Nosebleeds, also called epistaxis, may look scary but are mostly harmless. The nose has blood vessels close to the external surface, and therefore they get injured easily (1). It is not uncommon to see nosebleeds in teenagers. Usually, these happen in winters or too dry climates. Read this post to know the types, causes, treatment, prevention, signs you need to see a doctor, and tips on stopping nose bleeding in teenagers.
What Are The Types Of Nosebleeds?
There are two types of nosebleeds (2):
- Anterior nosebleeds are the most common and account for 90% of nosebleeds. The bleeding originates from the front part of the nose. It could be due to allergies, nose picking, or dry air.
- Posterior nosebleeds come from deep parts and may be difficult to manage. High blood pressure, airway obstruction, or trauma are some of the reasons for these bleeds.
Causes Of Nosebleeds In Teenagers
There are common and less common causes of nosebleeds in teenagers. The common reasons often related to anterior nosebleeds.
- Dry air: During dry climate or winter, the nasal passages may dry out, leaving the blood vessels fragile and prone to rupture. A ruptured blood vessel leads to nosebleeds (3).
- Medicines: Nosebleed could be one of the side effects of allergy, cold medications, or using nasal sprays. (4).
- Infections: Chronic inflammation, infections, and sinusitis may also make the nasal tissue susceptible to bleeding (5).
- Injury: Picking the nose with fingernails or blowing too hard may damage the inside of the nose, thereby causing bleeding.
Some of the severe causes that may lead to both anterior and posterior nosebleeds are:
- Accident or trauma: If a foreign body gets into the nose or if your nose is injured in an accident, then it may cause a nosebleed.
- Drug abuse: Frequent nosebleeds, along with other symptoms such as weight loss, dilated pupils, and change in lifestyle, might be due to too much consumption of drugs or alcohol (7).
- Blood-related diseases: Nose bleeding can be a symptom of bleeding disorders and conditions such as leukemia (8) (9).
- Deviated septum: The tissue separating the nostrils gets deviated, leading to frequent nose bleeding (10). It is a less common condition.
Occasional nosebleeds are not a cause of concern. You can try to stop it by taking some measures.
How To Stop Nosebleeds In Teenagers?
- Sit up straight or stand upright.
- Lean forward and breathe through the mouth.
- Pinch nose slightly above nostrils for about 15 minutes. The pressure can stop the bleeding.
- Place an ice pack on the nose.
- Use a topical vasoconstrictor.
- Do not lie down or do not tilt the head upside down or backward. This way, blood may go into the windpipe, resulting in choking or coughing.
- Do not put pressure on the nose after bleeding has stopped.
- Do not stuff the nose with tissues, and do not blow nose when it is bleeding.
- Do not poke or pick at the clot formed within the nostril after bleeding.
The teen should avoid putting a finger or blow nose for the next two to three days. It is good to avoid strenuous activity like outdoor sports and lifting heavy weights. Reduce the intake of hot beverages for 24 hours after bleeding.
When To See A Doctor?
See a doctor if the teen has frequent nosebleeds and during the following circumstances.
- Nosebleeding is frequent and the condition does not resolve
- Bleeding often lasts for more than ten minutes
- Nosebleed due to an injury
- Unable to breathe
- A foreign object got into the nose
- Blood volume is too large
- Feeling too weak or dizzy
- Blood in gums, urine, or stool
Based on the diagnosis and symptoms, the doctor may suggest treatment options.
Treatment For Nosebleeds In Teenagers
If the nosebleed is due to some underlying condition, treatment for that problem will address nosebleeding too. In other cases, the most common treatment methods for nosebleeds in teens are (14) (15):
- Nasal packing: The doctor may use nasal sponges or ribbon gauze to stop bleeding and accelerate clotting.
- Cauterization: It is a medical procedure in which the doctor may use electric current, laser, or silver nitrate to burn the blood vessel that is bleeding.
- Medications: Based on the cause (such as high blood pressure), some teenagers may be prescribed medicines to control bleeding and pain.
- Surgical repair: In the case of a deviated septum or broken nose, a surgical procedure may be required. One method is arterial ligation, in which the blood vessel is tied to prevent bleeding.
The treatment of nosebleeds is carried out with the oversight of a doctor. As the teen grows, there is likely to be a complete resolution of nosebleeding with the help of treatment.
How To Prevent Nosebleeds In Teenagers?
Here are some tips to help prevent nosebleeds from happening (13).
- Wear protective gear (such as helmets) when playing to avoid injury to the nose.
- In the case of cold or allergies, do not blow the nose forcefully. Do it gently so that the blood vessels don’t rupture.
- Don’t pick the nose too often.
- Use a humidifier in the room when the air is dry. At the same time, make sure to clean it from time to time as molds and germs may grow in it.
- Applying sprays, drops, or saline gels in the nostrils may help. Doctors may prescribe antibiotic ointment that can be applied in the nostrils.
- Avoid inappropriate or careless use of drugs.
- Avoid hot and spicy foods.
Nosebleeds occur due to the rupture of thin blood vessels inside the nose. Most of the incidences of nosebleeds in teens do not have serious causes. Dry weather conditions, injuries, or infections are the common ones. In rare cases, nosebleeds may indicate increased blood pressure or blood clotting disorders. Knowing the right first aid can help resolve the issue. However, seek immediate medical attention if nosebleeds become too frequent, are due to an injury, or are causing substantial blood loss. Treatment for the underlying condition or surgical correction may be suggested depending on the causative factor.
2. What to know about nosebleeds; Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine
3. Is my nosebleed the result of winter air?; Harvard Health Publishing
4. Nosebleeds (Epistaxis); Yale Medicine
5. Nosebleeds (Epistaxis); Johns Hopkins Medicine
6. High Blood Pressure (Hypertension); Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego
7. How to Spot the Signs of Teenage Substance Use; UAB Medicine
8. Nosebleeds; Family Doctor; American Association of Family Physicians
9. Leukaemia; Teenage Cancer Trust
10. Deviated Septum; Harvard Health Publishing
11. Nosebleed; nhs.uk
12. Nosebleed (Epistaxis) in Children; Stanford Children’s Health
13. Nosebleeds; Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
14. Nosebleeds (Epistaxis); Children’s Hospitals & Clinics os Minnesota
15. Epistaxis (nosebleed); Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe