Nosebleeds involve bleeding from the inside of your nose. Many people have occasional nosebleeds, also known as epistaxis (ep-ih-STAK-sis). Nosebleeds may be scary, but generally are a minor annoyance. Frequent nosebleeds are those that occur more than once a week.
Seek emergency medical attention if nosebleeds are severe, last longer than 30 minutes, interfere with breathing or follow an injury.
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:
- Alcohol use
- Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia
- Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP)
- Nasal polyps
- Nasal surgery
- Nasal tumor
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.