Can Strep Throat Cause Nosebleeds?
Can Strep Throat Cause Nosebleeds?
Strep throat can cause an itchy and irritated throat, but if it's left untreated, it could lead to more serious symptoms and even life-threatening conditions.
But are nosebleeds anything to do with this? Can strep throat cause nosebleeds or can it cause other conditions that trigger nosebleeds?
Let's take a look.
What is Strep Throat?
Strep throat is an infection caused by a bacteria known as group A Streptococcus or simply "group A strep".
These bacteria live in the nose and throat and spread through coughs and sneezes. You can contract strep throat from someone if you inhale their respiratory droplets, touch something that they have touched, or drink from the same glass.
What are the Symptoms of Strep Throat?
Although a strep infection is typically mild and not life-threatening, it can be painful and uncomfortable, causing symptoms such as:
- Pain when swallowing
- Sore throat
- Problems breathing
- Body aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Red and swollen tonsils
A cough is rarely present with strep throat. If a cough is present in addition to a sore throat, aches, nausea, fever, and other symptoms, it could indicate the presence of a viral infection.
Does Strep Throat Affect The Nose?
Coughs aren't the only cold symptom not associated with a strep infection. It also doesn't cause a runny nose and it's rare to trigger the sort of nasal irritation and dripping that you often get with the cold, flu, and COVID-19.
The symptoms are typically confined to the throat and mouth, but there are exceptions, including the symptoms that develop as a result of rheumatic fever.
Rheumatic fever occurs after a streptococcus bacterial infection, which includes strep throat, as well as scarlet fever.
With rheumatic fever, your immune system begins to attack healthy tissue. It can affect your joints, skin, brain, and heart, producing symptoms such as:
- Joint pain
- Joint swelling
- Skin rashes
- Small bumps underneath the skin
- Sore throat
Rheumatic fever can also cause nosebleeds. In fact, it's one of the most common symptoms associated with this infection.
If you suspect that you have strep throat or scarlet fever, contact your doctor and they will ensure you get the care that you need, preventing rheumatic fever from developing.
If you have been through one of these infections without seeing your doctor or getting adequate treatment, and you start to notice rheumatic fever symptoms (these typically occur a couple of weeks later), seek medical advice as soon as possible.
Can Throat Infections Cause Nosebleeds?
Throat infections like tonsillitis and strep throat rarely cause nosebleeds directly, but they could have an indirect effect.
For instance, in the presence of tonsillitis, a patient may suffer from sinus irritation and dryness. This could cause the nasal membranes to become dry and cracked, at which point a nosebleed may occur.
Generally speaking, any time that your nose is exposed to irritation, dryness, and direct damage (from picking, blowing, trauma, and the introduction of foreign objects), there is an increased risk of nosebleeds.
In other words, if you have tonsillitis and are suffering from nosebleeds, there is a chance they are related, but it could also be that you have just been picking too aggressively or blowing with too much force.
What Infections Cause Nosebleeds?
Sinusitis, flu, and cold can all lead to nosebleeds.
Take the common cold as an example.
Your nose is constantly running, so you wipe it with tissues, creating the Rudolph effect as the tip of your nose adopts a bright-red hue. The flow of mucus also causes you to sneeze more, forcing a lot of pressure through your sinuses with an unfamiliar and uncomfortable frequency.
On top of that, you may be dehydrated and struggling with dry nasal passages. You may even be taking medications designed to expel mucus, leading to nasal dryness and triggering even more sneezing and wiping.
All of this places a lot of pressure on your nose and the delicate blood vessels within. Eventually, that pressure could lead to a rupture and a nosebleed.
If you suffer from frequent nosebleeds and are particularly susceptible, you'll be even more exposed and may struggle to make it through a cold or flu without at least one bleed.
Allergies also produce frequent nosebleeds, for much the same reason.
Chemical irritants (cigarette smoke, cocaine use, excessive use of nasal sprays, smelling salts) will also make you more prone to nosebleeds, as well direct trauma and a deviated septum.
Of course, this wouldn't be an online medical guide if we didn't mention cancer and other serious causes. Nosebleeds can result from paranasal and nasal tumors, leukemia, and nasal polyps. It could also indicate a blood clotting disease.
These conditions are very rare, though. If you have a sinus infection and you're suffering from an occasional nosebleed, the cause is probably not as serious or concerning.
Why Are Nosebleeds So Common?
Nosebleeds are very rarely serious, and yet they are often associated with serious health problems. If Hollywood is to be believed, nosebleeds are either a warning that you have a serious medical condition, a portent of doom, or a hint at your psychic powers.
In reality, as we have discussed many times in this blog, they indicate that your nasal passages are irritated. In most cases, that irritation is the result of nose picking, which means you probably don't have telekinetic powers but you might be in need of a manicure.
The reason nosebleeds are so common with sinus infections is because all the sniffing, snorting, blowing, and medications irritate the delicate nasal septum. When this happens, all of the fragile blood vessels in this area become exposed.
Of course, there are times when you should be more worried.
Most nosebleeds are anterior nosebleeds, which means they occur in the front of the nose. These are rarely serious and usually indicate direct damage. But there are also posterior nosebleeds. These occur in the back of the nose and indicate a more serious problem. They also bleed more heavily and so they can lead to serious medical emergencies, especially in the presence of blood clotting disorders and blood thinners.