What You Should Know: Migraines, Headaches & Bloody Noses

Headaches and nosebleeds are very common symptoms and could be caused by a host of different illnesses and ailments, some concerning, most harmless.

Check out the following guide to learn about the potential issues associated with headaches and nosebleeds.

Why Do I Have A Headache And Bloody Nose?

Your head hurts, your nose is bleeding, and you're a little worried. Is it something serious? Do you need to contact your doctor? Well, it never hurts to seek medical advice, but these symptoms rarely indicate anything serious.

The most common causes of headaches and nosebleeds are the following:

Common Cold and Sinus Infection

Sinus infections can produce sinus headaches, characterized by pain and pressure in the face and head. You may experience similar headaches with viral infections such as the common cold, COVID 19, and influenza.

The increased pressure and irritation, along with the fact that you're constantly blowing, rubbing, and even picking your nose, can also cause nosebleeds.

To prevent nosebleeds when you have a sinus infection, apply a little petroleum jelly to the inside of your nose and refrain from blowing too hard or rubbing too much.

Medications

Commonly prescribed medications have a long list of side effects, many of which include headaches. If those medications also affect your blood vessels, blood pressure, or cause dehydration and nasal dryness, they may cause nosebleeds, as well.

Excessive use of nasal decongestants could also be triggering your nosebleeds and even causing your headache.

If you suspect that medications are causing your symptoms, speak to your healthcare provider and they may recommend a dose change or an alternative course of treatment.

Dry Environments

If you spend your time in a very cold/hot and dry environment, it could be the cause of your symptoms. We've all experienced the irritation of minor headaches during relentless summer days or in the presence of biting winds, but what you might not know is that temperature can also trigger nosebleeds.

Dry environments can make your nasal passages dry and cracked, exposing the delicate blood vessels to ruptures.

Deviated Septum

A deviated septum occurs when the cartilage that divides the nose becomes crooked. In addition to nosebleeds and headaches, it can lead to difficulty breathing and face pain.

Pregnancy

Both headaches and nosebleeds become more common during pregnancy.

Nosebleeds occur more frequently during pregnancy because more blood is supplied to the nasal passages, thus creating extra pressure. Hormonal changes and sleep disturbances can also cause headaches, and it's not uncommon for pregnant women to have headaches and nosebleeds together.

If you experience headaches that do not subside or nosebleeds that won't stop, consult your healthcare provider.

Alcohol and Recreational Drug Use

Intranasal stimulant use can cause headaches, nosebleeds, high blood pressure, and nasal dryness, all of which can leave you with combined headaches and nosebleeds.

Even drugs that aren't "snorted" can produce similar symptoms. Many oral opioids and sedatives are known to cause dry mouth and may dry out your nasal passages, leading to nosebleeds.

Excessive alcohol consumption can also cause these symptoms and others like them. If you use recreational drugs or consume large amounts of alcohol, be sure to tell your healthcare provider when seeking advice for this particular medical issue.

Coincidence

Are you sure that your headaches and nosebleeds are related? These are two very common symptoms, and it's possible that they occurred independently of one another.

The most common cause of nosebleeds is nose-picking and dry air, while headaches can result from stress and tension, as well as lack of sleep and diet.

Pay attention to when your symptoms occur, what you're doing and whether you have consumed anything that could trigger either headaches or nosebleeds.

When Should I Worry?

The above causes are relatively minor. They may still require medical intervention, but they are not life-threatening.

But there are a few causes that definitely are concerning, and while these are rare, it's important to rule them out.

Trauma/Head Injury

If you have suffered a blow to the head or face, you may have experienced a serious head injury and should seek medical help.

Whether you've taken a punch to the face in the ring, an elbow to the head on the basketball court, or have just suffered a fall at home, head injuries that result in headaches and nosebleeds need to be checked out.

Leukemia and Polycythemia Vera

Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects white blood cells. It's the most common cancer in children and also occurs in people aged 55 and over. Symptoms can include nosebleeds and headaches, though there are many others, as well.

Brain Tumor

Nosebleeds rarely indicate a tumor, but in very rare cases, it could be the cause.

The symptoms will depend on the location and type of tumor, but they can include headaches and nosebleeds.

Can A Nosebleed Be A Sign Of A Brain Bleed?

A nosebleed in combination with a headache could indicate a serious problem in the brain, including a brain aneurysm. Sufferers often report to experiencing the "worst headaches" of their lives, and may also experience confusion, disorientation, seizures, visual disturbances, and more.

However, this accounts for a very small percentage of the people who experience nosebleeds and headaches. If your headaches are relatively mild and infrequent, there's probably nothing to worry about.

Of course, if you're spending your days worrying that you have a serious health problem, it's always worth contacting your doctor. In the worst-case scenario, they can catch the problem early and ensure it is dealt with. In the best-case scenario, they'll confirm that it's nothing serious and will put your mind at rest.

Can Migraines Cause Nosebleeds?

There have been a few studies suggesting a link between migraines and nosebleeds, including one that found nosebleeds were more common in people who suffered from migraines.

Migraines and nosebleeds have also been reported in cases of hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT), a genetic condition whereby blood vessels develop abnormalities and cause symptoms such as nosebleeds, small red spots, headaches, shortness of breath, and more.