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What causes nosebleeds?

The nose is a part of the body rich in blood vessels (vascular) and is located in a vulnerable position protruding on the face. As a result, trauma to the face can cause nasal injury and bleeding. The bleeding may be profuse, or simply a minor complication. Nosebleeds can occur spontaneously when the nasal membranes dry out and crack. This is common in dry climates, or during the winter months when the air is dry and warm from household heaters. People are more susceptible to a bloody nose if they take medications that prevent normal blood clotting (warfarin [Coumadin, Jantoven], clopidogrel [Plavix], aspirin, or any anti-inflammatory medication). In this situation, even a minor trauma could result in significant bleeding.

The incidence of nosebleeds is higher during the colder winter months when upper respiratory infections are more frequent, and the temperature and humidity fluctuate more dramatically. In addition, changes from a bitter cold outside environment to a warm, dry, heated home result in drying and changes in the nose which make it more susceptible to bleeding. Nosebleeds also occur in hot, dry climates with low humidity, or when there is a change in the seasons. The following risk factors predispose people to nosebleeds:

  • Infection
  • Trauma, including self-induced by nose picking (this is a common cause of nosebleeds in children)
  • Allergic and non-allergic rhinitis
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Use of blood thinning medications
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Less common causes of nosebleeds include tumors and inherited bleeding problems
  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy may increase the risk of nosebleeds.
Return to Nosebleed

See what others are saying

Comment from: Olivia, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: January 09

I reacted once a few years ago to an allergy shot and recently to Tylenol Cold Max. Both times I experienced a feeling of heaviness or being weighted down and extreme internal heat.

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Comment from: Mar, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: December 09

I was drip poisoned with antifreeze over 7 plus years. The kidney infections started 10 months after this man started poisoning me and when he decided to finish the job of killing me, I had 5 infections in less than 3 months. Since he left a year and half ago, running from money he owed, I have had repeated infections. I was on a prophylactic antibiotic, but recently needed surgery and now have a whopper of a kidney infection. Nowhere on any website does it mention antifreeze as a cause of kidney infections. Please add this to your causes. I do not know if I will have time to share this.

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Comment from: Abuelita, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: July 05

On 11/23/15 I fell while walking my dog and broke my right hip. Posterior hip replacement ensued. It was hard to walk and I was in a lot of pain. On 4/30/16 I fell in my home and broke my left femur in 3 places, so another hip replacement. I am in severe pain all the time and I've had weird things happen like rashes on my face, torso and arms; pressure sores in my inter gluteal area and on the back of my heels; extreme weight loss and severe low back muscles that I can barely tolerate. I can't sleep. I live alone, have no family within 700 miles and no help. Pain medications, ice and heat do not help. I still can't shower and doing housework is a nightmare. No one can explain what's happening to my body. I don't know what to do and I can't live like this.

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