Upward of 60 million Americans experience a nosebleed each year, and not because of clumsiness or someone’s mean right hook. Rather, many of these seemingly instantaneous nosebleeds have no immediately discernable cause. Here are five possibilities:
- Dry air: Winter is soon upon us, and with it many hours cozied upon the couch enjoying the warmth of your indoor heater. Trouble is, artificial heat can sap the moisture out of the air in an enclosed space and that can cause your nasal lining to dry out, leaving it highly susceptible to cracking and bleeding. Using a high quality humidifier inside can help keep this type of nosebleed at a minimum.
- Use of certain medications: Blood clotting is a necessary step in stopping or preventing a nose bleed. So use of any anticoagulant (blood-thinning) or anti-inflammatory medication can contribute to a nosebleed or hinder its being stopped. Common culprits are prescription medications like warfarin or clopidogrel, as well as over-the-counter drugs like aspirin, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDS) and any medication prescribed to treat irregular heartbeats or the effects of stroke or heart attack.
- Underlying health conditions: While they may seem harmless, some nosebleeds can be an indication of potentially serious underlying health conditions. These may include liver disease, kidney disease or heart conditions like hypertension (high blood pressure) and congestive heart failure.
- Drug and alcohol use: Chronic consumption of alcohol or certain illicit drugs such as cocaine can lower the blood’s ability to clot and cause frequent nosebleeds.
- Deviated septum: The nasal septum is the wall that separates your right and left nasal cavities. Normally, it’s perfectly straight. But when it’s deviated (leans to one side) air that enters the nose hits the septum where it curves. This causes the lining of the septum to dry, crack and bleed frequently.
An occasional nosebleed typically is nothing to worry about. However, if you or your child experience multiple nosebleeds in a week, or a nosebleed that lasts more than a few minutes or won’t stop with direct pressure, it’s highly recommended that you seek medical treatment. Call 904-461-6060 to schedule a consultation at St. Augustine Ear, Nose and Throat’s St. Augustine or Ponte Vedra locations.