Nosebleeds are common, and it is estimated that almost all people will experience one at least once in their life.

Because of this, it is important to understand the common causes and what to do if a nosebleed occurs. If nosebleeds do not cease with basic first aid, it is important to seek medical attention.

  • Those who experience this issue regularly should see their doctor.
  • This is important because there may be an underlying cause that can be treated to reduce nosebleed incidence.


A number of factors may cause someone to experience a nosebleed. Some of these are common while others are not often seen by doctors. The following may increase the risk of someone having a nosebleed:

  • The nasal passages are dry from factors such as the environment, weather, or nasal sprays
  • Trauma to the nose, ranging from blunt force to frequent nose picking
  • Septal abnormalities
  • Clotting or bleeding disorders
  • Chemotherapy medications
  • Kidney disease or liver disease, since both may impact blood clotting
  • Inflammation of the nose or nasal passages
  • High blood pressure
  • Medications that thin the blood
  • Severe malnutrition, especially when someone is deficient in vitamin K
  • Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia

First Aid

When a nosebleed occurs, it is important for the patient to remain calm and utilize the following steps:

  • Pinch both side of the cartilage area of the nose. Apply moderate pressure. Sit in a chair and keep the body upright, slowly leaning forward. Before pinching the nose, use a nasal spray if a doctor recommended one to you. This may help to stop or slow the bleeding by working to shrink the blood vessels.
  • Once the nose is pinched, continue to do this for approximately 10 to 20 minutes.
  • If these measures do not resolve the bleeding, seek help from a doctor.

Other Treatment Options

When nosebleeds are a frequent occurrence, patients may require additional diagnostic testing and treatment to determine the underlying cause and control them. When it happens often, it may result in anemia, especially in those already at risk for the condition and the elderly. It might also cause people to withdrawal from going out in fear of a nosebleed happening.

To determine exactly where the bleeding originates, doctors might recommend nasal endoscopy. This allows the doctor to insert a small tube into the nose and visualize the nasal passages. They may look for issues such as septal abnormalities, inflammation, or tumors.

In addition to first aid, some patients with recurrent nosebleeds may benefit from management options, such as cauterization, packing or moisturization. Some procedures may include a type of anesthesia to ensure that the patient remains comfortable. With the packing, there are options that are absorbable, so that patients do not have to undergo a second procedure to remove it.

When all other measures fail to produce results, sphenopalatine artery ligation is something a doctor may suggest. Using endoscopic visualization, this procedure works to reduce a portion of the blood supply to the bleeding areas. This is a minimally invasive procedure.