You have nosebleeds (epistaxis) when the small blood vessels in your nose burst, hence releasing the blood that flows out of your nose. There are two types of nosebleeds: Anterior and posterior nosebleeds.
The anterior nosebleed is very common, especially amongst children. It occurs at the outer part of the nose, on the lower part of the wall that separates the two sides of the wall -the septum.
The posterior nosebleed occurs deep inside the nose. It could be so serious it could result in heavy bleeding, which may flow down the back of the throat, and while anterior nosebleed could easily be handled at home, the posterior nosebleed may require immediate medical attention.
Research proves that about 60% of people experience nosebleeds at least once in their lifetime.
There are several causes of nosebleeding, but can stress cause nosebleeds?
That is what we are about to find out in this article.
CAUSES OF NOSEBLEEDS
Nosebleeds are a common occurrence and most times are not a cause for alarm. There are many things that could trigger your nose to bleed. One common cause is dry air, which is often due to low humidity in the atmosphere. This causes the delicate tissues inside your nose to dry out, become crusty, and when picked or blown, your nose bleeds.
Certain medications such as antihistamines and decongestants for allergies, colds, or sinus problems can also dry out the delicate tissues in your nose, causing nosebleeds.
Other factors that could cause nosebleeds are:
- Repeated sneezing
- Cold air
- Chemical irritants
- Allergic reactions
- Upper respiratory infections
- Foreign object stuck in the nose
- Injury to the nose
- Picking the nose
- Large doses of aspirin
These are all common causes of nosebleeds and most times, do not necessarily require medical attention. However, there are some rare causes of nosebleeds that could require medical attention, especially if bleeding should last longer than 20 minutes. Some rare causes of nosebleeds include:
- High blood pressure,
- Blood clotting disorder,
- Bleeding disorder
CAN STRESS CAUSE NOSEBLEEDS
Stress has many ways in which it manifests itself and sometimes you may not even realize it. Here are common symptoms that could suggest that you are stressed:
- Chest pain
- Stomach upset
- Frequent and sudden insomnia
- Muscle ache
However, stress can sometimes manifest itself in unusual ways such as: Outbreak of acne, hair loss, involuntary eyelid spasm and nosebleeds
So, can stress cause nosebleeds? Yes, only it is an indirect cause of nosebleeding. However, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America lists stress and anxiety as one of the risk factors for nosebleeds.
Although research says that nosebleeds are common in people who regularly experience high levels of stress and anxiety, there is no scientific evidence yet to show that stress is directly linked to nosebleeding.
You have probably had a nosebleed after a very stressful day. Well, the idea of stress causing a nosebleed is mostly dependent on how you deal with stress. If you are the type of person that frets about when stressed, then you are likely to result to picking your nose or blowing it more than you normally would, both of which can cause nosebleeding.
Here are some causes of nosebleeds related to stress:
1. NOSE PICKING AND BLOWING
We all pick our nose from time to time, but when we are stressed we might pick, run or blow our nose more than we normally would, and doing this could irritate the inside of our nose and likely lead to nosebleeding.
When stressed, as we have mentioned in some common symptoms that could suggest stress, our heads tend to ache. Some researchers have suggested that people with migraines may be more likely to experience more nosebleeds. Generally speaking, however, research suggests that headaches and nosebleeds are associated with each other.
3. USE OF ALCOHOL OR NARCOTICS
Some people when they are stressed, take narcotics or drink alcohol to deal with stress. However, using narcotics or drinking alcohol can cause your nasal passage to become dey, cracked, and irritated, leading to a nosebleed. It could also cause dehydration and other health issues that can contribute to nosebleeds.
4. HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
Your blood pressure could be higher than normal when you are stressed and this is a normal bodily response to stress, but when this response is prolonged or can lead to a range of many other health issues.
Research concerning the association between high blood pressure and nosebleeds is mixed. While some medical experts argue that high blood pressure can make the delicate tissues in your nose prone to damage, others argue that high blood pressure does not cause nose bleeding but can prolong it.
HOW TO STOP STRESS-INDUCED NOSEBLEEDS
You were wondering if stress can cause nosebleeds, well, now you have an answer. Let’s look at how to stop or deal with stress-induced nosebleeds.
Well, usually one of the first steps to solving a problem is to figure out the cause of the problem, and since we know stress is the cause of nosebleeds in this case, probably because you have noticed the frequent nosebleeds whenever you become or feel stressed, or you have consulted with your doctor and now you are sure that stress is what triggers your nosebleeds.
The next step is to be observant and more aware of yourself, to know whether you do anything that could trigger your nosebleeds, like picking your nose whenever you are stressed. You could be doing things that trigger nosebleeds subconsciously, but in order to stop stress nosebleeds, try as much as you can to be mindful of the things you do when you are stressed, and try to stop them if they can cause nosebleeds.
What if I am not doing anything?
That is rare, but not impossible. In such instances, you should try avoiding anything in general that can stress you up. Besides, nosebleeding or not, you should cut down on the activities that stress you out. So take yourself away from environments or people that are likely to make you feel stressed and always try to stay hydrated. You could also practice Yoga. Studies have shown that it could be used to treat high blood pressure.
CAN STRESS CAUSE NOSEBLEEDS IN PREGNANCY?
Having nosebleeds during pregnancy is normal and very common. 1 in 5 women tend to have nosebleeds when they are pregnant, this is because when you are pregnant, your blood supply increases by 50% and this increases the pressure in which the blood moves throughout the body.
And since the tissues of the nostril are delicate, this increased pressure makes the blood vessels in the nose expand and at a certain point, the vessels can’t expand anymore, so they will burst to cause your nose to bleed.
Apart from the increase in blood pressure, other things could cause nosebleeds in pregnancy, such as allergies, hormonal changes, and dehydration. But can stress cause nosebleeds in pregnancy? Yes.
Remember how we said stress does not directly cause nosebleeds? Well, we also said stress could lead to increased blood pressure, which we have just explained. Stress could also lead to hormonal changes in pregnant women, and that could trigger nosebleeds.
WHY DOES MY NOSE BLEED WHEN I CRY HARD?
Well, this goes back to answer the question “can stress cause nosebleeds?” we have already said the answer is yes, and we have also said that this sometimes depends on our actions when we are stressed.
You probably deal with stress by crying and this is nothing to be ashamed of. However, your nose bleeds when you cry hard probably because crying a lot can cause your nose to be congested with mucus, then you might end up blowing hard or rubbing your nose more often, and this can lead to nosebleeds.
TREATING A STRESS-RELATED NOSEBLEED
The first line of treatment for whatever type of nosebleed, regardless of what might be causing it is:
- Sit up straight
- Slightly tilt your head a bit forward
- Pinch your nose shut. You shouldn’t be able to breathe through your nose while doing this. Breath slowly through your mouth instead.
- Now regarding stress-related nosebleeds:
- Try to get yourself to calm down and your breathing relaxed.
- Remove yourself from any stressful situation or environment. Calm your thoughts and emotions by listening to the rise and fall of your breath while you wait for the bleeding to stop.
- Once the bleeding stops, get yourself hydrated and seek out a more humidified environment.
There are various reasons why you can have a nosebleed and though there are several anecdotal pieces of evidence that link stress to nosebleeds, stress however is an indirect cause of nosebleeds. It only triggers the circumstances, like having a headache or picking your nose when you are stressed, these can lead to nosebleeds.
Stress-induced nosebleeds can be simply prevented or treated if you decide and act on stopping those things you do when stressed, that could trigger nosebleeds. But if you find yourself having frequent nosebleeds, even after adjusting your attitude towards stress, then it is best to call your doctor.
1. Micah A. BSc, (2020). Bleeding Nose: An Unusual Anxiety Symptom. www.calmclinic.com
2. Sandra M. (2020). Nosebleeds Are Stressful, but Does Stress Cause Them? greatest.com