What causes nosebleeds?

Nosebleeds can be caused by a variety of factors. The most common cause of a nosebleed is dry air or dryness in the nasal passages. An injurious blow to the nose may also cause a nosebleed. Chronic nosebleed can be caused by blood clotting disorders that run in families.

Everyday causes of nosebleeds

Your nosebleed may be due to common causes including:

  • Allergies
  • Change in altitude
  • Chemical irritants
  • Cold or dry air
  • Medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs, blood thinners, or aspirin
  • Nose picking
  • Vigorous nose blowing
  • Vigorous sneezing

Serious causes of nosebleeds

Serious causes of nosebleed that may require medical attention include:

  • Foreign object in the nose
  • Nose fracture
  • Respiratory infection
  • Surgery of the nose or face
  • Trauma to the nose
  • Tumor

Genetic causes of nosebleeds

Nosebleeds can also be caused by disorders that run in families including:

  • Hemophilia (rare hereditary disorder in which blood does not clot normally)
  • Hemorrhagic telangiectasia (hereditary disorder that makes blood vessels very fragile)
  • Thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet count; platelets help form clots to stop blood loss)
  • Von Willebrand’s disease (hereditary bleeding disorder)

What are the risk factors for nosebleeds?

A number of factors increase the risk of developing nosebleeds. Not all people with risk factors will get nosebleeds. Risk factors for nosebleeds include:

  • Allergies
  • Family history of bleeding disorders, such hemorrhagic telangiectasia
  • Tumors
  • Use of certain medications, such as anti-inflammatory drugs, blood thinners, or aspirin

What are nosebleeds?

A nosebleed occurs when the tissue lining of the nose breaks and blood is released. This tissue contains small blood vessels, called arterioles, that can rupture easily. A nosebleed is medically known as epistaxis. Nosebleeds are very common, and children between the ages of two and 10 and adults between 50 and 80 years seem to be most susceptible.... Read more about nosebleedsintroduction


What are the symptoms of nosebleeds?

Nosebleed symptoms are easily recognizable: blood coming out of your nose, or from your nose down the back of your throat.... Read more about nosebleedssymptoms


How are nosebleeds treated?

Stopping an anterior nosebleed is simple. You should sit upright to ensure that your head is higher than your heart and use your mouth to breathe. Lean forward slightly to avoid swallowing blood. Using your thumb and index finger, gently pinch the soft fleshy part of your nose closed for 15 minutes.... Read more about nosebleedstreatments

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Ear, Nose and Throat

Popular Ear, Nose and Throat Slide Show