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 and other medicine (called blood thinners) that prevent blood clots.
    • 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 tumour) 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

Current as of: June 26, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
David Messenger, BSc, MD, FRCPC, FCCP - Emergency Medicine, Critical Care Medicine

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

Thanks to our partners and endorsers: