What’s a Nosebleed?

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A nosebleed is a small nasal haemorrhage, often linked to a lesion in the nasal mucosa. Far from being rare, nosebleeds are benign in most cases, but sometimes, they can be a symptom of a more serious condition.

The nosebleed: a benign mini-haemorrhage

The medical name of a nosebleed is “epistaxis.” It’s a relatively common and often benign disorder, even though it can be inconvenient or alarming. Epistaxis is one of the most common types of bleeding.

The nose – especially the nasal mucosa – contains a multitude of little blood vessels, often thin and quite fragile. As a result, some small vessels may break following a shock or any aggression. The nosebleed is therefore usually related to a lesion in one or more of these blood vessels.

In case of epistaxis, the blood flows through the nostrils. And since the nose and mouth are connected, some can also pass through the throat.

The different types of nosebleeds

In practice, a nosebleed can be more or less abundant, ranging from a few small drops to a heavy flow.

There are two kinds of epistaxis:

  • 1. Anterior haemorrhage: bleeding in the front of the nose (the most common form). Most often, the blood vessels at the source of a nosebleed are located in a specific area of the nose: this is referred to as “Kiesselbach’s plexus.” It’s located about half an inch from the entrance to the nostril. In case of a rupture of one of these vessels, the bleeding is less abundant and stops quite easily.
  • 2. Posterior haemorrhage: bleeding in the back of the nose. This form of epistaxis is less common but more dangerous. It’s caused by a lesion in an artery or blood vessel located behind the nose. The bleeding is therefore more severe and constitutes a medical emergency.

Who can suffer from nosebleeds?

Everyone! Nosebleeds primarily affect children aged 2 to 10 and adults over 50. But of course, any person can suffer from nosebleeds at one time or another.

Indeed, this small nasal haemorrhage can be caused by different factors: a blow to the nose, fatigue, taking medication, heat stroke, etc.

Conclusion

The nosebleed is therefore a common and generally benign phenomenon caused by a lesion in the blood vessels in the nasal wall.

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