(Epistaxis; Bloody Nose)
by Debra Wood, RN
Nosebleed refers to blood flowing from the nose or nasal passage. There are 2 types of nosebleeds:
Nosebleeds may be caused by:
Factors that may increase your chances of a nosebleed:
Nosebleed symptoms depend on where in the nose the bleeding begins, for example:
When Should I Call My Doctor?
Call your doctor if:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Your doctor may want to do certain tests, such as:
Most anterior nosebleeds stop without medical care within 15 minutes. Posterior nosebleeds usually are more serious and need medical care. Treatment may include sealing off the blood vessel that is bleeding.
For an anterior nosebleed, your doctor will use a compress soaked in a medication. The medication constricts or shrinks the blood vessel and reduces the pain. Pressure will be applied by pinching the nostrils together. Your doctor may pack the area with gauze. In more severe cases, your doctor may cauterize (seal off) a blood vessel that does not clot on its own.
A posterior nosebleed may require packing the nostril or inserting and inflating a special balloon that applies pressure to the area. If all medical attempts to control bleeding fail, surgery may be needed.
To help reduce your chances of a nosebleed:
American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children
Canadian Society of Otolaryngology
Epistaxis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115407/Epistaxis . Updated June 14, 2017. Accessed September 29, 2017.
Nosebleeds. American Academy of Otolaryngology website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated December 3, 2010. Accessed September 29, 2017.
Nosebleeds. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/condition/nosebleeds. Updated April 2014. Accessed September 29, 2017.
Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 9/30/2013
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at email@example.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.