Nosebleeds in Teens

by Beth Greenwood

    Teens might have nosebleeds for a variety of reasons, although the problem is rarely serious. A nosebleed can look scary, as a nosebleed often looks like a lot of blood. However, you can control nosebleeds fairly easily, since environmental factors such as dry air are usually the cause.

    About Nosebleeds

    In teens, nosebleeds usually occur from the front -- or anterior -- part of the nose, according to KidsHealth. They usually occur because the small blood vessels, called capillaries, break and begin to bleed. A posterior nosebleed, in which bleeding comes from the back of the nose, can occur because of a facial injury. Dry air can irritate your nasal membranes and make them more susceptible to bleeding. Picking your nose or blowing hard can also increase the risk of a nosebleed.

    Stopping a Nosebleed

    Stopping a nosebleed is usually fairly easy. Use a damp cloth or a facial tissue to catch the blood. Do not lie down, as you need to keep your head above your heart. Sit or stand, instead of lying down. Pinch your nostrils gently, just below the bony part of your nose, while tilting your head forward. Tilting your head back can make the blood run down your throat, and you might choke or swallow the blood, and start to vomit. Keep the pressure on steadily for about 10 minutes. Do not blow your nose, as this can cause more bleeding.

    Prevention

    Preventing nosebleeds usually involves recognizing the most common causes and correcting the problem. Humidified air can help with environmental dryness, and ointments can lubricate the tissue inside the nose. Allergies can increase the risk of nosebleeds, so see your teen's pediatrician for the allergies, which might eliminate the bleeding problem. Teach your teen not to pick her nose, and to blow gently, rather than forcefully. Frequent colds can create irritation, which makes bleeding more likely, so it is important to eat a healthy diet, and to get enough rest to keep your immune system in good shape.

    More Serious Problems

    Although most nosebleeds in teens are not serious, sometimes they can indicate a more serious problem. An abnormally formed blood vessel or a nasal tumor might also be a source of nosebleed. Leukemia can sometimes cause nosebleeds in teens. Teens who have hemophilia -- a blood clotting disorder -- could be more susceptible to nosebleeds, and some medications, such as aspirin, can interfere with the normal clotting mechanisms and could increase the risk of nosebleeds. Overusing nasal decongestant sprays can dry out nasal tissues and make nosebleeds more likely.

    About the Author

    Beth Greenwood is a registered nurse and writer. She served as a columnist for the Tides Foundation's Community Clinic Voice on quality improvement and now contributes to various websites. Greenwood holds an Associate of Science in nursing from Shasta College and is a graduate of the California HealthCare Foundation Health Care Leadership Program.

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