Why Is There Blood When I Blow My Nose
A nosebleed simply refers to bleeding from the nose. The experience may seem scary but it often does not indicate a serious condition. Nosebleeds can be a common occurrence given the location of the nose on the face. Also, there are a large number of blood vessels found inside the nose which are very fragile.
The bleeding can be profuse, or a minor complication. There can be many reasons why this happens. For example, if you experience blood when you blow your nose, it could be due to inflammation or irritation. Another possible cause is air pollution or maybe you are just coming down with something.
For the most part, nosebleeds are categorized based on where they originate. If the nosebleed originates from a blood vessel in the front of the nose, it is called an anterior nosebleed. This type of nosebleed is easier to stop at home and usually does not need medical intervention.
But if the nosebleed happens in a blood vessel located at the back of the nose, it is called a posterior nosebleed. This type of nosebleed is not that common and often happens in elderly people. Posterior nosebleeds are more complicated than anterior ones and may require a person to be admitted to a hospital for treatment.
In most cases, minor bleeding from the nose is not a cause for alarm. This is especially true if you are otherwise healthy. So, why then are you experiencing blood when blowing your nose? Here is a look at some of the most common reasons:
Wear And Tear inside the Nose
The nose is a sensitive area which is filled with tiny blood vessels and capillaries. If too much pressure is applied to this fragile area, it can result in some capillary wear and tear, damaging the blood vessels.
If you experience blood when you blow your nose, it could be a possible sign of damaged blood vessels. Even something as simple as picking your nose where a sharp nail scrapes the delicate skin can cause your nose to bleed slightly. The same can also happen if you blow your nose too hard repeatedly.
The pressure of blowing your nose and any ruptured blood vessel inside can cause blood to come out from the nose.
Changes in Humidity or Temperature
Sometimes a change in temperature or humidity levels can lead to a bleeding nose. Excessively high temperatures in the summer with a lack of humidity can cause nasal blood vessels to become dry and possibly crack. This can cause you to see some red spots or blood when you blow your nose.
You may also find that blood from the nose becomes more common in the winter months. During winter, the air is generally dry and indoor heating can make it drier. This can cause your nasal blood vessels to become dry as well.
Plus, the change from a cold, dry outside environment to a warm, dry inside setting can dry the nose fairly fast.
High altitude can also have the same effect.
If you suffer from congestion, specifically chronic congestion, you may also notice some blood when you blow your nose. In this case, nosebleeds can be quite common because the inner tissue linings of the nose become inflamed.
Even though congestion is not a cause for concern, the condition can be quite uncomfortable. You can try using some over-the-counter medications to seek relief and prevent blood from coming out when you blow your nose.
Allergies can also cause you to experience blood when you blow your nose. It is responsible for many distressing conditions like nasal congestion, drying of soft tissue and runny noses.
In fact, allergies are a rather common cause of nose bleeds, with or without blowing your nose. Typically over-the-counter antihistamines can eliminate the problem.
High Blood Pressure
When more pressure gets pushed through blood vessels in the nose, it can cause some damage, and even rupture. If you suffer from high blood pressure and experience blood when you blow your nose, you are not alone. Many people with high blood pressure also experience the same. Plus, the bleeding seems to last longer than other incidents of nosebleeds.
Upper Respiratory Infections
The incidence of blood when you blow your nose may also rise when you suffer from a respiratory infection. Conditions like acute bronchitis or tuberculosis can sometimes trigger nose bleeds.
Nasal fractures are very common. While most fractures are simple and do not need an X-ray, others can cause distressing symptoms. Nasal fractures can cause a lot of swelling around the nose area and it may take a few days for the swelling to go down. Depending on the nature and severity of the injury, you may experience some nasal bleeding.
Alcohol and Substance Abuse
High alcohol consumption can make you expel blood when you blow your nose. Alcohol consumption is also linked to hypertension and dehydration, both of which can be contributory factors in nosebleeds.
Alcohol consumption lowers the body’s ability to clot blood. This habit also reduces the activity of platelets, which are responsible for forming blood clots. At the same time, it dilates the capillaries as well. As a result even minor damage to blood vessel and capillaries becomes more severe.
Likewise, the use of hard drugs can also make you notice blood when you blow your nose. This can become rather common where drugs alike cocaine are concerned. These drugs are inhaled through the nose. Such forced inhalation can cause severe irritation in the nasal passages and trigger frequent nosebleeds.
Blowing the Nose Too Hard
And if none of the above reasons apply, then maybe you just blow your nose too hard. Frequent blowing of the nose will definitely irritate the nasal passages by sheer force. This action not only dislodges the mucus inside but can also damage the surrounding blood vessels.
So when you have to, try and blow your nose gently.
Use of Certain Medications
Sometimes nosebleeds may happen if a person uses blood thinning medication. Taking anti-coagulant medication can have an impact on the nasal capillaries and blood vessels In this case, if the nose receives an injury or trauma and starts to bleed, it may become difficult to stop. . That is why patients who take anti-coagulant medication are advised to not blow their noses too hard.
Likewise topical nasal medications such as antihistamines or corticosteroids may also lead to nosebleeds.
What Are The Symptoms Of Nosebleeds?
Bleeding from the nose usually occurs from one nostril only. If it is severe enough, the blood can fill up the affected nostril and bleed out. Or if it is deep enough it may drip into the back of the throat.
If you experience bleeding from the nose when you are asleep, you may feel something in the back of your throat. This symptom can occur if you are lying down.
How to Prevent Nose Bleeds?
There are some true and tried ways in which you can stop you nose from bleeding at home. If you experience blood when you blow your nose, try the following tips:
Use an Ice Pack
Placing an ice pack or bag of frozen vegetables on the bridge of the nose can help. The cooling sensation from this cold compress helps shrink the capillaries and slow down the flow of blood.
If you are prone to nosebleeds, you can trying preventing them by drinking lots of fluids. Staying hydrated will work well for keeping your nasal passages lubricated as well. Proper lubrication will make nasal blood vessels less susceptible to cracking and bleeding.
Lubricate Your Nose
If you feel that the air indoors has become too dry, try using an ointment to keep your nose moist. Since dryness can bring about nose bleeds, you can lubricate your nose by smearing a thin layer of petroleum jelly. Or you could use an ointment like Polysporin or Bacitracin.
You can also do the same by using a saline nasal product. Spray it inside the nostril to keep your nose moist.
Alternately, you can breathe in moist air such as from a shower. Follow with an application of a saline or water based nasal gel.
Humidify Your Home
Your nose may also become dry if the indoor air is too dry. This can result in experiencing blood when you blow your nose.
Low levels of humidity often coincide with more frequent nosebleeds. You may spend a considerable time indoors during the day and you certainly sleep in your bedroom at night. That is why your home needs to be humidified properly.
You can have a whole house humidifier installed or put in portable humidifiers in different rooms. Take special care to humidify your bedroom so that you can sleep easy at night.
Do Not Smoke
Smoking can also irritate the inside of your nose and dry it out.
Don’t Overuse Allergy or Cold Medication
These medications can also dry out your nose. Try to limit the use of such products if you experience frequent nosebleeds. Certain medications can actually trigger nosebleeds and make them worse.
Nasal decongestants do help clear you nasal passages but also dry out the nose.
How To Self-Treat Nosebleeds At Home?
A small amount of blood when you blow your nose does not need a lot of intervention. For example, if you have a cold or a sinus infection, and blow your nose too hard, you may notice some blood.
This is nothing to worry about and you should remain calm. Simply sit up straight and lean forward a little. Then lean your head forward and pinch nostrils. Apply pressure to nostrils and hold for about 10 minutes.
This procedure, when done correctly, should stop most minor nosebleeds.
Once the nosebleed stops, try to prevent further irritation to the nose. Do not strain the nose by blowing on it too hard for the next 24 hours.
Use nasal saline sprays or other lubricating products to boost tissue healing and keep your nasal passages moist.
How Are Nosebleeds Diagnosed?
To diagnose the cause for your nosebleed, you doctor will put medication into the nostrils to numb the area. This will also help in shrinking nasal blood vessels.
Once the inside of the nose has been numbed and the blood vessels constricted, the doctor will insert a metallic instrument called a nasal speculum. This is a tool to visualize the inside of the nose. While the cause of anterior nosebleeds can be identified by this method, it is more difficult with posterior nosebleeds.
If the cause of the nosebleed can be identified, the doctor may seal the blood vessel with a chemical. Such chemical cauterization is most effective when visible bleeding occurs at the front of the nose.
For more complicated cases, the doctor may apply a nasal packing to boost clotting and curb the bleeding. The packing needs to be removed by a medical professional and should not be taken out at home.
Can Bleeding From The Nose Cause Complications?
Most cases of bleeding from the nose are not serious, but that can change if the bleeding occurs in the posterior part of the nose. The same can also cause complications if nosebleeds happen to older people.
Many older people may have health issues that make it difficult for the blood to clot quickly. This can result in losing a lot of blood.
When to See a Doctor?
While experiencing blood when you blow your nose is most often not a cause for alarm, you should contact a medical practitioner in the following cases:
- Experience repeated episodes of nosebleeds.
- Spot blood in the urine or stool.
- Take anti-coagulant medications.
- Suffer from any condition that can affect the ability to clot blood. This can include kidney disease or liver disease.
- Your nose does not stop bleeding after pinching it for 10- 20 minutes.
- Experience difficulty breathing or have a rapid heartbeat.