Nosebleeds are common in children and adults. They occur when the membranes that line the nasal passages dry out. The blood vessels burst, causing a bloody nose. This is most common during the winter, when cold, dry air irritates the nasal membranes. In adults, blood thinners, elevated heart rates, and elevated blood pressure worsen bleeding. In children, most nosebleeds are cauterized in the office, with local anesthesia, while the child is sitting on their parent’s lap.
In adults, many nosebleeds are cauterized in the office with chemical or electrocautery. Patients are taken to the operating room for more serious nosebleeds. Dr. Rosner has had high success rates stopping noses from bleeding in the operating room by using sinus endoscopes to cauterize or clip the main blood vessels going into the nose (sphenopalatine artery ligation).
Types of Nosebleeds
There are two types of bloody noses, classified according to whether the bleeding is coming from the front or the back of the nose. The majority of nose bleeds begin in the lower portion of the septum, and are often marked by a flow of blood from just one nostril. These are characterized as anterior nosebleeds and are easily treatable. Posterior nosebleeds begin high and deep within the nose and flow down the back of the mouth and throat. This rare form of nosebleed is considered serious and requires immediate medical attention. It is most common in the elderly, those with high blood pressure, and in people who have experienced trauma to the nose or face.
To stop a nosebleed at home:
Place Afrin nasal spray on a cotton ball, then place the Afrin soaked cotton ball in the nose, pinch and hold the soft part of the nose while sitting up straight and leaning forward slightly. If you cannot get the bleeding to stop in 15 minutes, then seek the care of a doctor.