By Princeton Eye and Ear
August 02, 2017
Category: ENT
Tags: Nosebleeds  

It happens suddenly. Blood gushes from the left side of your nose, and you reach for something--anything--to catch and stop the flow. After nosebleeds10 minutes or so, the nosebleed (doctors call it epistaxis) stops, but you wonder "What is causing my nosebleeds?" Your otolaryngologist in Plainsboro, Freehold and Lawrenceville, NJ pinpoint the causes for regularly occurring nosebleeds and offers treatments to control or eliminate this bothersome condition.

The causes of nosebleeds

Nosebleeds are a very common medical condition, especially in children who participate in sports or even moderately rough playground activity. However, adults experience epistaxis, too, says your otolaryngologist in Plainsboro, Freehold and Lawrenceville, NJ.

Fortunately, most bleeding episodes are perfectly benign and stop within a short period of time. Bleeds from the front of the nose (anterior) happen most frequently and are less serious than ones coming from the back of the nose.

However, while the acute phase of a nosebleed is rarely serious or life-threatening, some bleeds need immediate attention from a health care professional. The reasons nosebleeds occur include:

  • Blunt trauma to the face
  • Nasal dryness, congestion and irritation due to colds, flu or allergic rhinitis
  • Hypertension
  • Clotting factor disorders
  • Foreign object in the nose (prevalent in young children)
  • Deviated septum, the partition that divides the nose into two sections

Immediate treatment

First aid for epistaxis is straightforward:

  1. The individual should sit straight up with his or her head tilted slightly forward.
  2. Using the thumb and forefinger, pinch the nostrils together.
  3. Check the blood flow after 10 minutes. If not resolved, continue to hold the nostrils closed. Use a clean washcloth or 4x4 gauze to absorb any dripping blood.

If bleeding does not resolve within 20 minutes, go to the hospital emergency room.

When nosebleed recur

Still, there may be nothing seriously wrong. Try humidifying the air in your home. Nasal creams or saline sprays help keep delicate nasal membranes moist and less prone to bleeding.

However, doctors at the Cleveland Clinic say that frequent epistaxis in children under the age of two are cause for concern. So parents, please consult your pediatrician if this occurs with your toddler. Additionally, when nosebleeds last for more than 20 minutes and are accompanied by vomiting and shortness of breath, please go to the hospital ER. The hospital may stabilize the condition and refer you to your primary care physician or your otolaryngologist in Plainsboro, Freehold and Lawrenceville for further investigation.

Other causes for nosebleed may be linked with underlying hypertension, clotting factor deficiencies or other serious medical conditions. At Princeton Eye and Ear, Dr. Shah and his professional colleagues are board-certified to diagnose and treat a wide range of problems associated with the nose, ears and throat. They'll pinpoint why epistaxis is occurring and provide competent and caring treatment.

Contact us

If you're concerned about recurring nosebleeds, please contact Princeton Eye and Ear. The friendly staff will arrange a personal consultation with one of the physicians. For ENT appointments, call (609) 403-8840. For eye appointments, call (609) 883-3000.