Health and MedicineDiseasesEpistaxis or nose bleed: causes, symptoms and treatment

Epistaxis or nose bleed: causes, symptoms and treatment

Epistaxis is basically any hemorrhage or bleeding from the nose. What are its causes, how is it diagnosed and treated? It is a very common condition, which especially affects children and women.

Although its medical name may not sound like much to us, the truth is that epistaxis basically consists of bleeding from the nose or nasal passages, an extremely common condition that, almost in all probability, we have all suffered at some point in our lives.

It is a bleeding that normally comes from a blood vessel, since the nose receives an abundant blood supply. In fact, many people go through an epistaxis episode at least once in their lives.

What is epistaxis and what are its causes?

It basically consists of nosebleeds; that is, it is all hemorrhage originating in the nostrils. In other words, it occurs when blood comes out of the nose.

The causes of nosebleeds can be several, although sometimes it occurs without knowing the trigger or the cause that produces it.

Among the causes that could produce nosebleeds we highlight:

  • Injuries from blows, having some piercings, hurting yourself picking your nose.
  • Dryness in the mucous membranes of the nose.
  • Irritations as a result of colds, allergies, sinusitis or rhinitis.
  • Excessive environmental humidity.
  • Have deviation in the nasal septum.
  • Smoke of the tobacco.
  • Having undergone recent nasal surgery.
  • The presence of a nasal polyp.
  • Suffer from hypertension.
  • Blood clotting problems.
  • Being diabetic.
  • Other causes for which the nose could bleed could be the existence of some diseases such as leukemia, the presence of a tumor in the nostrils, the intake of medications, antiaggregants or anticoagulants such as syndrome or aspirin.
  • These nosebleeds are common during childhood and adolescence and occur more often in men than in women.
  • The most common nosebleed is what is qualified as anterior bleeding and occurs towards the outside of the nose, the bleeding is towards the outside, while  posterior bleeding is the one that occurs towards the inside towards the throat and pharynx.
  • Anterior epistaxis is more frequent and easier to control. On the other hand, posterior epistaxis is more difficult to control and bleeding is more abundant.
  • However, on most occasions we must be calm, since epistaxis is largely benign and remits on its own.

What to do when a nosebleed occurs?

  • In the event that you suffer from an episode of epistaxis that is considered mild, following these tips or instructions can be of great help in trying to stop the bleeding.
  • To stop the bleeding from the nose we must sit down, lean slightly forward, cover the nostrils with our fingers as if it were a clamp and breathe through the mouth, we stay like this with the nose covered for about 8 or 10 minutes.
  • If in these minutes the bleeding does not stop, we can place a little cotton to plug the nostril that bleeds; we wait about 15 more minutes. But if after this time the bleeding does not stop, we should go to the emergency doctor.
  • We should also go to the doctor without delay when bleeding occurs frequently and we do not know the cause.

How is the cause of epistaxis diagnosed and treated?

  • The otolaryngologist will review or explore the nostrils to find the point where it bleeds. For this examination, the doctor usually uses a rhino scope.
  • This instrument is shaped like a tube and comes with a lens and light. Sometimes the doctor resorts to cauterization with silver nitrate applied to the bleeding area.
  • You can also perform different types of nasal packing depending on the cases or causes of epistaxis, after any of the treatments that the doctor has performed; we will follow his advice so that the recovery is optimal.


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