Read below about bloody nose, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your bloody nose from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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Bloody Nose Symptoms

Even though a bloody nose can be unnerving, most of the time, this condition is not serious. The cause of a bloody nose will usually be quite evident because bleeding will occur following an injury, nasal surgery, or a lengthy cold that has caused very irritated nasal passages.

The nose has an extensive supply of thin, delicate blood vessels needed predominantly for the sense of smell. This also leaves the nose — already front and center and unprotected on the face — somewhat vulnerable to injury, illness, and medication use (or misuse.) A nosebleed is also called epistaxis.

Characteristics:

  • A trickle of red blood may appear from one or both nostrils following a mild injury, or after a period of time spent blowing the nose due to a cold.
  • A heavier gush of red blood may appear from one or both nostrils following a more severe injury, or after nasal surgery or with blood clotting problems (bleeding disorders).

Is a bloody nose serious?

  • Most of the time, a bloody nose is not serious and will stop quickly. Note: High blood pressure is rarely, if ever, involved in causing or prolonging a bloody nose.
  • A persistent nosebleed following nasal surgery or injury should be examined by a medical provider.
  • Nosebleeds that occur for no apparent reason and become more frequent over time should be treated by a medical provider as soon as possible.

Bloody Nose Causes Overview

There are several different causes of bloody nose listed in approximate order from most to least common.

Things which do physical damage to the nasal passages:

  • Dry air, which dries the passages and makes them thinner and more prone to bleeding.
  • Picking and blowing the nose, which causes irritation that can be severe.
  • Irritating fumes from chemicals.
  • Overuse of nasal sprays, as these can be very drying.
  • Cocaine use, which is extremely damaging to the lining of the nasal passages.

Conditions which cause irritation and inflammation of the nasal passages:

These things also cause frequent nose blowing, which causes further irritation.

  • Allergies, most often to dust, pollen, and other inhaled irritants.
  • The common cold.
  • Sinusitis, either viral or bacterial.
  • Chronic rhinitis, which is ongoing congestion and other cold-like symptoms not due to allergies.

Trauma or deformity of the nose:

  • Injury from any sort of accident, fall, or sport.
  • Foreign body. Young children may push small objects up their noses, which become lodged and cause chronic pain and bleeding.
  • Deviated septum. This means that the "wall" of cartilage dividing the left nostril from the right is crooked and possibly misshapen. The abnormal airflow is very drying and leads to bleeding of the nasal tissue.
  • Nasal surgery, which may have created spots of incomplete healing that continue to bleed.

Bleeding disorders:

  • "Thin" blood that does not clot right away due to prescribed blood thinners such as Coumadin or, sometimes, aspirin.
  • Low levels of platelets in the blood, which may follow a viral infection.
  • Hereditary malformations of the blood vessels.

Abnormal growths within the nose:

  • Nasal polyps or tumors.
  • Cancer of the blood-forming tissues anywhere in the body, which may have nosebleeds as a symptom.

Pregnancy:

  • The body increases in vascularity — in the amount of blood vessels it carries — during pregnancy, as these vessels are sometimes more vulnerable to minor bleeding.

Drinking alcohol:

  • Regular consumption of alcohol can have a blood-thinning effect, especially if you are already taking a prescribed blood thinner or taking aspirin.

A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Bloody Nose

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced bloody nose. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Normal Nosebleed (Epistaxis)

    A bloody nose can be caused by a host of things, but is often idiopathic (without cause).

    1 day

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    bloody nose, vomiting with streaks of blood
    Symptoms that always occur with normal nosebleed (epistaxis):
    bloody nose
    Symptoms that never occur with normal nosebleed (epistaxis):
    severe nosebleed, nausea or vomiting
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  2. 2.Nosebleed Requiring Treatment

    Nosebleeds are a common disorder that many (60%) will experience. It can be caused by a number of things that rupture the blood vessels in the nose such as: dry air, picking your nose, getting hit in the nose, or even just getting older

    Nosebleeds universally get better after treatment

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    severe nosebleed
    Symptoms that always occur with nosebleed requiring treatment:
    severe nosebleed
    Urgency:
    In-person visit
  3. 3.Iatrogenic Nose Condition

    Surgery of the nose or nose piercing can result in side effects ranging from infection, pain and swelling to numbness and decreased sense of smell.

    Depending on type of complication

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    nose pain, bloody nose, bump in or on the nose, nose redness, swollen nose
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit

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  4. 4.Immune Thrombocytopenia

    Platelets are tiny cells in the blood that help form blood clots and seal minor cuts and wounds. Immune thrombocytopenia, also known as immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), is a condition where there are not enough platelets in the blood, causing easy bruising and tiny reddish purple dots on the skin from bleeding under the surface.

    This is a complex condition that requires consultation from a doctor to determine its course.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    being severely ill, rectal bleeding, red stool, unexplained/excessive bleeding from cuts or wounds, unexplained bruising
    Symptoms that always occur with immune thrombocytopenia:
    being severely ill
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Chronic Allergies

    Allergies are an overreaction by the immune system to something that does not bother most other people. Many people who have allergies are sensitive to pollen, but other things such as dust mites, animal dander, cockroaches, and mold can also cause a reaction.

    Seasonal

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, irritability, trouble sleeping, runny nose, congestion
    Symptoms that never occur with chronic allergies:
    fever, yellow-green runny nose, chills, muscle aches
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  6. 6.Broken Nose

    Nasal fractures are common occurrences. The force needed to break the nasal bones is less than any of the other bones of the face because of their thinness and position. For kids, treatment and diagnosis is different because of the bones may not be fully formed.

    With treatment, return to normal breathing and looks is highly likely.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    mouth breathing, constant nose pain, swollen nose, nose pain caused by trauma, nose bruise
    Symptoms that always occur with broken nose:
    nose pain caused by trauma, swollen nose, constant nose pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room

Bloody Nose Treatments and Relief

Seek immediate bloody nose treatment in the emergency room or call 911 if:

  • The bleeding is heavy and will not stop, whether or not there is also an injury.

Schedule an appointment for:

  • Frequent nosebleeds that occur for no apparent reason.
  • Small, bright red spots that appear within the skin of the face, lips, or hands.

Bloody nose remedies that you can try at home:

  • For mild congestion, try using a salt-water spray instead of a nasal decongestant spray.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Bloody Nose

  • Q.Did your nose start bleeding after being hit in the nose?
  • Q.Have you experienced any nausea?
  • Q.Do you have any issues with bruising?
  • Q.Do you have an object stuck in your nose?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our bloody nose symptom checker to find out more.

Bloody Nose Quiz

Bloody Nose Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced bloody nose have also experienced:

    • 7% Headache
    • 4% Fatigue
    • 3% Congestion
  • People who have experienced bloody nose had symptoms persist for:

    • 56% Less Than a Day
    • 17% Less Than a Week
    • 14% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced bloody nose were most often matched with:

    • 62% Nosebleed Requiring Treatment
    • 25% Iatrogenic Nose Condition
    • 12% Normal Nosebleed (Epistaxis)
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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