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Nosebleeds 

Introduction
The sight of blood may be unexpected, but nosebleeds are actually quite common and rarely life threatening.  Nasal irritation and low humidity most frequently cause nosebleeds.  In most cases, nosebleeds can be stopped with self-care.  Simply squeeze your nostrils and lean forward for 5 to 10 minutes.  You should have your doctor examine you if you experience recurrent nosebleeds, as they may be caused by an underlying medical condition, such as high blood pressure.

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Anatomy
The lining inside your nose contains many fine blood vessels that can bleed easily.  The blood vessels near the tip of the nose are the most delicate, and this is where most nosebleeds occur.

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Causes
Nosebleeds most frequently occur from irritation to the lining of the nose.  Dry nasal passages from medications, low humidity, colds, allergies, or sinus infection commonly contribute to nosebleed.  The tissues inside the nose may crust and are further aggravated by nose picking or blowing.  High blood pressure, bleeding disorders, or blood thinning medication may cause nosebleeds.  Additionally, people with a crooked (deviated) septum or hereditary blood vessel irregularities may be susceptible to nosebleeds.  Direct injury to the nose or a severe head injury can also cause nosebleeds.

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Diagnosis
You should contact your doctor if you have repeated frequent nosebleeds.  Your doctor will examine you to determine the cause.  You should seek emergency medical care if a nosebleed does not stop after 20 minutes or if bleeding occurs after injury.

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Treatment
Home treatment works for the majority of nosebleeds.  Sit down and gently squeeze the soft part of your nose to close the nostrils.  Bend forward and breathe through your mouth while holding your nose for 5-10 minutes.  After at least 5 minutes, check to see if the bleeding has stopped.  Do not place gauze or tissue in your nose.  You should also avoid lying down.  Do not sniff or blow your nose for several hours following a nosebleed.

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Prevention
Some people are able to prevent nosebleeds by using a humidifier or vaporizer during the cold winter months or in regions with low humidity.

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Complications
Repeated frequent nosebleeds may be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as high blood pressure.  Bleeding after injury to the head or face can be a symptom of a broken nose, skull fracture, or traumatic brain injury and warrants emergency medical treatment.

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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.