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What Are the Causes of Frequent Bloody Noses?

Updated on April 16, 2017
eHealer profile image

I have worked as an RN for over 25 years in several specialties, and I am an educator for various universities on the West Coast.

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If you suffer from frequent nosebleeds, it can be distressing and embarrassing. It may seem that it always occurs at the worst time, and your nose may bleed profusely. If this happens to you, there are a few steps you can take to prevent future nosebleeds.

First, Let's Talk About What Noses Do

The function of the nose is to warm and humidify the air you breathe. The inside of the nose is lined with a mucosal membrane that secrets mucous and protects the membranes from drying out. These membranes are very rich in capillaries and are susceptible to bleeding from the slightest injury. When humidity is low in the air, as in dry climates, the mucous membranes become dried out and crack and bleed.

Some People are Prone to Nosebleeds

Some people have thin membranes in their nose and suffer from frequent nosebleeds. Other causes may be from allergies and colds that can irritate the mucosal lining of the nose and cause an opening in the nasal tissue. Sneezing or blowing the nose hard or frequently can initiate a nosebleed. If you have nosebleeds along with your seasonal allergies, consider anti-histamine to lessen your bouts of sneezing and decrease the drainage of your sinuses. Instead of blowing hard to drain your nose, protect your nasal mucosa and gently wipe it with a soft tissue.

Nosebleeds and Your Anatomy

Over 80% of people have abnormalities in the placement of their septum, but only a few require it to be surgically corrected. The septum divides the nasal cavity and separates each nasal passageway into equal halves. A deviated septum may put pressure on the blood vessels and can cause a rupture of the blood vessels. Nosebleeds happen frequently to a small number of people in this way, but if you suspect this may be a reason, have it checked by a physician.

Keep the Nasal Membranes Moist

If you are prone to nosebleeds, use A&D ointment, Neosporin, or Vaseline on a Q-tip and apply a tiny amount to the inside of each nostril daily to keep them moist. If you use heaters in winter, you may want to use a humidifier to keep the air in your home humidified and your nasal mucosa moist.

Don’t Use Certain Medications and Nasal Sprays

The overuse of nasal sprays will dry out your nasal mucosa and can cause nosebleeds. The rebound effect of nasal decongestants can cause swelling and irritation to the nasal mucosa. Refrain from nasal sprays if you have frequent nosebleeds, and try a saline nasal spray to clear the nostrils and moisten the lining of the nose. Also, aspirin and ibuprofen are blood thinners and can cause blood to seep out of the nasal lining. If you take aspirin and are experiencing frequent nosebleeds, ask your physician for alternatives to these medications.

Other Causes of Frequent Nosebleeds

  • Picking the nose (digital trauma), especially in children
  • Sinus infections
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Rare cases of genetic blood disorders

Serious Nosebleeds are Rare but may Signal a Serious Condition

  • Hypertension: Nosebleeds may be a sign of uncontrolled blood pressure.
  • Leukemia: Especially in children, frequent nosebleeds can be a sign of a blood disorder.
  • Nasal tumors: Though rare, there could be a tumor in the nose or the nasal cavity.
  • Difficulty breathing and a headache may indicate a head or brain injury.

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    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      Interesting and useful.

      Eddy.

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Thanks prospectboy, I really appreciate your support and love your comments. Use this information to help others. Thanks for stopping by ProspectBoy, and see you soon for NFL week 6!

    • prospectboy profile image

      Bradrick H. 5 years ago from Texas

      Another informative and detailed health related article you've written again eHealer. I've never had a nose bleed before, but one of my aunt's, and my little cousin has had them frequently. I always wondered to myself what caused them. I definitely have a better idea now after reading your article. Voted up, shared on Twitter, and rated useful. Keep up the great job you're doing my friend :)

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      I also suffer from nosebleed when intolerable heatwave occurred during El Niño phenomenon (like in 2010) . If too much heat seemed to be unbearable, like when I was on board ship while loading cargo (crude oil) in Middle East, most of the seafarers will suffer nose-bleeding, including our master.

      Our first air is to wet a towel over our heads in order to prevent direct radiation from the sun or convection of the hot air around us.

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Yes, spartuscusjones, me also. The dry weather in Las Vegas just kills me and my nose will bleed out of nowhere. Thanks for reading and I appreciate your comments!

    • spartucusjones profile image

      CJ Baker 5 years ago from Parts Unknown

      Thanks for the informative hub. I can relate because I am prone to nose bleeds. With me I can go months without them, then all of a sudden I go through a period of a few days where I get them frequently. With me it does seem to be partly triggered by extreme weather changes.

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hello Rajan, it's time I paid you back for all your good information. Thanks for reading my hub and I appreciated your feedback as always!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      A very interesting and informative information on why some people are more prone to nose bleeds under normal circumstances. Sharing this forward for its utility, Deborah.

      Voted up and useful.

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Thanks Tips, I am so glad you found it useful. I really appreciate your comments and love your hubs too.

    • tipstoretireearly profile image

      tipstoretireearly 5 years ago from New York

      Using Vaseline or Neosporin on a Q-tip will be such an easy way to deal with this problem once the winter heating season arrives. I'll definitely give that a shot. Thanks for the tips!

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hello Annerivendell, the nasal septum separates the nasal cavity into two equal halves. 80% of people don't have a perfectly straight septum, and it may block the air entering the nasal cavity block the air flow entering the lungs. Only people that have problems breathing from a deviated nasal septum need surgery. Most don't experience symptoms or have only mild symptoms. It can however, cause pressures in the nasal blood vessels without affecting breathing and can cause bleeding. Thanks for reading! I hope this answers your question. I appreciate your questions.

    • annerivendell profile image

      annerivendell 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Informative Hub, very useful information. Voted up. Just wondering though-You say that "over 80% of people have abnormalities in the placement of their septum" How is normal defined in this case, if only 20% of people possess it?

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hello Kelley, I am so sorry you and your son have to deal with nosebleeds. I was at a nursing seminar in San Diego about 4 years ago, and I got a spontaneous nose bleed (the climate was dry) and it bleed so bad I had to go back to my room. How embarrassing is that? Take care and blessings to you to.

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 5 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      That would be a scary and difficult malady to deal with on an ongoing basis. This should help inform people about causes.

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      kelleyward 5 years ago

      My son and I both have frequent nose bleeds, especially in the winter. Thanks for this important hub. Voted up and shared. Blessings, Kelley

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Thanks Pharmacist, I value your opinion. I hope it helps people, a frequent nosebleed is a very distressing condition. Take Care!

    • pharmacist2013 profile image

      pharmacist2013 5 years ago

      A great, well-organized hub as usual, eHealer, it contains really useful info. about nose bleeding and its causes and it'd help a lot of people, voted useful!