Are Nosebleeds Common?

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A nosebleed can be caused by different factors, such as a shock to the nose, the scraping of the nasal walls, or a violent impact. But are they really common?

Nosebleeds: a common symptom

Unfortunately YES. The nosebleed is an extremely common phenomenon. It’s estimated that over half of the population will suffer from a nosebleed at least once over the course of their lives. More specifically:

  • More than 10% of adults have a nosebleed once per year.
  • 7% suffer from regular nosebleeds.
  • 4% consult a doctor to treat their epistaxis problems.

Nosebleeds are therefore embarrassing, but quite commonplace… and often harmless!

Which people are most prone to getting nosebleeds?

Nosebleeds are very common among children, often between 2 and 10 years of age, simply because, at that age, little ones put their fingers (or even objects) up their nose more. By irritating the nasal mucosa or pulling out boogers, the child causes lesions on the little blood vessels in the nose. Mild bleeding then occurs.

And after age 50, nosebleeds can also be more common. The main reason for that is the weakening of the mucous membranes and the blood vessels, especially in the nose. Lesions thus occur more often, which causes nosebleeds. Another factor is the tendency for high blood pressure, which develops after a certain age. With the increase in blood pressure, the blood vessels in the nose break more easily, which causes epistaxis.

What factors can impact the frequency of nosebleeds?

Other circumstances can also increase the frequency of nosebleeds:

  • Taking medications that dry out the nasal mucosa (cortisone nasal spray) or have an anticoagulant effect (aspirin, blood thinners)
  • Nasal inflammation (cold, allergic rhinitis, sinusitis)
  • Sneezing and blowing your nose repeatedly and/or quite forcefully
  • Exposure to excessive heat or air conditioning
  • Certain serious diseases (nasal tumour, cirrhosis, kidney disease, leukaemia)
  • Consuming drugs via the nose (cocaine, crack)

Conclusion

Nosebleeds are therefore relatively common. Even though anyone can potentially suffer from a nosebleed, some people are more prone to getting them than others. There are also behaviours and situations that increase the risk of epistaxis.

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