What are Some Causes of Nosebleeds?

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  • Originally Written By: Shannon Kietzman
  • Revised By: C. Mitchell
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 29 July 2018
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Nosebleeds, which are scientifically known as epistaxis, are a medical condition resulting from hemorrhaging in the nose. They are fairly common, and in most cases are not serious. Dry air, injury or trauma, and some medicines are often to blame for the bleeding, which usually goes away all by itself. In some cases, nosebleeds can be much more severe, however, and can last for prolonged periods. It is usually a good idea for people whose noses bleed continuously to get medical help.

Dry Air

A lack of moisture in the air is one of the biggest causes of bloody noses. The human nose is filled with blood vessels, many of which are exposed to the outside environment through openings in the nostrils. Under ideal conditions, the nostrils remain moist with mucus. When the outside air is particularly arid or dry, however, the mucus tends to harden or disappear, which causes the nose’s membranes to crack and harden and the blood vessels to burst, which leads to temporary bleeding.

Dry air is most common indoors during the winter months, as heaters often take moisture out of the air. Mountain and desert climates are also culprits year-round. Using indoor humidifiers and drinking plenty of water are usually the best ways to counteract these conditions.



Nose injuries can also lead to bleeds. The nose is quite sensitive and tends to bleed fairly easily when hit, bruised, or fractured. Excessive nasal pressure, such as that experienced in high altitudes or on airplanes, can also lead to nosebleeds. Respiratory allergies, persistent nose-picking, and high blood pressure may be causes as well.


In some cases, nasal bleeding is caused by prescription drugs, particularly those that prevent the blood from clotting normally. Anti-inflammatory medications and aspirin have also been linked to nosebleeds when used for prolonged periods. People who regularly take these medications may experience regular, heavy nosebleeds as a normal side effect of treatment.

Diseases and Hereditary Conditions

A number of diseases and conditions may also cause nasal bleeding. Heriditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia and Wegener’s granulomatosis are two of the most common examples. Sarcoidosis and Von Willebrand disease, cancer of the neck or head, or nasal polyps are rarer, but nevertheless well-documented.

Internal deformities such as a deviated septum or misaligned nasal ducts can also lead to bleeding. Neither of these conditions is serious, but can lead to mucus drainage problems over time, as well as nosebleeds that are persistent and recurring.


Many women experience nosebleeds as a side-effect of pregnancy. As the body changes to grow and nourish a fetus, the blood vessels often dilate and become more sensitive. At the same time, the mucus membranes are often working overtime. Nosebleeds during pregnancy are usually more bothersome than worrisome, and most will go away on their own with time.

Treatment Options and Cures

In most cases, applying direct pressure to the nose can stop the bleeding, though there is some controversy when it comes to where, exactly, pressure should be placed. According to some experts, it is best to apply pressure on the bridge of the nose, while others believe it is best to focus on the fleshy area. Similarly, some experts feel it is best to tilt the head forward in order to drain the blood out, while others believe it best to tilt the head backward in order to minimize the amount of blood lost. In most cases, trial and error is the best policy — individual sufferers should find what works best for them, then stick to it.

Importance of Medical Evaluation

Nosebleeds are rarely serious, but persistent or recurrent bleeding can be a sign or many different treatable medical conditions. People who experience regular nosebleeds that are heavy or that do not let up after a few minutes would be wise to seek professional medical advice.


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Post 21

Don't pick your nose. It can cause nosebleeds, which is most probably the cause of younger kids getting nosebleeds.

Post 20

For as long as I can remember, I've been getting nosebleeds. Most of them are 10-20 minutes, but others have lasted longer. I guess what my question is is what could be causing them and what can I do to stop them?

Post 19

I'm 14 years old and rarely get nose bleeds. However, I got them three days in a row. I am not sure whether it's because of the heat and I'm playing basketball four hours each day. I was in the shower last night and all of sudden felt blood dripping down my body from my nose. This morning I woke up and it started gushing blood. Then, I feel it in the back of my throat! Help!

Post 18

I have been getting nose bleeds for 23 days once or twice a day. I put tissue in it and it stops. What can I do to stop this from happening?

Post 17

I get nose bleeds for three to five minutes most mornings when I wake up. It does scare me as I'm only 15. I only have blood coming from one nostril. Is that natural? I don't know whether to go to the doctor or just leave it. I would appreciate any help or advice.

Post 16

To all you guys with unknown causes of bleeding, it's really wise to get the endoscopy done for your noses! I was also having bleeding a week ago and it wasn't stopping, but I was trying to stop it by pressing on my nose, putting ice on my nose and all, and it finally stopped with a big clot of blood hanging outward from my nose. I knew that if I pulled off the clot then the bleeding will start again so I didn't, and I went to an ENT. I reached there after an hour and he removed it and it didn't bleed. Then he looked inside my nose using speculum but nothing was there, so he did an endoscopy of my nose and he saw a small bleeding polyp on the lateral wall at the inferior turbinate, so the next day I had it removed surgically. Until now, I am good.

Post 15

I too have been having nosebleeds since I was 13. I have a hereditary disease HHT or Osler Weber Rendu syndrome. Check online for more info. My nosebleeds are not as frequent or last as long now that I make sure I take selenium 100mcg a day. Hope this helps.

Post 14

I get a small nosebleed practically every day. Most of the time they stop after 5 to 10 minutes and other times they last for 15 - 20. Been to the doctor, and he says my cartilage is crooked and I have a uni-nostril. What can I do?

Post 13

can stress cause nosebleeds? i always hear doctors tell my mom that stress is one of the main causes for a lot of stuff. and i was just wondering if it could be true for nose bleeds too?

Post 12

Never had a nose bleed in my life! Now at 67, I've had two in the last two weeks. First one wasn't too bad, the second one was very heavy blood flow and lasted for an hour. Nothing different in my life, have always taken aspirin for pain and I'm not on any prescriptions. Any ideas?

Post 11

nose bleeds always stopped my headaches. kind of wish i didn't get my nose cauterized.

Post 8

i am getting nose bleeds very frequently. i drink every day and take aspirin high blood pressure medication. i also work at a place the atmosphere is very dry.

Post 7

i am 75 years old. my nose bleeds every time I eat?

Post 6

My husband gets a headache followed by a nosebleed that looks as if a water faucet has been turned on flowing blood instead of water. When he uses tissue to stop the bleeding, it looks like there are chunks of flesh coming out of his nose and it last for about 45 minutes to an hour. This has been going on every other week about 2-3 days out of the week. is there anything I can do to find out what is going on?

Post 5

Help! I've had minor nosebleeds almost daily for 10 days. No notable triggers- no blood thinners or aspirin, no injury, no known allergies. Do have mild high blood pressure, but take meds for that.

2 days ago, I woke up, felt blood running down throat, went into bathroom, had minor bleed for 5 min or so; it stopped. *Then* it started full force, gushing so badly it took a while for me to get to phone to call 911. (Always from right side of nose). Ambulance rushed me to ER. (My bathroom looked like a crime scene). Took 5 *hours* to stop. Pressure didn't work; they packed it twice w/medicine, still didn't stop till they cauterized it. Lost a

lot of blood. Blood pressure was high in ER, but at home later that day & yesterday, BP was very low.

Today it's back up, a little high. Feel very wiped out... Don't know what caused it- very nervous about this happening anytime, anywhere & my business has me driving all over the state, working an hr or so away from home. Any ideas anyone?

Post 4

I find that sitting upright in a chair with back perfectly straight and head directly forward is the best way to stop a nosebleed. At the same time I use a small towel or handkerchief that has been soaked in cold water, ring out the excess water, and apply this to the bridge of my nose and forehead, while gentle pinching together the fleshy part of my nose.

Post 3

Also tipping your head forward makes the pressure the vein lower so the blood can clot.

Post 2

My nose has been bleeding every 1-2 days and last for about 1h-1h45m. What is the cause of these?

Post 1

My four year old son gets nose bleeds about once every two weeks. All of a sudden he just starts gushing blood and it doesn't stop for at least twenty minutes. What is this caused from and how do i alleviate the stress for him? it scares him more than anything

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