Nosebleeds

Nosebleeds are extremely common - almost everybody will have a nosebleed at some point in their life.  However for some people nosebleeds can be frequent or heavy.  They can be inconvenient and embarrassing, and can even be severe enough to need admission to hospital.

Nosebleeds often have no clear cause, but can be the result of nasal injury, nose-picking, medications that thin the blood, and rarely nasal tumours.

Diagnosis

If you are having frequent or severe nosebleeds, it is important to see a specialist for an appointment and a careful examination.  In most cases you will require a nasendoscopy (examination of the nasal cavity with a fine fibreoptic camera), as well as blood tests.

Treatment

The treatment depends on the severity and frequency of the bleeding.  All patients will be shown how to perform first aid for nosebleeds in the most effective way.  Simple treatments include a prescription for nasal creams, and cauterisation of the bleeding point inside the nose (this can be performed in clinic).

If nosebleeds do not respond to simple treatments, you may require an operation; usually an endoscopic (keyhole) procedure to close off one of the main arteries that supplies the nose.  This procedure is known as endoscopic sphenopalatine artery ligation, which targets the artery that supplies most of the blood to the nose.