Your respiratory system is essential for breathing, and the process of taking in air starts with your nose. While you do take in air from both your mouth and your nose, your mouth has several functions (such as eating and speaking), but your nose filters debris while warming and moistening the air you take in as well as allowing you to smell things.
Various symptoms can affect your nose that are connected to viruses or bacteria, like stuffy noses, runny noses. But nosebleeds, also known as epistaxis, can happen for many reasons ranging from injuries to other illnesses. About 60% of people have experienced a nosebleed in their lives, and while most are generally harmless, having nosebleeds all the time can seem frightening to people because they think there may be a more serious problem. Are frequent nosebleeds harmless, and what can cause them? To look into this, let’s explore what kind of nosebleeds there are, what often causes them, and what frequent nosebleeds may indicate.
Patients living in the area of Lake Oswego, Oregon, dealing with nosebleeds and other nasal conditions can get help from the extensive team of doctors and the experienced medical team at Lake Grove ENT.
Epistaxis is identified by the location of the bleed which is broken down to two different types:
This starts in the front of the nose in the septum, the lower part of the wall separating the nasal passages. The blood vessels and capillaries located here are fairly fragile and can be made to bleed easily.
This happens deeper in the nose, and is caused by larger blood vessels breaking near the throat This can lead to heavy bleeding that can leak into your nasopharynx, the space between your nasal passages and your throat.
Anterior nosebleeds are more common in children aged 2-10, and the posterior variety is more common in adults ages 45-65. Posterior bleeds may require immediate medical attention if it is bad enough.
In most cases, the walls inside your nose are often dried out or weaker in some way, making a bleed easier. There are a multitude of causes for nosebleeds, including:
Conditions, such as bleeding disorders, hypertension, leukemia, nasal polyps, and tumors, can also cause epistaxis, along with lifestyle choices like drugs inhaled through the nose as well as alcohol use.
Frequent bleeding is generally not serious, but some underlying conditions can be potentially dangerous if not treated. Among the reasons previously listed, frequent use of things like nasal sprays or other sinus medications, dry or cold air, and drug abuse are common reasons for frequent nosebleeds. These are generally not serious and can be treated with changes to the amount of medications used, use of a humidifier, or stopping the drug abuse to control bleeding.
Far less common but serious conditions that can cause frequent bleeds in your nose include blood disorders (hemophilia, leukemia, von Willebrand disease, thrombocytopenia) and nasal tumors.
Nosebleeds are not a serious problem most of the time, but if you have them a lot and you’re dealing with a lot of blood loss or the bleeds last for a long time, get medical attention as soon as possible. And of course if you need treatment for nosebleeds, make an appointment with the doctors at Lake Grove ENT today.