What to do? Causes and quick tips

It often happens suddenly: Anyone who has ever had a ball hit their nose, blown their nose too hard or had an unfortunate fall on their nose will certainly be frightened when blood spurts out. But sometimes it comes naturally: nosebleeds. What should I do? Which heste-aid measures help?

Possible causes of nosebleeds

In most cases, sudden nosebleeds in adults or children are completely harmless – often a cold, vigorous blowing of the nose or dry mucous membranes are enough to put a lot of strain on the nose. The result: Blood vessels in the nasal mucosa can burst and the nose starts to bleed. However, there are also serious diseases that can be considered with the symptom of nosebleeds (epistaxis). It is therefore important that if you have frequent nosebleeds, to be on the safe side, consult a doctor to clarify the exact causes.

Nosebleeds when you have a cold

Nosebleeds are often associated with a cold. During an infection of the respiratory tract, the mucous membrane is usually very dry and therefore irritated and damaged. Very frequent and vigorous blowing of the nose can easily injure the vessels in the nasal mucosa – the result can be blood in the handkerchief. As a rule, however, this is harmless and the nosebleed can be stopped quickly.

High blood pressure causes nosebleeds

Repeated nosebleeds may be an indication of previously undetected high blood pressure. In addition to headaches, dizziness, sleep disorders, nausea and blurred vision, nosebleeds are among the common symptoms of hypertension. Therefore, nosebleeds in combination with such symptoms should be taken seriously.

Nosebleeds when taking medication

Blood-thinning drugs are used for various diseases, for example in the area of ​​the heart or blood vessels. These are designed to prevent dangerous blood clots from forming in the body. However, they can sometimes lead to nosebleeds if the wrong dosage is used. Nasal sprays, which have a decongestant effect on the nasal mucosa, can also promote bleeding. With regular use there is a risk of permanent damage to the nasal mucosa, which in turn increases the risk of epistaxis.

Discomfort in the nasal area as the cause

Various diseases in the area of ​​the nose can also manifest themselves as nosebleeds. Polyps in the nose, nasal stones and inflammation of the paranasal sinuses are common examples of this. Nasal polyps are benign growths in the nasal mucosa that are usually only discovered when they are so large that those affected can hardly breathe through the nose. Other symptoms of polyps can include impaired sense of smell, a nasal congestion, and nosebleeds.

Nosebleeds as a result of illness

In rare cases, epistaxis can show up as a symptom of serious diseases such as a tumor in the nasal cavity or paranasal sinuses. Other examples of nosebleeds as an alarm signal are liver cirrhosis and blood cancer/leukaemia:

  • liver cirrhosis: If the liver is damaged, for example by alcohol or viral infections, cirrhosis of the liver can develop over the years. As part of this liver disease, tissue knots can form and the connective tissue can scar – ultimately leading to the shrinkage of the organ. But cirrhosis of the liver is often not recognized until late. In the advanced stage, water retention and bleeding such as nosebleeds or stomach bleeding can also occur.
  • Blood Cancer/Leukemia: Leukemia, also known colloquially as blood cancer, is a malignant disease of the white blood cells (leukocytes). The diagnosis comes as a shock to those affected. It often comes on suddenly and without clearly identifiable symptoms. In some cases, blood cancer is manifested by a sudden, severe feeling of illness with paleness and fever, loss of appetite, weight loss and tiredness. Increased nose or gum bleeding can also indicate acute leukemia.

How to stop nosebleeds

Nosebleeds are unpleasant, but in principle they are harmless. If you have a nosebleed for the first time, you don’t need to go to the doctor. But if it happens repeatedly, you should have it checked out.

Immediate measures to take at home:

  • First of all, keep calm.
  • Sit up straight and tilt your head forward to allow blood to flow from your nose.
  • Use your thumb and forefinger to gently pinch your nostrils for several minutes while breathing through your mouth.
  • Put a cool compress on the back of your neck.

In many cases, the immediate measures mentioned help to stop the bleeding. However, it is entirely possible that the bleeding will not stop immediately. The rule of thumb here is: If the nosebleed does not stop after 20 minutes, you should see a doctor. If the nosebleed is very severe, it may be advisable to call an ambulance. This is also the case if the nosebleed was caused by a fall, for example, and serious injuries are likely. Otherwise, an ENT doctor is the right place to go for you.

Medical measure against nosebleeds: sclerotherapy

If you visit the ENT doctor in the event of an acute epistaxis, he can take various measures to stop the nosebleeds. If the bleeding is more easily and clearly localized in the front of the nose, the doctor can stop the nosebleed as the first form of treatment. There are various methods available for this – one example, according to the health portal “NetDoktor”, is cauterization of the blood vessels, for example with silver nitrate. Alternatively, the doctor can obliterate the nosebleed with a so-called laser or electrocoagulation.

Nosebleeds during pregnancy: you should know that

Nosebleeds in pregnancy is a fairly common phenomenon that occurs both during the day and during sleep. The reason for this is the hormone balance – this changes in women who are pregnant: Estrogen is increasingly formed, which among other things ensures that the connective tissue loosens. This results in increased blood flow, for example in the mucous membranes – the result can be nosebleeds. In most cases, however, the epistaxis is harmless and the bleeding from the nose can be stopped quickly.

If you are pregnant and suffer from regular nosebleeds, you should get it checked out by a doctor just to be on the safe side. In this way, your doctor can check for other possible causes of nosebleeds during pregnancy and discuss how to proceed with you. A nasal spray that decongests the mucous membranes may then be used. Note here that there are many medicines that you should not take if you are pregnant. Therefore, always check the package leaflet and consult your doctor.

Nosebleeds in children: How to react correctly

When their child’s nose bleeds, most parents get a fright at first. However, it is often completely harmless. Therefore, it is important not to panic, but to calmly apply the most important immediate measures.

Immediate Measures For Nosebleeds In Children:

  • Keep calm and soothe the child too.
  • Sit the child upright with the head tilted slightly forward.
  • Use your thumb and forefinger to gently press the front soft parts of the child’s nose until the bleeding stops.
  • Place a cool compress on the child’s neck.

If the bleeding does not stop after 10 minutes, or if there is concomitant nasal deformity or swelling at the bridge of the nose, parents should seek medical attention. Even if the nose bleeds more frequently, parents should take their child to the pediatrician to rule out other causes such as leukemia or, if the small blood vessels in the nose are weak, to have them sclerosed.

Causes of nosebleeds in children

Children are more likely to get nosebleeds than adults. The most common cause of nosebleeds is nose picking. Children between the ages of two and ten are particularly affected. Other reasons for epistaxis can be a cold and injuries from external or internal influences – such as a sports accident, a fight with a punch in the nose or strong shocks such as hopping and jumping.

Foreign bodies also occasionally get into the nose of small children. Other causes of nosebleeds in children can be inflammatory reactions of the nasal mucosa caused by excessive snorting when blowing your nose. In older children, a severe growth spurt can also lead to nosebleeds.

More on the subject: nosebleeds in children

Important NOTE: The information in no way replaces professional advice or treatment by trained and recognized doctors. The content of t-online cannot and must not be used to independently make diagnoses or start treatments.