What Are the Causes of Nosebleeds?

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An extremely common phenomenon, the causes of nosebleeds can be multiple, localized or not.

Where do nosebleeds come from?

A nosebleed results from the rupture of a blood vessel in the nose. It may be due to:

  • a lesion in a small, fragile vessel (called the “vascular plexus”) located in the nasal mucosa, near the entrance to the nostril. The bleeding is low or moderate and benign.
  • the rupture of a larger vessel, or even an artery, in the back of the nose. In this case, the bleeding is more abundant and often worrisome.

Nosebleeds: the local causes

Many reasons can explain nosebleeds. On the local level, the most common causes are:

  • Putting your fingers in your nose: scratching or removing a crust or booger, for example.
  • Having a foreign body in the nose: when a child puts an object in their nostril or when a drink goes up your nose.
  • Suffering attacks to the nasal mucosa: pollen allergy, inhaling irritant chemicals, frequent use of nasal sprays, consuming drugs through inhalation.
  • Having a nasal infection: cold, sinusitis, rhinitis, etc.
  • Breathing in an environment that dries out the mucous membrane: excessive air conditioning, intense heat, overly low humidity rate.
  • Undergoing a surgical operation close to the nose.
  • Exerting too much pressure on the blood vessels in the nose: recurrent nose blowing, repeated sneezing, change in atmospheric pressure (in an airplane, for example).
  • Receiving a shock or trauma to the nose.
  • Having polyps or a nasal tumour (nasopharyngeal fibroma).

Other origins of epistaxis

Other non-localized factors can also cause nosebleeds. This is particularly common in the case of:

  • Intense exertion: physical exercise, strong emotion, etc.
  • Pregnancy: 1 in 5 pregnant women regularly experience nosebleeds, generally during the second trimester.
  • Coagulation problems, whether they’re linked to a disease, a one-time disorder, or taking anticoagulant medications (aspirin, anti-inflammatories, etc.).
  • Vascular malformation (angioma).
  • Specific disorders: arterial hypertension, leukaemia, kidney failure, cirrhosis, etc.


A nosebleed therefore results from a lesion in a blood vessel in the nose. The potential origins are quite varied, ranging from a simple shock to repeated aggression, as well as an underlying disease.

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