Having a nosebleed (epistaxis) is common in children. Nosebleeds are usually mild and easily treated. Sometimes bleeding can be more severe. This is usually in older people, or in people with other medical problems such as blood disorders. Get medical help quickly if the bleeding is severe, or if it does not stop within 20-30 minutes.

What causes a nosebleed (epistaxis)

The common site for a nosebleed to start is from just inside the entrance of the nostril, on the nasal septum (the middle harder part of the nostril). Here the blood vessels are quite fragile and can rupture easily for no apparent reason. This happens most commonly in children.

This delicate area is also more likely to bleed with the following:
  • Picking the nose
  • Colds, and blocked stuffy noses such as with hay fever
  • Blowing the nose
  • Minor injuries to the nose
  • Cocaine use

In the above situations, the bleeding tends to last only a short time and is usually easy to control. The bleeding may last longer and be harder to stop if you have heart failure, a blood clotting disorder, or are taking 'blood thinning' medicines such as warfarin or aspirin.

Some people with high blood pressure (hypertension) have a higher risk of having a nosebleed.

Bleeding sometimes comes from other areas further back in the nose. It is sometimes due to uncommon disorders of the nose, or to serious injuries to the nose.