(Epistaxis; Bloody Nose)
by Debra Wood, RN
Nosebleed refers to blood flowing from the nose or nasal passage. There are two types of nosebleeds:
Risk Factors TOP
Factors that may increase your risk of nosebleeds include:
Nosebleed symptoms depend on where in the nose the bleeding begins, for example:
When Should I Call My Doctor?
Call your doctor if:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. He or she will do a physical exam.
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 medicine. The medicine 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.
If you are diagnosed with a nosebleed, follow your doctor's instructions.
To reduce the chance of getting a nosebleed:
American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
About Kids Health
Canadian Society of Otolaryngology
Nosebleed. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com. Updated March 26, 2012. Accessed July 23, 2012.
Nosebleeds. American Academy of Otolaryngology website. Available at: http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/Nosebleeds.cfm. Updated December 13, 2010. Accessed February 23, 2012.
Nosebleeds. Family Doctor.org website. Available at: http://familydocto.... Updated December 2010. Accessed February 23, 2012.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Brian Randall, MD
Last Updated: 09/30/2012