5 Common Causes of Nosebleeds

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If you have wiped your nose and seen blood, you’ve had a nosebleed. But you are not alone, because nosebleeds are a very common problem for many people. Most people will have at least 1 nosebleed in their lifetime — and some people have nosebleeds more often than others. Most nosebleeds are not serious, and are not caused by a specific health condition. But, there are some common issues that could lead to a nosebleed. In this article, you will learn more about 5 common causes for nosebleeds.

Dry Air

One of the most common causes for nosebleeds is dryness. In your nose, there are tiny blood vessels very close to the surface. When the inside of your nose dries out enough, it can cause small cracks and tears in these blood vessels. This can lead to a nosebleed, especially in dry climates. You may also have nosebleeds in the winter months, because artificial heat dries out the air inside buildings.

Nose Irritation

Although no one likes to admit it, but many people pick their noses. Picking your nose can irritate the lining of the nose, which can lead to a nosebleed. It can happen during the actual act of picking your nose, or your nose may start to bleed later. 

Putting objects into your nose can also cause nosebleeds. For example, the tip of nasal sprays can irritate the lining of your nose just like a finger does. When your nose hits something hard, it can damage the blood vessels, leading to nosebleeds. Kids may also stick small objects up their noses, which can cause a nosebleed as well.


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If you are taking certain medications, nosebleeds could happen. Some medications — like blood thinners — thin your blood and so it makes it harder for your nose to form a clot. Blood thinners are used to reduce the risk of strokes and are important for managing this serious health condition. But even general medications, like your everyday aspirin, can increase your chances of having a nosebleed as well.

Other Health Conditions

Some health conditions can cause nosebleeds. 

  • The most common are colds and allergies because these lead to irritation in the nose.
  • High blood pressure can lead to nosebleeds, especially during a hypertensive crisis — when a person’s blood pressure increases suddenly.
  • Liver and kidney disease can affect clotting in your nose and may cause nosebleeds.

Substance Abuse

The use of illegal drugs (like cocaine) and drinking a lot of alcohol can cause nosebleeds. Cocaine or other drugs inhaled through the nose can cause really bad irritation and lead to heavy nosebleeds. Drinking a lot of alcohol can also makes it harder for the blood to clot — so minor cracks and injuries in the nose cannot heal.

Resource Links

  1. “Nosebleed (Epistaxis)” via Cleveland Clinic
  2. “Epistaxis” via National Center for Biotechnology Information
  3. “ Community-based management of epistaxis: Who bloody knows?” via Canadian Pharmacists Journal