What Can Cause Nosebleeds?

Nosebleeds, also known as epistaxis, can be caused by a variety of factors, ranging from benign to more serious conditions. Some common causes of nosebleeds include:

  • Dry Air: One of the most common causes of nosebleeds is dry air, especially in the winter when indoor heating systems can reduce humidity. Dry nasal passages are more prone to irritation and bleeding.
  • Nose Picking: Frequent or aggressive nose picking can damage the delicate blood vessels inside the nose, leading to bleeding.
  • Nasal Trauma: Any form of injury to the nose, whether it’s a blow to the face, a sports injury, or a car accident, can result in a nosebleed.
  • Irritation: Irritation of the nasal passages due to allergens, pollutants, or exposure to harsh chemicals can lead to nosebleeds.
  • Infections: Infections, such as sinusitis or the common cold, can cause inflammation and irritation of the nasal passages, increasing the risk of nosebleeds.
  • Nasal Sprays: Overuse of nasal decongestant sprays, which constrict blood vessels in the nasal passages, can lead to a condition known as rhinitis medicamentosa, causing frequent nosebleeds.
  • Underlying Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as bleeding disorders (e.g., hemophilia), hypertension (high blood pressure), and liver disease, can make an individual more susceptible to nosebleeds.
  • Medications: Some medications, like blood thinners (anticoagulants) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can increase the likelihood of bleeding, including nosebleeds.
  • Nasal Polyps: Noncancerous growths in the nasal passages can cause irritation and bleeding.
  • Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT): HHT is a genetic disorder that affects blood vessels, leading to abnormalities in the small blood vessels in the nose and other areas, resulting in recurrent nosebleeds.
  • Environmental Factors: High-altitude environments or changes in air pressure can sometimes contribute to nosebleeds.
  • Foreign Bodies: The presence of a foreign object in the nose can cause irritation and bleeding. This is more common in children.
  • Tumors: In rare cases, tumors or cancerous growths in the nasal passages can lead to nosebleeds.

If you or someone else experiences recurrent or severe nosebleeds, it’s important to seek medical attention, especially if the nosebleeds are associated with other concerning symptoms or underlying health conditions. While most nosebleeds are not serious and can be managed with home care, a healthcare provider can help identify the cause and provide appropriate treatment, if necessary. In some cases, cauterization or other medical procedures may be required to address chronic or severe nosebleeds.