Although scary, nosebleeds are rarely serious. 6 out of 10 people will suffer from at least 1 nosebleed during the course of their life and the vast majority of these have perfectly innocent causes.
The nose is full of fragile blood vessels and it doesn’t take much for these to rupture. When they do, the crimson flows.
What are the Causes of Nosebleeds?
There are two types of nosebleed: Anterior and Posterior. The first occurs in the front of the nose and is usually harmless; the latter is triggered deep inside the nose and can be dangerous.
Some of the most common causes of nosebleeds include:
- A foreign object getting stuck in the nose
- Excessive nose picking
- Inhaling irritants (ammonia, harsh smoke, gasoline fumes)
- Using nasal sprays excessively
- An allergic reaction
- Excessive sneezing
- Changes in temperature/humidity
- Sinus infections
- A deviated septum
More serious and rarer causes of nosebleeds include bleeding disorders, high blood pressure, and blood clotting issues.
Can Stress Cause Nosebleeds?
Hollywood has a lot to answer for. It has taught us that police cars are bulletproof, silencers sound like hushed whispers, and you can walk away from an explosion looking cool and unflustered, as opposed to being scattered in a million pieces across the street.
Another Hollywood myth that has endured beyond all logical reason is that stress can cause instant and intense nosebleeds.
If films and TV are to be believed, you can also get a nosebleed from thinking too hard and using your physic powers (as shown by Stranger Things, Scanners, and the Fantastic Four).
So, what’s the truth?
Well, the good news is that you probably won’t get a nosebleed from using your psychic powers (that’s a relief!), the bad news is that stress is linked to nosebleeds, but not directly.
Stress is a complex condition that can cause and be caused by a host of different factors. It’s something that can bubble under the surface and lead to everything from angry outbursts to insomnia and anxiety.
It can also cause persistent headaches and may even cause you to subconsciously and aggressively pick your nose or blow your nose too hard. There are other indirect interactions as well, including any medications that you take to manage stress.
So, in a sense, stress can cause nosebleeds, but not directly. In other words, if you suddenly feel very stressed, your nose won’t burst open and send forth a torrent of crimson, and if it does, there will likely be another cause.
When Should You See a Doctor?
If your nosebleed has a direct, obvious, and insignificant cause, and it only lasts for a few minutes, there’s usually nothing to worry about. If it is excessive and occurs along with other concerning symptoms, you should consult with a medical professional.
Generally, a nosebleed is considered to be more serious when it lasts for over 15 minutes.
Your doctor will check to see if there are any troubling underlying causes, and if the problem persists, they may recommend some treatments to fix the issue. These include everything from irrigation tools to laser beam therapy and more.
In the meantime, you can use Nampons to manage your persistent nosebleeds. They should never be used as a replacement for professional medical advice but can help to soak up the blood while encouraging clotting.