Mike writes to The Doctors on Facebook concerned about his nosebleeds. He says he has been having nosebleeds for years, almost every other day! He says they occur when he is doing nothing or in the mornings he will wake up with blood on his pillow.
Ear, nose and throat specialist Dr. Andrew Ordon says nosebleeds almost every day are not good. He says there is a big range in the severity of nosebleeds, from being a mild inconvenience to being fatal. Dr. Ordon points out on a model that the nose can either bleed from the front, called an anterior nosebleed, or toward the back of the nasal cavity, called a posterior nosebleed.
Mike needs to get an evaluation from an ear, nose, and throat specialist to figure out the cause of his nosebleeds and to find where the bleeding is coming from. There are many possible causes. In kids, nosebleeds are often due to dryness and them picking their noses. In adults, it’s more difficult to assess. A deviated septum or allergies could be causing dryness in the nose, leading to nosebleeds. It could also be a sign of high blood pressure, a blood clot, or a reaction to certain medications.
If Mike’s bleed is anterior, an ENT may be able to cauterize it to stop the problem. However, if it’s a larger issue, like high blood pressure, there may be more that needs to be done.
If you do have a mild nosebleed, pinch your nose and lean your head forward, not backward! Pinch the nose for about 10 minutes, and do not continually remove and replace your fingers from where you are pinching the nose. If the bleeding persists or if there is a massive amount of blood loss, then you should seek medical attention.
Additionally, you can take preventative measures by treating underlying allergies. Make sure you are in a moist environment, using a humidifier if necessary. Keep the end of the nose moist using either Vaseline or Neosporin. Do not pick off scabs, let them fall off naturally.