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Nosebleeds (epistaxis) are where blood flows out of one or both nostrils. They're common and can be mild or severe, lasting from a few seconds to more than ten minutes.
Nosebleeds (epistaxis) are common and usually easily treated. During nosebleeds, blood flows out of one or both nostrils. They can be mild or severe, lasting from a few seconds to ten minutes or more.
Frequent nosebleeds, or excessive bleeding over a long period, can lead to anaemia which affects the ability of the blood to carry oxygen. Older people or those with other medical conditions such as blood disorders or those on blood-thinning medication are particularly vulnerable.
Severe nosebleeds may be indicative of a more serious health problem, such as high blood pressure, abnormal blood vessels in the nose, nasal polyps or growths or conditions that affect blood clotting.
If you experience recurrent or heavy nosebleeds you should seek advice from your GP, who can refer you to one of our Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialists.
Recurrent nosebleeds may be caused by:
The current advice for stopping nosebleeds is to firmly pinch the soft part of your nose, just above your nostrils. This should help ease the bleeding within 10-15 minutes.
Leaning forward and breathing through your mouth helps drain the blood out of your nose rather than down your throat.
Your GP or ENT Consultant will need to ask about your symptoms and examine you to find out the cause of your nosebleeds. This may involve looking inside your nose, possibly with an endoscope (a flexible instrument with a small camera at the end), measuring your blood pressure and carrying out blood tests.
Treatment for recurrent nosebleeds includes cauterising (sealing by chemical or heat application) the area that bleeds or in extreme cases, ligation (tying off) of the blood vessels that cause the bleed.
If you suffer from nosebleeds (epistaxis), when bleeding is more severe or recurrent, especially in older people or those with other medical conditions (such as blood disorders) or on blood-thinning medication, treatment may be required.
Depending on the cause of your recurrent nosebleeds, your Consultant will use different techniques during nose bleeding treatment. The main treatment for frequent nosebleeds is cauterising (sealing by chemical or heat application) the area that bleeds or in extreme cases, ligation (tying off) of the blood vessels that cause the bleed.
This can usually be carried out under a local anaesthetic which numbs the area, minimising any pain you might experience with the procedure.
You’ll usually be able to go home on the same day as your operation. Before you go home we’ll check that there is no bleeding from your nose and we’ll discuss follow-up visits and any medication with you before you leave hospital.