Bleeding from the nose can vary from an occasional annoyance to a life-threatening emergency. The medical term for a nosebleed is epistaxis.
First aid measures
If you have a nosebleed, you should gently but firmly compress the fleshy part of the nose between thumb and forefinger. Hold this for 10 minutes and repeat if required. Keep your head level or slightly forward to prevent blood being swallowed, which can cause nausea. If bleeding persists for more than 20 minutes you should seek medical attention. Go to your nearest A&E department.
Risk factors for nosebleeds.
- Anything that 'thins' the blood:
Taking aspirin ( even low dose aspirin).
Some other medicines, especially Warfarin and clexane.
- Excess alcohol intake.
- Scratching, picking at, or trying to clean the nose internally.
- Recent nasal injury.
- Bends in the nasal septum.
Antibacterial cream "naseptin" (prescription only) may help by reducing inflammation of the nasal lining.
Nasal cautery. When the bleeding point is towards the front of the nose as is usually the case, cautery is simple, painless, and easily performed in the ENT clinic. Repeat cautery is sometimes required.
Sometimes cautery requires use of a nasal endoscope too if the bleeding point is not easily visualised.
Occasionally an operation is required if a nosebleed doesn't stop, or recurs despite simple measures.
If you would like to arrange an appointment to discuss your symptoms further, please do so via using one of the available options on our contact us page.