Debra Wood, RN
Nosebleed refers to blood flowing from the nose or nasal passage. There are two types of nosebleeds:
Nosebleeds may be caused by:
Factors that may increase your risk of nosebleeds include:
Nosebleed symptoms depend on where in the nose the bleeding begins, for example:
Call your doctor if:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Your doctor may want to do certain tests, such as:
Most anterior nosebleeds stop without medical care within 15 minutes. Posterior nosebleeds usually are more serious and need medical care. Treatment may include sealing off the blood vessel that is bleeding.
For an anterior nosebleed, your doctor will use a compress soaked in a medication. The medication constricts or shrinks the blood vessel and reduces the pain. Pressure will be applied by pinching the nostrils together. Your doctor may pack the area with gauze. In more severe cases, your doctor may cauterize (seal off) a blood vessel that does not clot on its own.
A posterior nosebleed may require packing the nostril or inserting and inflating a special balloon that applies pressure to the area. If all medical attempts to control bleeding fail, surgery may be needed.
To help reduce your chance of getting a nosebleed:
American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children
Canadian Society of Otolaryngology
Epistaxis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated September 15, 2014. Accessed September 22, 2015.
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at:
http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/nosebleeds.html. Updated April 2014. Accessed September 22, 2015.
American Academy of Otolaryngology website. Available at:
http://www.entnet.org/content/nosebleeds. Updated December 3, 2010. Accessed September 22, 2015.
Last reviewed September 2015 by Marcin Chwistek, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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