Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Epistaxis Overview

Another name for Epistaxis is Nosebleed.

What is a nosebleed?
A person with a nosebleed, or epistaxis, is bleeding from the nose. The most common cause of a nosebleed is irritation to the lining of the nose. Once the lining is irritated, cracked, or torn, the underlying blood vessels rupture and start to bleed. Nosebleeds are very common, and most cases resolve without treatment.

What are the symptoms of a nosebleed?
Most nosebleeds are painless. Symptoms that occur with a nosebleed may include nausea, dizziness, anxiety, sore throat, and vomiting blood. Additional symptoms of a nosebleed caused by an injury include facial bruise, facial pain, facial swelling, facial tenderness, deformed nose, and inability to breathe normally through the nose.

How does the doctor treat a nosebleed?
Most nosebleeds can be treated at home by pinching the nose firmly for 15 minutes while sitting upright. Drinking cold water can clear blood from the throat. A persistent nosebleed may require treatment with a nasal anesthetic, nasal decongestant, nasal packing, and nasal cautery. Treatment for a nosebleed caused by an injury may include wound care, wound cleansing, facial wound repair, cold compresses, narcotic pain medication, tetanus vaccine, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain. Some injuries may require surgery to realign a nasal bone fracture.

Continue to Epistaxis Risk Factors

Last Updated: Nov 10, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Epistaxis References
  1. Chopra R. Epistaxis: a review. J R Soc Health. 2000 Mar;120(1):31-3. [10918781]
  2. Leong SC, Roe RJ, Karkanevatos A. No frills management of epistaxis. Emerg Med J. 2005 Jul;22(7):470-2. [15983079]
  3. Pollice PA, Yoder MG. Epistaxis: a retrospective review of hospitalized patients. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1997 Jul;117(1):49-53. [9230322]
  4. Pope LE, Hobbs CG. Epistaxis: an update on current management. Postgrad Med J. 2005 May;81(955):309-14. [15879044]
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