Nose bleeds or (epistaxis) is bleeding from the nostril, nasal cavity or the back of the nose where it connects to the throat usually caused when a blood vessel bursts either spontaneously or due to trauma.
Nose bleeds are extremely common especially in the winter when home heating systems tend to dry out the air we breathe. In addition to dryness, nose bleeds can occur due to nasal trauma. They are more common in the elderly due to hardening of vessels in the nose. Most occur in the front of the nose and arise from a plexus of vessels on the nasal septum. More severe cases can arise from vessels located more posteriorly in the nose. Less common causes are tumors both benign and malignant that may arise in the nose and vascular malformations that can also occur in the nose.
Most nose bleeds can be stopped by applying pressure or pinching the lower half of the nose and maintaining the pressure for at least 5 minutes. This may not work in those who are anti-coagulated. Nose bleeds that do not stop spontaneously, can almost always be controlled in the office by cautery or packing. If you or your child is having recurrent nose bleeds, it is recommended that an intranasal examination be performed to try to locate the source of the bleeding. Once the location of the bleeding has been identified, the bleeding can be controlled on a permanent basis.