Frequent Nosebleeds

Topic Overview

Nosebleeds that recur often are commonly caused by bleeding from the front of the nose (anterior epistaxis). Common causes of this type of nosebleed are:

  • Blowing or picking the nose.
  • Structural problems in the nose, either present from birth (congenital) or caused by an injury.
  • Low humidity.
  • Minor health problems, such as colds or allergies.
  • Minor injuries to the nose.
  • Medicines. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • Aspirin, warfarin (such as Coumadin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), clopidogrel (Plavix), or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
    • Antihistamines, decongestants, and medicated nasal sprays that dry the tissue of the nose and sinuses.

Recurring nosebleeds can also be caused by:

  • Rupture of the blood vessels that are very close to the surface of the lining of the nose.
  • An abnormal growth (polyp or tumor) in the nose or sinuses.
  • Health conditions that affect normal blood clotting.
  • Abnormal blood vessels in the nose, such as with Osler-Weber-Rendu syndrome. This syndrome is passed in families (inherited). The abnormal blood vessels make it hard to control a nosebleed.

A nosebleed that recurs 4 times or more in a week needs medical evaluation to determine the seriousness of the problem. A nosebleed that recurs 2 to 3 times in a month may mean that a chronic condition such as allergies is causing the nosebleeds.

When nosebleeds cannot be controlled by home treatment, you need to see your doctor.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
David Messenger, MD
Last Revised March 25, 2013

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