Why Do I See Blood When I Blow My Nose?
Blowing your nose is one of the most common ways to get rid of nasal congestion. However, there are other reasons why you may see blood when you blow your nose. If you have ever seen blood when you blow your nose, then it means that something else is going wrong with your body. You need to seek medical attention immediately if you experience any symptoms like these:
You feel dizzy or faint after coughing or sneezing
Your throat feels sore and dry after coughing or sneezing
You feel sick after coughing or sneezing
Bloody mucus comes out of your nostrils during coughs and sneezes.
If you have experienced any of these symptoms, then you need to consult a doctor immediately. There are several causes of bleeding when you blow your nose. These include:
Bleeding after coughing or sneezing is due to a blockage in the airways caused by mucus blocking the airway. A blocked airway results in difficulty breathing and can lead to death. When you try to clear the mucus, it may cause bleeding.
Coughing or sneezing can sometimes cause broken blood vessels in the lining of your nostrils. Most of the time, minor bleeding in this area does not require any medical treatment, and it stops by itself.
Blowing your nose too hard can irritate the lining of the nostrils and result in nosebleeds. This is a minor condition that requires no medical attention.
Sinusitis is an infection in the sinuses, which are air-filled cavities that surround the nasal area. This condition causes swelling in the lining of the nose and may result in bleeding when you try to blow your nose. If left untreated, a severe case of sinusitis can affect other organs in your body as well.
A deviated septum is a condition in which the septum, which is the wall that divides the nostrils, is displaced. A deviated septum can result in difficulty breathing. It can also block the mucus and blood vessels in the nostrils, causing bleeding when you blow your nose. A minor surgery may be required to correct this condition.
If you have had a recent injury to your nose, then this may be the reason why you are experiencing bleeding. In this case, bleeding will occur even if you do not blow your nose. Seek medical attention immediately if your bleeding is severe.
In most cases, bleeding when coughing or sneezing is not serious and does not require any medical treatment. However, if bleeding is severe or if you have other symptoms like fever or fatigue, then you should seek medical attention immediately.
Usually, nosebleeds are not serious and can be treated at home. However, you can try the following tips to stop a nosebleed:
Sit in a upright position and apply pressure with your index finger on the roof of your nose for about five to ten minutes. You may apply pressure using a digital thermometer or another thin object.
Gently pinch the bridge of your nose using your thumb and index finger. This will prevent blood from flowing down your throat, which will likely make you feel sick.
Use petroleum jelly or cream to coat the inside of your nostrils to prevent further bleeding.
When to See a Doctor
Bleeding when coughing or sneezing is not a serious condition in most cases and can be treated at home easily. However, you should seek medical attention immediately if:
You are taking medication that increases your risk of bleeding.
You have other symptoms such as fever or fatigue along with bleeding.
The bleeding is severe or does not stop after applying the above tips.
You may also consult a doctor if the bleeding lasts for more than a day, as this may be due to a more serious condition like nasal polyps or sinusitis.
The following home remedies can help to prevent nosebleeds:
Blow your nose gently. Do not blow too hard as it may cause a blockage in your nostrils.
Avoid getting cold air directly entering your nostrils. Wear a scarf to cover the outside of your nose when you go out in the winter or when there is a strong breeze.
Use a humidifier in your home. This will keep the air moist and prevent drying of the mucus membranes in your nose.
Apply a petroleum jelly or cream to the inside of your nostrils. This will act as a protective barrier and prevent drying and cracking of your nostrils.
Take care not to bump or injure your nose, especially if you have had a surgery in the past. Avoid contact sports as much as possible, especially those that require head-to-head contact like boxing or football.
Try not to smoke. Smoking dries out the mucus membranes in your nose, making them more susceptible to bleeding.
Swelling (inflammation) of the lining of the nose (nasal mucosa) can lead to bleeding when you blow your nose, cough or sneeze. Inflammation of the nasal mucosa is usually caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Less commonly, it can be caused by an allergic reaction or foreign body in the nose.
Though nosebleeds (epistaxis) are quite common, you should consult a doctor if bleeding is excessive and does not stop after using the above methods.
In some cases, the cause for bleeding can be a more serious condition such as carcinoma (cancer) or leukemia. Seek immediate medical attention in such situations.
Some of the tests that your doctor may recommend include:
Blood test to rule out infection or other medical conditions.
Endoscopy of the nasal cavity to look for any abnormalities. A flexible fiberoptic endoscope is inserted into the nostrils to give the doctor a clear view of the interior of the nose. This may require local anesthesia.
Arteriogram, in which an x-ray is taken of the nose after a solution containing a special dye (such as iodine) is sprayed in the nostrils. This test can reveal any abnormalities or blockages within the blood vessels.
Biopsy of the nasal lining to rule out carcinoma (cancer) or other pre-cancerous conditions. A small piece of skin and mucus membrane is removed and examined under a microscope to check for abnormal cells.
Nasal sprays and decongestants are usually used to temporarily shrink swollen blood vessels. Aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may also be used. Antibiotics may be necessary if an infection is diagnosed.
Surgery is usually not required except in cases where there is a blockage in one of the blood vessels of the nasal lining.
A minor cosmetic surgery may be recommended to repair a depressed area that is caused by a scar resulting from a previous nosebleed.
The following home remedies are said to help reduce the frequency of nosebleeds or to make the blood less likely to clot:
Sit up or stand and lean forward so that the blood can drain out of your nostrils. If lying down, you risk choking on your own blood if the bleeding is severe.
Gently blow your nose to get rid of clots. Forcing a spray can actually dislodge clots and send them farther into the nasal cavity where they are harder to get rid of.
Gently rub a cotton swab inside the nostrils to absorb the blood. Do not use paper tissues, as those can stick in the nostrils and cause more bleeding.
Press lightly on the soft part at the bottom of the nose (the nasopharynx). This pressure helps the blood to drain out of the nose. This method is especially useful while lying down, or if you are prone to passing out due to low blood pressure.
Apply gentle heat (a warm, wet washcloth) or gentle electric shock (from a battery) to the outside of the nose. The idea is to stimulate the blood vessels just beneath the skin of the nose in order to increase blood flow and speed up healing.
Eat more Vitamin K. This is said to help the blood to clot less readily. Food sources include green vegetables, lettuce, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and broccoli.
Eat more liver. This is said to increase the blood’s ability to clot.
Keep your nasal passages as clear as possible.
Drink more fluids. Water is best, but decaffeinated coffee, tea, fruit juices, and other clear liquids are also good. Powdered drink mixes contain lots of sugar and quite a bit of caffeine and these can all dry you out.
Cut back on salty foods and reduce contact with outdoor pollutants. These factors are said to make your nose drier and more prone to bleeding.
Use a humidifier to increase moisture in the air. This makes your nose less dry and is said to make your blood less prone to clotting.
Seek medical help if bleeding is very heavy, if you cannot feel the bridge of your nose (your sense of smell becomes impaired), or if you develop a fever or headache with the nosebleed. In these cases, the bleeding may be occurring inside your skull and may require a doctor to stop it.
If you often get nosebleeds, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to suggest ways to prevent them, or at least make them less severe and less frequent.
Do not use a blow dryer or other heating device on your nose. These can cause damage to the sensitive skin inside the nostrils.
Do not pick at any dried blood in your nostrils. This can introduce bacteria, which can then lead to an infection.
Do not use cotton swabs or other tools to try to remove blood clots. This can actually push the clot farther back where you may not be able to reach it, or it may dislodge and go farther down your throat.
Wrap a thin cloth or tissue around your finger if you must dig out a dried clot.
Stop smoking since this adds to drying of the mucus membranes and is a predisposing factor toward nosebleeds.
When to See the Doctor
Most nosebleeds will eventually stop on their own if you follow the above advice. If bleeding is minimal, just keeping your head elevated may be all that is needed. If bleeding is heavy or you are feeling faint, seek medical attention immediately.
Blood Clotting Disorders
In some cases of heavy, frequent nosebleeds certain disorders may be the cause. Some patients with von Willebrand’s disease, a disorder of blood clotting, may experience nosebleeds. Patients with this disorder often have heavy menstrual periods and may experience excessive bruising or bleeding after minor injuries. Disorders of platelets, the cells in the blood that help blood to clot, may also cause nosebleeds.
Nose trauma is another common cause of bleeding. Injuries to the face as well as certain medical procedures can cause bleeding inside the nose. The bleeding may occur through one or both nostrils and may be a steady flow or just occasional gushes.
In some cases, allergic reactions can cause bleeding from the nose. This is more common in people with seasonal allergies, but it can occasionally happen to anyone who is allergic to inhaled substances such as smoke, household cleaners, perfume, or other chemicals.
The common cold is the most common viral infection that can cause nosebleeds. For most people, the bleeding is minimal and does not require medical treatment. Antibiotics do not work on viruses, so treating the infection itself is the only way to stop the bleeding.
Other types of viral infections can also cause nosebleeds. These include the herpes virus and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
In some rare cases, a tumor may cause bleeding in the nose. Most of these tumors are cancerous (malignant) and can be diagnosed and treated by a medical professional. Benign (non-cancerous) tumors, while not common, can also lead to nosebleeds. If the bleeding persists, a doctor should be consulted about the cause and treatment of the nosebleed.
Sources & references used in this article:
The bloody chamber and other stories by A Carter – 2012 – books.google.com
Bursts: the hidden patterns behind everything we do, from your e-mail to bloody crusades by AL Barabási – 2010 – books.google.com
My bloody life: The making of a Latin King by R Winder – 2010 – Abacus
Chickamauga: Bloody Battle in the West by R Sanchez – 2007 – books.google.com
Bloody Williamson: A chapter in American lawlessness by L Truss – 2005 – Penguin