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What Is a Posterior Nose Bleed?

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  • Written By: H. Lo
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 04 July 2014
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A posterior nose bleed is a condition in which bleeding starts from the back of the nose. This is one of two types of nose bleeds, with the other one being the more common anterior nose bleed that begins at the front of the nose. As a condition that originates deep and high in the nose, a posterior nose bleed causes blood to flow down the back of the mouth and throat. In addition, if the affected person leans forward, he or she will find that like an anterior nose bleed, the blood might flow from the nostrils as well. This type of nose bleed requires medical attention as it can be severe and prove difficult to treat.

Most commonly, a posterior nose bleed occurs in the elderly, although anyone might experience this condition due to a variety of causes. For example, a posterior nose bleed can occur from trauma, such as a blow to the face or nose, in addition to a fall. Medical conditions that can cause the condition include blood clotting disorders, calcium deficiency and hardened arteries, as well as high blood pressure, leukemia and tumor. Exposure to certain chemicals, dry climate and nasal surgery are other potential causes of a posterior nose bleed. In addition, certain types of medications can also cause the condition to occur, including aspirin, anticoagulants and arthritis medication.

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In some instances, a posterior nose bleed might go away on its own, but usually the condition requires medical attention. Unlike an anterior nose bleed, where home care is usually enough to treat the condition, treatment for a posterior nose bleed involves undergoing a procedure called nasal packing. In general, the procedure consists of inserting a type of packing, such as a balloon nasal pack into the nose, and then inflating it to apply pressure to the bleeding area. The purpose of the inflation is to promote blood clotting, which will stop the bleeding.

As nasal packing can be an uncomfortable experience, pain medications or sedatives might accompany the treatment. The treatment itself usually lasts between 48 and 72 hours, depending on the severity of the condition and what caused the condition to occur. Since nasal packing can cause complications, such as breathing problems or an infection, monitoring the treatment process is important for the affected person in case there is a need for additional treatment measures. If the condition does not respond to nasal packing and bleeding continues to flow, the next step in treatment is surgery.

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