Epistaxis is the medical term for describing the loss of blood from the nose. Dr Luca Malvezzi, a specialist in otorhinolaryngology and facial cervical surgery in Humanitas, spoke about it in an interview with the broadcast Piazza inBlu on Radio inBlu.

The Causes of Epistaxis

“The causes can be multiple also in relation to age. For example, in preschool and prepubertal age, capillary fragility is very frequent. Thus, young boys and girls often suffer from nasal bleeding. Added to this are co-factors, such as prolonged exposure to heat.

In older age, the causes may be different. Today, the common use of the derivatives of acetylsalicylic acid (or other antiplatelet agents) can cause epistaxis because they fluidize the blood and can promote bleeding due to a crack in the nasal mucosa or a small varicose vein.

We should not underestimate the problem, especially if repetitive. In these cases, a thorough examination is required. This includes the endoscopy of the upper digestive airways and therefore the nose, in order to check for neoformations at the nasal level of the facial mass which can be responsible for the problem”, explains the specialist.

What to do in the face of Bleeding?

Epistaxis itself is not worrying and although scary it is not a risk factor.

“Nasal neoformations and some inherited diseases, such as hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia, are an exception”, underlines Dr Malvezzi.

In case of bleeding:

  • Never put your head back.
  • Instead, blow your nose to help the clot escape.
  • When the clot is expelled, it is advisable to keep the head tilted forward and energetically compress the nostrils between the thumb and the forefinger to promote haemostasis, ie the interruption of bleeding.
  • If the bleeding does not stop, it is advisable to go to the emergency room

Cures and Prevention

  • It is better to avoid the nasal tamponade made by yourself, with cotton and gauze. If the specialist considers this appropriate, they will do it instead. In fact, the tampon blocks bleeding immediately but causes an injury and irritation of the mucosa.
  • Therefore, it is better to treat the nose and if possible to highlight bleeding vessels and treat them caustically.
  • If there is a cracked area of the nasal mucosa it is good to use hospital products that favour the reconstruction of the mucosa itself.
  • There are also several over-the-counter products, such as those based on hyaluronic acid, a component that can help tissue regeneration and healing of the mucous membranes and scars.

In order to protect our nasal mucosa, it is advisable, especially during the winter where we expose ourselves to the cold or suffer from allergies, to turn on the heating and use specific creams that prevent the mucosa from cracking. The recommendation is further in colour for those who take antiplatelet drugs”, concluded Dr Malvezzi.