Welcome to the OutUK series looking at gay men and their health brought to you in association with the NHS website.
Each week we'll tackle a different topic in our A to Z of Gay Health. We'll have features and advice on everything from relationships, sexual health, mental and physical conditions and how to stay fit. You can follow any of links provided below for more information direct from the NHS website, or view any of our Previous A to Z Features.
You should also know that OutUK has produced a special report about: Coronavirus Covid-19.

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This Week - N : Nosebleed

Nosebleeds are not usually a sign of anything serious. They're common and most can be easily treated at home.

See a GP if:

  • a child under 2 years old has had a nosebleed
  • you have regular nosebleeds
  • you have symptoms of anaemia - such as a faster heartbeat (palpitations), shortness of breath and skin that is paler than normal for you
  • you have a nosebleed and you're taking a medicine that helps prevent blood clots, such as warfarin
  • you have a nosebleed and you have a condition that means your blood cannot clot properly, such as haemophilia

The GP might want to test you for haemophilia or for other conditions like anaemia.

Go to A&E if:

You have a nosebleed and:

  • your nosebleed lasts longer than 10 to 15 minutes
  • the bleeding seems excessive
  • you're swallowing a large amount of blood that makes you vomit
  • the bleeding started after a blow to your head
  • you're feeling weak or dizzy
  • you're having difficulty breathing

Causes of a nosebleed

The inside of the nose is easy to damage and that's when nosebleeds happen. This can be caused by:

  • picking your nose
  • blowing your nose too hard
  • the inside of your nose being too dry (maybe because of a change in air temperature)

Nosebleeds that need medical attention can come from deeper inside the nose and usually affect adults. They can be caused by:

  • an injury or broken nose
  • conditions that affect the blood vessels or how the blood clots
  • certain medicines, like warfarin

Sometimes the cause of a nosebleed is unknown.

Certain people are more likely to getting nosebleeds, including:

  • children
  • adults over 45 years old
  • pregnant women
  • people with high blood pressure

How to stop a nosebleed yourself

If you have a nosebleed, you should:

  • sit down and lean forward, with your head tilted forward and your mouth open
  • pinch your nose just above your nostrils for 10 to 15 minutes
  • breathe through your mouth

Holding an icepack (or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel) on the top of the nose may help reduce the blood flow. But the evidence to show it works is not very strong.

Video: How to treat a nosebleed

This video shows you how to treat a nosebleed.


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