20 Of The Most Common Causes Of Nosebleeds

By Marisa Ramiccio. May 7th 2016

That warm trickle of blood flowing from your nostril means that you have a nosebleed. But what caused it? There are many triggers for an epistaxis, or nosebleed, depending on which type of nosebleed you have. There are two different types of nosebleeds: anterior and posterior nosebleeds. 

Anterior Nosebleeds

These nosebleeds occur in the front, or anterior, of the nose and bleeding tends to originate from a network of blood vessels. These nosebleeds are easy to care for at home and are typically caused by the following:

Blowing Your Nose Too Hard

Blowing your nose too hard can irritate the nasal passages through the force of dislodging the mucus or by exposing some of the tiny blood vessels that are located inside of the nose. If you tend to get nosebleeds often, you probably have blood clots in your nose from where the bleeding last stopped. Those blood clots can get displaced, causing the bleeding to start once again.

A Cold or Flu

It really isn’t the virus itself that causes a nosebleed, but the blowing of the nose. Blowing your nose too often, just like blowing too hard, can cause a nosebleed. And if you have a runny nose, you’ll probably be blowing it every few minutes. Just remember to blow gently and to pace yourself. If you’re going through a box of tissues per hour, then you’re probably blowing too much.

Nasal Decongestants

When you have a cold, you may use nasal decongestants to clear your nasal passages. But they tend to dry out the nose, which can lead to a nosebleed.


If you have a case of sinusitis, you may also get a nosebleed but most cases of nosebleeds from sinusitis are actually associated with the use of nasal decongestants.

Picking Your Nose

As gross as it is, if you pick too hard, especially if you have long and sharp fingernails, you can scratch or tear the inside of your nose, causing it to bleed.

Hot or Cold Weather

Extreme heat or cold, either from the weather or from indoor heating and air conditioning, can dry out the nose, which is a recipe for a nosebleed.


If you have allergies, they probably cause your nose to itch, which in turn, makes you want to pick it. That, along with nasal decongestants, which you also might use for allergies, can cause nosebleeds, especially during the morning and at night.

High Altitude

Sitting in the nosebleed section of the auditorium won’t necessarily give you a nosebleed but the humidity or drier air, which tends to be at higher altitudes, can cause your nose to bleed.

Deviated Septum

Nosebleeds are a common symptom of a deviated septum, which occurs when the partition between the nasal passages becomes crooked and out of place. A deviated septum can obstruct the nasal canal, and even allow foreign objects into the nose, which can cause an injury or infection. That injury or infection can lead to excessive nosebleeds. If you were born with a crooked nose or had it broken and never got it fixed, you’ll also be more susceptible to nosebleeds.

Liver Disease

If you have liver disease, then your blood can’t clot as easily, which can result in a nosebleed.

Alcohol and Drug Use

Using drugs, particularly drugs that tend to be snorted, such as cocaine, can cause nosebleeds. Drinking alcohol excessively can also cause nosebleeds because alcohol prohibits blood clotting and dilates the blood vessels.

Posterior Nosebleeds

The other type of nosebleed is called posterior and occurs much less often than anterior nosebleeds. Posteriors nosebleeds originate at the back of the nose and occur most commonly in the elderly. This type of nosebleed can be fairly serious and usually needs to be treated by a specialist. Posterior nosebleeds are commonly caused by:

Certain Medications

Blood-thinners like warfarin and heparin and medicines suck as aspirin and ibuprofen can cause posterior, and even anterior, nosebleeds.


Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, can cause nosebleeds although the reason why is still undetermined.

Blood Disorders

Nosebleeds are a symptom of certain diseases like leukemia; hemophilia, which affects the blood’s ability to clot; and von Willebrand’s disease, which causes bleeding and bruising.

Hardened Arteries

When fat and cholesterol build up in your arteries, this can cause them to harden, and hardened arteries in the nose lead to nosebleeds.


Tumors in the nasal cavity, whether benign or malignant, can cause nosebleeds.

Blow to the Head

If you fall and land on your head or hit your head, or if your receive any trauma to your head, it can cause a nosebleed.

Nasal Surgery

A common side effect of nasal surgery is a nosebleed and it can range from mild to severe.

Calcium Deficiency

If you’ve been experiencing a lot of nosebleeds lately, it may be an indication that you have a calcium deficiency. Check with your doctor and take a supplement if you think this may be the cause of your epistaxis.

Chemical Irritants

The chemicals in cigarette smoke, ammonia, sulfuric acid, gasoline and others can irritant the nose, resulting in a nosebleed.


More in category

Related Content