5 Common Causes of Nosebleeds

May 7th 2016

Nosebleeds can have many causes, including other illnesses, drug abuse, medications and simple irritation. Even something as minor as the climate can cause them. However, people who experience frequent or particularly heavy nosebleeds should consult their doctors to rule out more serious conditions.

Dry Air

The nose is filled with tiny blood vessels that are very close to the surface. When the interior of the nose dries out enough, it can cause small cracks and tears in these blood vessels, which leads to a nosebleed. This is common in arid climates. Many people also experience this during winter months because artificial heat dries out the air inside buildings.

Irritation and Trauma

Although no one likes to admit it, many people pick their noses. This can irritate the lining of the nose, which can lead to a nosebleed. It can occur during the actual act, or the nose may start to bleed at a later time. Nasal sprays can also have this effect if used frequently, as the tip of the spray irritates the lining just like a finger does.

When the nose hits something hard, it can compress the tissues and damage the blood vessels. This often leads to nosebleeds. These bleeds are frequently heavy, but they typically look worse than they are unless the nose is actually broken.


Many people experience nosebleeds as a side effect of certain medications that thin the blood and reduce its ability to clot. This happens because minor cracks or irritations occur often in most people's noses, but they typically clot before a nosebleed is noticed. Blood thinners used to reduce the risk of strokes are a common culprit, but something as minor as regular aspirin use can increase the risk of nosebleeds.

Health Problems

There are a variety of illnesses that can cause nosebleeds. The most common are colds and allergies because these lead to irritation in the nose and throat. High blood pressure can also lead to nosebleeds, especially during an event called a hypertensive crisis. This occurs when the person's blood pressure increases suddenly. Liver and kidney disease can also affect clotting and thus increase the likelihood of nosebleeds.

Substance Abuse

The use of hard drugs can cause nosebleeds among addicts. It is particularly common with drugs such as cocaine which are inhaled through the nose. This can cause severe irritation in the nasal lining and lead to frequent and heavy nosebleeds.

Chronic alcohol abuse can also be linked with frequent nosebleeds. It happens because alcohol reduces the blood's ability to clot, so minor cracks and injuries become more severe.


Nosebleeds are a common affliction, and they are usually minor. However, some people experience frequent nosebleeds. These often have no obvious cause, but there are some common issues that lead to nosebleeds.

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