You have a nosebleed and your ears hurt. You know that most nosebleeds are caused by nose-picking and dry air, but this is something else, right?
What could it possibly be?
Nosebleeds and Ear Pain
There are several potential causes of nosebleeds and ear pain, most of which are harmless and don't require medical intervention:
Also known as hay fever, allergic rhinitis is an allergic reaction that leads to nasal irritation and symptoms such as sneezing, congestion, runny nose, and nose itching.
If you repeatedly suffer from allergic rhinitis, you may experience sinus pain and ear pain, as well as nosebleeds.
Nosebleeds occur as a direct result of irritation, as opposed to an allergy symptom. All of that sneezing, nose-blowing, and nose-wiping places a lot of stress on the delicate blood vessels in your nose.
Allergic rhinitis typically causes anterior nosebleeds, which are nosebleeds that occur in the front of the nose. These are not as serious or as heavy as posterior nosebleeds, but they can still produce a lot of blood. What's more, if you continue to sneeze, blow, and rub, your delicate nasal passages may not have time to heal and you could suffer from more nosebleeds.
Chronic rhinitis produces similar symptoms as allergic rhinitis. The difference is that it occurs year-round, and is not a direct result of seasonal allergens. Some of the triggers for chronic rhinitis include animal dander and dust.
The constant pressure on your sinuses can produce regular nosebleeds, headaches, and general sinus pain, as well as a runny nose and other common rhinitis symptoms.
To prevent repeat occurrences and give your nasal passages a break, apply a dab of petroleum jelly to the inside of your nose. This will protect the membrane from further damage and help to lock in the moisture.
Sinus Infections and Viral Infections
Sinus infections (sinusitis), COVID-19, influenza, and the common cold can all cause the same symptoms and issues as those associated with allergic rhinitis.
In addition, you may suffer from symptoms such as headaches, hearing loss, facial tenderness, fatigue, muscle pain, shortness of breath, coughing, and fever.
These symptoms should be monitored and help should be sought if the fever doesn't drop. As we saw during the COVID-19 pandemic, these viruses can't always be shrugged off without issue and can develop into something serious.
If you are suffering from persistent ear ache, nosebleeds, and other symptoms and they show no sign of abating, contact your healthcare provider.
In addition to chronic ear infections and allergens, ear pain and nosebleeds can occur simultaneously by chance.
For instance, your ear ache could be the result of impacted ear wax or even an ear infection while your nosebleed could be the result of nose-picking or dry air.
When Should I Worry About Nosebleeds?
The nasal septum contains many delicate blood vessels and it doesn't take much for these to rupture and bleed. The vast majority of nosebleeds are the result of picking, blowing, rubbing, or dry air, and these are no cause of serious concern.
However, there are exceptions.
If you suffer from frequent nosebleeds without an obvious cause, or those nosebleeds are heavy, you should book an appointment with your doctor. If you have a nosebleed that doesn't stop after 30 minutes and you seem to be losing a lot of blood, you should seek emergency medical care.
Extra caution is advised in individuals who suffer from blood clotting disorders or take blood thinners, as this may lead to excessive blood loss.
When Should I Worry About Ear Pain?
As with nosebleeds, ear pain is usually nothing to worry about. It will usually go away on its own after a few hours or subside and then fade over a few days. However, if the ear pain is severe and/or doesn't fade after several days, you should seek medical help.
It could be that you have a really stubborn ear infection. Maybe you just have impacted wax that won't budge on its own. God forbid, you could also be one of those unlucky people you hear about in urban legends involving spiders, eggs, and...say no more (don't worry, it's probably not that. Probably).
In any case, an ear, nose, and throat specialist will ensure you get the help that you need. Even if it turns out to be nothing, it's always best to seek help early as they can provide some much-needed relief while putting your mind at rest.
Can You Get Blood In Your Ear From A Nosebleed?
It's possible for blood to accumulate in your middle ear as a result of nasal packing. This occurs when you (or your doctor) insert cotton/gauze up your nose to prevent bleeding.
If you suspect that this may have occurred, speak with your doctor. They will likely just remove the packed material to allow the blood to drain out. They may also give you antibiotics to prevent you from getting an ear infection.
Can a Sinus Infection Cause Nosebleeds?
Yes, and the same is true for viral infections like influenza, COVID-19, and the common cold.
The easiest way to understand why this occurs is to think about how red the tip of your nose gets when you have a cold. You're constantly blowing and wiping your nose, and after a day or two, you develop the stereotypical "Rudolph" look. But if that's happening on the outside of your nose, imagine what's happening on the inside, where you only have a thin nasal membrane to protect you.
Of course, you can't stop yourself from sneezing and if you want to avoid covering your chin/shirt in mucus, you also can't refrain from wiping or blowing.
What you can do, however, is gently blow your nose, apply petroleum jelly for lubrication and protection, and use moistened wipes when wiping your nose.
Excessive use of nasal sprays can also irritate your nasal lining, so refrain from overusing these medications.