The lining of your nose contains many tiny blood vessels that lie close to the surface and are easily damaged.
The two most common causes of nosebleeds are:
- Dry air — when your nasal membranes dry out, they're more susceptible to bleeding and infections
- Nose picking
Other causes of nosebleeds include:
- Acute sinusitis
- Aspirin use
- Blood thinners (anticoagulants), such as warfarin and heparin
- Chemical irritants, such as ammonia
- Chronic sinusitis
- Cocaine use
- Common cold
- Deviated septum
- Foreign body in the nose
- Nasal sprays, such as those used to treat allergies, if used frequently
- Nonallergic rhinitis
- Trauma to the nose
Less common causes of nosebleeds include:
- Alcohol use
- Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia
- Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP)
- Nasal polyps
- Nasal surgery
- Nasal tumor
Studies haven't confirmed an association between high blood pressure and nosebleeds. Some specialists suggest that high blood pressure may prolong bleeding if you have a nosebleed.
Aug. 10, 2012
Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.
- Flint PW, et al. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05283-2..X0001-8--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05283-2&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed May 15, 2012.
- Alter H. Approach to the adult with epistaxis. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed May 15, 2012.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2012:5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05611-3..C2009-0-38601-8--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05611-3&uniqId=291436269-101. Accessed May 15, 2012.
- Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05472-0..X0001-1--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05472-0&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed May 15, 2012.
- Nosebleeds. American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/Nosebleeds.cfm. Accessed May 14, 2012.
- Nosebleeds. American College of Emergency Physicians. http://www.emergencycareforyou.org/EmergencyManual/WhatToDoInMedicalEmergency/Default.aspx?id=260&terms=nosebleeds. Accessed May 14, 2012.