What Is Epistaxis? - Definition, Causes & Treatment

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  • 0:03 Definition of Epistaxis
  • 0:22 Causes of Epistaxis
  • 1:07 Treatment Options for…
  • 1:48 Serious Nosebleed
  • 2:19 Preventing Nosebleeds
  • 2:38 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Danielle Haak

Danielle has a PhD in Natural Resource Sciences and a MSc in Biological Sciences

Epistaxis is the medical term for a nosebleed - something you have probably experienced before. But what causes nosebleeds, and how can you get rid of them? Read on to learn more, and then take the quiz to test your new knowledge.

What is Epistaxis?

Have you ever suffered from epistaxis? It sounds serious, so you might not be sure. Epistaxis is the medical term for nosebleeds, so there's a good chance you've experienced one at some point in time. Why do nosebleeds occur? Keep watching and we'll look at causes and treatments.

Causes of Epistaxis

The nose's job is to warm and moisten the air we breathe. Sometimes, when the air around us is very dry and cold, the nose has to work overtime and can get irritated. Your nose is lined with a bunch of tiny blood vessels that are just under the surface. It doesn't take much force to break through the thin layer of skin to the vessel and cause a nosebleed. Although not exhaustive, the following conditions can cause nosebleeds:

  • Excessive nose blowing or picking
  • Injury to the nose or face
  • Dry, warm air, commonly found indoors during the winter
  • Inserting foreign objects into the nose
  • High blood pressure
  • Deviated septum
  • Facial or nasal surgery
  • Tumors
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Use of certain medications or drugs

Treatment Options

Most nosebleeds can be treated at home and don't require professional medical help. If you get a nosebleed, the first thing you should do is relax, take a seat, and lean slightly forward. Although some of us may have been taught to tilt our heads back when we have a nosebleed, all this does is cause blood to pool in your throat. If you lean slightly forward, it will reduce the amount of blood that makes it to your throat.

As you're leaning forward, try to breathe through your mouth as much as possible, and hold a tissue or damp washcloth to your nose until the bleeding stops. Pinch the soft part of your nose gently for approximately five minutes, and once it stops, avoid bending over or blowing, rubbing, or picking your nose for a few days.

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