Nosebleeds: the causes

Epistaxis, the medical term for nosebleeds, is a fairly frequent event: here are the most common causes.

Occasional episodes of rhinorrhagia (nosebleeds) are common, especially in children. What is certain is that an abundant red flow that suddenly drips from the nostrils can really frighten, both children and adults. The good news is that, usually, these are benign events triggered by causes that are not at all serious.

A richly vascularized mucosa

The nose contains many small vessels, which, being located superficially in the mucous membranes, can easily bleed. Epistaxis is therefore frequent, especially in children aged between 3 and 10 years, but adults can also suffer from it.

Many causes can be attributed to the disorder, but in general a blood flow that appears occasionally is almost never a serious symptom, while if the episodes are repeated often they could be the indicator of a more serious problem. Let’s see together what can be the situations that lead to nosebleeds, starting from the most frequent and harmless.

Dry air, central heating

One of the most common causes of nosebleeds is dry air, due to both the climate and rooms with central heating or air conditioning. The low humidity of the air we breathe dehydrates the nasal mucous membranes and this causes crusts to form that can itch or become irritated. The discomfort caused causes scratching, or in any case to repeatedly touch the nose and the scabs can break or detach resulting in bleeding.

Even contact with external irritants (dust, smoke, atmospheric dust or pollen) is a frequent occurrence that induces dryness of the mucous membranes, with the possibility of bleeding.

At the bar the cold and its remedies

Given the fragility of the capillaries present in the front of the nose, repeatedly sneezing or blowing the nose frequently can cause bleeding; Likewise, taking antihistamines and / or decongestants to combat colds, allergies and disorders of the nasal sinuses, can dry the mucous membranes and induce, consequently, nosebleeds.

As well as acetylsalicylic acid which, if taken in high doses, can be the basis of nasal bleeding given its anticoagulant action.

In the little ones, pay attention to the foreign object

Especially in early childhood the possibility that nasal bleeding is due to the presence of a foreign body in the nostril should not be underestimated. The objects that are most commonly introduced into the nose are: beads, candies, pieces of paper, small parts of toys.

The habit of putting your fingers in your nose can also cause repeated bleeding, as well as small lesions may be produced during the game.

The signs not to be underestimated

Although most episodes of nasal bleeding do not require medical attention and stop on their own, some possible causes should always be taken into account and must be carefully evaluated. For example, nosebleeds that occur after an injury could result in a broken nose, skull fracture, or internal bleeding.

And it should also be remembered that arterial hypertension, blood clotting disorders, as well as some tumors (fortunately rare) can be the basis of recurrent episodes of nosebleeds.

Therefore it is good to consult the doctor when the rhinorrhagia lasts more than 20 minutes or continues to recur, when blood loss is considerable, if the subject feels weak and if bleeding begins along the back of the throat rather than starting from the front area of the nose.

Joycelyn Elders is the author and creator of EmpowerEssence, a health and wellness blog. Elders is a respected public health advocate and pediatrician dedicated to promoting general health and well-being.

The blog covers a wide range of topics related to health and wellness, with articles organized into several categories.

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