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What the Nose(Bleeds) Know

By Sara Butler

Nosebleeds happen -- and can happen for a variety of reasons. But when should you be alarmed about your nosebleeds and when should you reach for a tissue and just move on with your day? Here's what you need to know about nosebleeds and when it's time to seek out medical help.

Nosebleeds: The Cause

When you get a nosebleed, it's not always as dramatic or as serious as it seems. That's because the walls on the inside of your nose contain many tiny blood vessels. These diminutive vessels are fragile and can easily break from doing something as innocent as blowing your nose too hard or bumping it on something. Even irritation from allergies or a cold can trigger nosebleeds, as well as breathing dry air or overusing nasal decongestants.

Normally, the causes behind nosebleeds don't call for concern. But if you're on any sort of blood-thinning medication or you have a blood disorder such as hemophilia, the bleeding can continue long enough that it requires medical attention. Also, sometimes one of the larger blood vessels toward the back of the nasal cavity can bleed, which may be cause for concern. That's because often, these posterior nosebleeds are triggered by a broken nose, a tumor, or trauma to the head. And in those cases, you may need to seek medical treatment as soon as possible.

When to Get Help

For posterior nosebleeds as mentioned above, you may need to go to the hospital. Otherwise, when your nose starts to bleed you should:

  • Lean forward - Many people mistakenly believe that leaning their head back is the answer to a nosebleed, but it's not. You don't want the blood to go down your airway or your throat, where it can go to your stomach and cause nausea or vomiting.
  • Firmly pinch your nose - Grasp the soft part of your nose just below the bridge and pinch. Even if only one side is bleeding, you're better off pinching both sides together to create enough pressure to stop the bleeding.
  • Hold - You should continue holding your nose for at least 10 minutes. Bleeding should stop completely within 20 minutes or less. If it doesn't, head to the hospital. Also, go to the hospital if you swallowed so much blood you feel ill, you are having trouble breathing, or if you notice dizziness or are feeling faint.

Nosebleeds are normally something you shouldn't be concerned about, but if they cross a line, get a medical opinion as soon as you can!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Northbrook, Ill.

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