Epistaxis is the medical term for a nosebleed – something you have probably experienced before.
But what causes nosebleeds, and how can you get rid of them? Read on to learn more, and then take the quiz to test your new knowledge.
What is Epistaxis?
Have you ever suffered from epistaxis? It sounds serious, so you might not be sure. Epistaxis is the medical term for nosebleeds, so there’s a good chance you’ve experienced one at some point in time. Why do nosebleeds occur? Keep watching and we’ll look at causes and treatments.
Causes of Epistaxis
The nose’s job is to warm and moisten the air we breathe. Sometimes, when the air around us is very dry and cold, the nose has to work overtime and can get irritated. Your nose is lined with a bunch of tiny blood vessels that are just under the surface. It doesn’t take much force to break through the thin layer of skin to the vessel and cause a nosebleed. Although not exhaustive, the following conditions can cause nosebleeds:
- Excessive nose blowing or picking
- Injury to the nose or face
- Dry, warm air, commonly found indoors during the winter
- Inserting foreign objects into the nose
- High blood pressure
- Deviated septum
- Facial or nasal surgery
- Bleeding disorders
- Use of certain medications or drugs
Most nosebleeds can be treated at home and don’t require professional medical help. If you get a nosebleed, the first thing you should do is relax, take a seat, and lean slightly forward.
Although some of us may have been taught to tilt our heads back when we have a nosebleed, all this does is cause blood to pool in your throat. If you lean slightly forward, it will reduce the amount of blood that makes it to your throat.As you’re leaning forward, try to breathe through your mouth as much as possible, and hold a tissue or damp washcloth to your nose until the bleeding stops.
Pinch the soft part of your nose gently for approximately five minutes, and once it stops, avoid bending over or blowing, rubbing, or picking your nose for a few days.
Some nosebleeds could indicate a more serious problem. If the bleeds persist longer than 20 minutes or the bleeding is heavy and rapid, you may need to seek medical help.
A doctor can perform a number of treatment options for more serious or chronic problems, including cauterization, which is the use of a chemical to seal the ‘leaky’ blood vessel. Nasal packing, where gauze is placed in the nasal cavity, adjusting medications, and performing surgery to correct a deviated septum are some other methods doctors use to treat serious nosebleeds.
Some nosebleeds can be prevented by using a saline nasal spray or adding a humidifier to your home or work space to keep the air moist.
You could also try sneezing with your mouth open, limiting medications that could induce nosebleeds, and avoiding smoking. However, as with any medical condition, it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor.
In this lesson we learned that many of us have probably suffered from epistaxis, which is the medical term for a nosebleed, at some point in our lives.
Sometimes the air is just too dry and cold for our noses, and the thin skin rubs away, rupturing a blood vessel. Several things can cause nosebleeds, ranging from the aforementioned dry air, to facial injury, to medication or drug usage, to tumors. Getting a nosebleed is rarely a big problem. Most nosebleeds are treatable at home, usually by relaxing, sitting down and leaning forward (not backward or tipping your head back like you’ve seen in the movies, since that causes blood pooling in your throat). Pinching the soft part of your nose is also advised, but only for five minutes.
Unfortunately, ongoing or chronic bleeding may be cause to see a doctor, who might recommend several different treatments, including nasal packing, cauterization, which is the use of a chemical to seal the leaky blood vessel, or even surgery.