A nosebleed can be fairly dramatic and frightening, especially when it happens out of the blue. Fortunately, most nosebleeds are not serious and can be dealt with easily. There are two kinds of nosebleeds, anterior (referring to bleeding from the front of the nose) and posterior (bleeding from the back of the nose).
Anterior nosebleeds are very common, making up for more than 90% of all nosebleeds. This usually occurs when a blood vessel at the very front part of the nose is damaged. Anterior nosebleeds are easy to control.
Posterior nosebleeds are less common than anterior nosebleeds, as they tend to occur more often in elderly people. With posterior nosebleeds, the bleeding comes from the back part of the nose, making it more complicated to treat, and often requires admission to hospital and treatment by an ENT specialist.
Nosebleeds commonly occur as the result of trauma to the outside of the nose (such as a blow to the face) or trauma to the inside of the nose (such as persistent nose picking or repeated irritation from a cold). However, nosebleeds may also be the result of an underlying disease process, such as the inability of the blood to clot. The inability to clot is usually due to the use of blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin and dispirin. Liver disease may also interfere with blood clotting, as does abnormal blood vessels or cancers in the nose, and high blood pressure.
Although excessive blood loss from nosebleeds are rare, signs of excessive blood loss include dizziness, light-headedness, confusion and fainting.