CausesBy Mayo Clinic staff
The lining of your nose contains many tiny blood vessels that lie close to the surface and are easily damaged.
The two most common causes of nosebleeds are:
- Dry air — when your nasal membranes dry out, they're more susceptible to bleeding and infections
- Nose picking
Other causes of nosebleeds include:
- Acute sinusitis
- Aspirin use
- Blood thinners (anticoagulants), such as warfarin and heparin
- Chemical irritants, such as ammonia
- Chronic sinusitis
- Cocaine use
- Common cold
- Deviated septum
- Foreign body in the nose
- Nasal sprays, such as those used to treat allergies, if used frequently
- Nonallergic rhinitis
- Trauma to the nose
Less common causes of nosebleeds include:
Studies haven't confirmed an association between high blood pressure and nosebleeds. Some specialists suggest that high blood pressure may prolong bleeding if you have a nosebleed.
Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.
- Flint PW, et al. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05283-2..X0001-8--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05283-2&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed May 15, 2012.
- Alter H. Approach to the adult with epistaxis. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed May 15, 2012.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2012:5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05611-3..C2009-0-38601-8--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05611-3&uniqId=291436269-101. Accessed May 15, 2012.
- Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05472-0..X0001-1--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05472-0&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed May 15, 2012.
- Nosebleeds. American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/Nosebleeds.cfm. Accessed May 14, 2012.
- Nosebleeds. American College of Emergency Physicians. http://www.emergencycareforyou.org/EmergencyManual/WhatToDoInMedicalEmergency/Default.aspx?id=260&terms=nosebleeds. Accessed May 14, 2012.