. However, panicking can worsen the nosebleed according to studies.

Sitting down and staying calm is the first step to make the nosebleed less severe. Freaking out is likely to make a person do something like stuffing the nose or anything that can harm the nasal membrane.


Andrea White

As a graduate of Public Health and Policy, Andrea developed an interest in disease development, food and safety and the latest advancements in health. She is a Freelance writer who had affiliations with multiple blogs. Andrea is now pursuing her post-doctorate in Behavioral Sciences.

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