Causes and Treatments of Epistaxis

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Epistaxis is a medical condition characterized with nose bleeding. It is expected everyone will experience this condition at one point in one’s life times as a result of the high concentration of blood vessels in the nasal area and the strategic location of the nose in the middle of the human face. While the condition is not generally a course of concern, it could be fatal in very rare case.

Types

There are basically two types of nosebleeds namely: anterior or posterior.
Anterior nosebleed emanates from the lower nasal septum which houses several delicate blood vessels that receive blood from the two main arteries in the front of the neck that supply blood to the head and neck. Any knock on these vessels can result in nosebleed. It is common among children.

On the other hand, posterior nosebleed emanates from the back and moved up to the nasal area where artery branches provide blood to the nose. this is common among adults.

 
Causes
The causes of nosebleeds depend on the type:
For anterior nosebleeds, the common causes are:
Excessive hard nose blow
Cold or flu as a result of viral infection
Nasal injury due to fingernails used in picking the inside of the nose
Inflammation of the sinuses
Mucous membrane blood vessels damaged by knock
Nasal allergies
Climatic changes
Prolong use of anticoagulants
Excessive use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Liver problems
Use of illegal drugs such as cocaine
On the other hand, the following are the causes of posterior nosebleed:
Calcium deficiency
Hypertension
Nasal surgery
Leukemia
Exposure to chemicals that irritate the mucous membrane

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Predisposing factors
The under-listed are the risk factors for having nosebleeds:
Family history of bleeding disorder
Infection
Minor injuries such as picking the nose
High blood pressure
Alcohol abuse
Engaging in certain sporting activities like martial arts, boxing, football and rugby

 
Symptoms
The primary symptom of a nosebleed is blood gushing out of the nose ranging from low to heavy flow.
However, when there is severe bleeding involving irregular heartbeat, breathing difficulty, heavy flow of blood and paling requires prompt medical attention.

 
Treatments

Breathing through the mouth
Lean forward to avert blood from draining into the sinuses and throat which can result in inhaling the blood
Elevate the head above the heart to reduce blood pressure and consequently arrests further bleeding.
Sustained pressure on the nose by leaning forward every 5 to 20 minutes
Place ice pack on the nose to prevent inflammation
Use of appropriate medications to treat underlying problems like hypertension, nasal fracture and anemia
Nasal packing involving the use of stuffing ribbon gauze to pressurize the source of the bleed.
Sealing off the bleeding source
Septal surgical procedure to straighten a crooked septum
Ligation surgical procedure involving tying the ends of the identified blood vessels causing the bleeding

 
Prevention
Desist from nose picking
Using lubricating ointment such as petroleum jelly inside the nose
Desist from excessive hard blowing of the nose
Desist from strenuous activity for at least a week following previous nosebleed



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