Epistaxis (Nose Bleeding) : Causes, Treatment and Prevention

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What is meant by Epistaxis? How is Epistaxis Characterized?

Epistaxis or nose bleeding is characterized by bleeding through nose. Although this condition is not as such serious, but it causes lot of anxiety and fear for the affected and the onlookers.

How to prevent and treat Epistaxis

How to prevent and treat Epistaxis

Who are affected by Epistaxis?

Generally this is a minor problem commonly seen in young children and appears suddenly without any apparent cause. The flow of blood will be mild or sometimes profuse through the nostrils. Some times the bleeding takes place from the posterior part of the nasal tract which is difficult to control. In such cases medical intervention is needed and a thorough investigation is required to find out the cause for the bleeding.

What are the common causes of Epistaxis?

  • Appears suddenly without any apparent cause.
  • During cold and winter seasons when the weather is dry the delicate blood vessals in the nasal mucous membrane ruptures and bleeding takes place. This is a common feature for some people in winter.
  • Sneezing forcibly also cause rupture of blood vessels and bleeding.
  • In old people of more than 50 years small blood vessels in the nose becomes thin and delicate causing to rupture easily and bleed.
  • It is also common in patients using blood thinners for any heart problems.
  • Cancers in the nasopharyngeal region is also a cause for nose bleeding internally.
  • It is also seen rarely in some people suffering with high blood pressure (Hypertension).
  • Nose bleeding is also seen in people suffering with thrombocytopenia (Reduced platelet count).

Treatment options for Epistaxis:

  • In most of the cases of nose bleeding treatment is not required since the bleeding stops automatically.
  • When the bleeding is profuse and prolonged medical assistance is required.
  • When the bleeding is there the patient should not sneeze as this may increase the condition.
  • Cold packing on the nostrils and nose will help in controlling the bleeding.
  • If it persists Applying pressure on the soft part of the nose continuously for about 10 -15 mts controls.
  • Doctors may control the bleeding by inserting some packing in the nose , conduct endoscopy to investigate the cause or cauterize the bleeding blood vessels under local anesthesia.

Prevention of nose bleeding:

If the nose bleeding is recurring often, it may be due to drying of the nasal mucus membrane. Therefore preventing the dryness controls to a great extent. Applying a lubricating ointment is helpful such as A&D ointment, Polysporin or Neosporin or simply Vaseline. Saline mist spray also is useful for this purpose.

Causes and Measures to be Taken for Controlling Nose Bleeds

Nose bleeds usually occur when the blood vessels get ruptured. These are common among children and among adults with high blood pressure.

If the nose bleeds does not taper off by itself, the following measures have to be taken like

  • The patient should be seated
  • He should not lie down
  • Loosen his clothing
  • Place a cold compress on the back of his neck
  • Place a cold compress on the nose
  • Press the soft portion of the nostril gently against the bony cartilage of the nose for atleast 6 minutes
  • Rolled wads of absorbent cotton may be placed inside each nostril, with part of the cotton sticking out to make its removal easier
  • The inserted cotton should be left in place for few hours and gently withdrawn

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