Nosebleeds (Epistaxis)


The common site for a nosebleed to start is from just inside the entrance of the nostril, on the nasal septum (the middle harder part of the nostril). Here the blood vessels are quite fragile and can rupture easily for no apparent reason. This happens most commonly in children.

  • Picking the nose.
  • Colds, and blocked stuffy noses such as with hayfever.
  • Blowing the nose.
  • Minor injuries to the nose.
  • Cocaine use.

What is the treatment for nosebleeds?

For most nosebleeds, simple first aid can usually stop the bleeding.

  • Sit up and lean slightly forward.
  • With a finger and thumb, pinch the lower fleshy end of the nose completely blocking the nostrils. Usually, if you apply light pressure for 10-20 minutes, the bleeding will stop.
  • If available, a cold flannel or compress around the nose and front of face will help.
  • Once the nosebleed has stopped, do not pick the nose or try to blow out any of the blood remaining in the nostrils. This may cause another nosebleed.
  • If you feel faint it is best to lie flat on your side.
  • Get medical help quickly if bleeding is heavy, or it does not stop within 20-30 minutes.

Recurring nosebleeds

Some people have recurring nosebleeds. They may not be heavy, and soon stop, but can become distressing. In this situation you may be referred to an Ear Nose and Throat unit. It is often possible to cauterise ('burn with a electrical current') the bleeding point. This is normally a minor procedure which is usually successful in stopping recurrent bleeds.

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