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What is Epistaxis?

Epistaxis or nose bleeding is acute hemorrhage occurring in your nasal cavity. It is a noticeable medical condition when the blood drains out of your nostril.

Nosebleed rarely is the cause of death. Only 10% of cases have been reported to be fatal.
Based on the site of origin, you can classify it into anterior and posterior nose bleeding or epistaxis.

The anterior nose bleeding is the most common type. The posterior type of nose bleeding is less common and requires medical attention.

Usually, nose bleeds from one nostril. In case you suffer from heavy bleeding, you will notice bleeding from both nostrils. In rare cases, epistaxis can be accompanied by nausea or vomiting, when the blood drips down your stomach and comes out through the throat.

Though excessive bleeding is not a common finding, if at all your nose bleeds excessively, you might notice the following symptoms:

  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Confusion
  • Loss of alertness
  • Light-headedness
  • Bleeding from teeth, gums, nostrils, etc.

Additional bleeding from other parts of the body such as bleeding gums when brushing teeth, blood in urine or bowel movements, or easy bruising is indicative of an inability of the blood to clot.

Epistaxis can happen if you are suffering from any of the following disorder, condition or disease:

  • Hemorrhage
  • Structural or anatomical deformities
  • Nasal sprays and prolonged usage of nasal steroids
  • Middle ear barotraumas due to the sudden change of pressure
  • Surgery such as functional endoscopic sinus surgery
  • Exposure to warm, dry air for prolonged periods of time
  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Deviated or perforated nasal septum
  • Cocaine use
  • Infectious disease (cold) or high blood pressure
  • Connective tissue disease
  • Leukemia
  • Certain drugs like aspirin, warfarin, isotretinoin, etc
  • Pregnancy (due to hypertension and hormonal changes)
  • Vascular disorders
  • Vitamin C and vitamin K deficiency

Your doctor will diagnose epistaxis by taking a thorough personal and family medical history. He/ she will look up your nose. The doctor will take a blood pressure reading to check if you have hypertension leading to epistaxis.

The doctor might perform a variety of other tests to help to diagnose potential underlying diseases, conditions or disorders, such as allergic rhinitis, skull fracture, or cocaine use. The various tests include drug testing, blood tests, allergy skin testing, and imaging tests, such as X-ray, CT scan, nuclear scans, and MRI.

Your doctor will pinch the nose shut or use a nose clip to hold it closed until the bleeding stops. Ice application may be advised. Treatment of epistaxis also involves diagnosing and treating the underlying disease, disorder or condition that is causing it.

If you notice epistaxis, visit CMC for proper diagnosis and treatment under the hands of experts.