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Nosebleeds and Stress

Many people are not aware of the fact that there is a strong connection between nosebleeds and stress. Read this article to know how these two are related.
Bidisha Mukherjee
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
There are several tiny blood vessels under the lining of the nasal wall. If the delicate nasal membranes get cracked due to some reasons, a nosebleed happens. The medical term for bleeding of the nose is epistaxis. There are two different kinds of nosebleed. One is anterior nosebleed where the bleeding occurs from the blood vessels lying in the lower septum of the nostrils. The other one is posterior nosebleed where bleeding occurs in the deepest part of the nose, at the back. This second type of nosebleed happens to be more serious, as it is difficult to detect, and the blood flows down the back of the throat. Nosebleeds can happen to people of all age groups including small children.
Causes of Nose Bleeding
In small children, it is mostly a case of anterior nosebleed. That does not mean adults do not get anterior nosebleed. A few minor issues that cause such nosebleeds are:
  • Injury due to a direct blow to the nose or face
  • Scratching of the nose walls with fingernails
  • Blowing a blocked nose too hard
  • Dryness of the nasal membranes
  • High temperature and low humidity
  • Change in atmospheric pressure due to high altitude
  • Sinus inflammation due to upper respiratory infection or allergies
This is such a common occurrence, that most of the time we do not take it seriously. However, there are some serious causes as well. In such cases, posterior nosebleeds frequently occur. Here are a few causes:
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Growth of tumor in the nasal cavity
  • Side effects of medicines
  • Exposure to harsh chemicals
  • Use of narcotic drugs
How are Nosebleeds and Stress Related?
Stress is not one of the recognizable causes of a bleeding nose. However, it plays a major role in triggering a nosebleed. Hypertension alone is not responsible for this. Nosebleeds occur only when excessive mental stress accompanies high blood pressure.
Mental stress gives us a lot of unpleasant emotions like anxiety, fear, sadness, etc. The damaging effect of stress is not only confined to emotional health, but is also equally harmful to the physical health. When you are mentally stressed out, your brain reacts in a certain manner to bring about some changes in the functioning of the body, in an effort to cope up with the increased level of strain. In this condition, an increase in blood circulation is observed. As a result, the pressure within the blood vessels also increases, leading to high blood pressure.
When you are under too much of stress for a prolonged period of time, the blood pressure continues to rise abnormally. As a result, there is an excessive pressure build up within the blood vessels. At one point of time, the arteries cannot bear this high amount of pressure anymore, and they tend to get ruptured. In case the delicate arteries, present in the upper part of the nasal cavity, suffer this kind of damage due to a rise in blood pressure, then nosebleeds occur. These arteries at the back of the nose are responsible for supplying blood to the entire nasal cavity. Therefore, when they rupture, they obviously result in profuse bleeding. The worst part of stress-induced nose bleeding is that it starts without any warning signs.
How to Stop Nosebleeds
If you have nosebleeds, and you do not know the reason, do not panic. Your first priority is to stop the bleeding as soon as possible.
  • Sit straight and bend your head forward. This allows the blood to flow out of the nose.
  • Do not tilt your head backward, in order to prevent draining of the blood into the throat. This can cause choking.
  • Next, apply pressure on the nostrils by placing your thumb and index finger on the bridge of the nose. Continue to hold the nose with your fingers like this, for the next 10-15 minutes.
  • Inhale and exhale through the mouth. This way, you can facilitate clotting, and stop the bleeding.
  • Then, start applying an ice pack to speed up blood clotting.
These steps should stop the bleeding within 20 minutes. If it does not, then seek emergency medical intervention. If you have a medical history of high blood pressure, then too, you must report about your nosebleeds to your doctor without any delay.
Let's hope this article helps you to understand the relation between nosebleeds and stress, and its severity. If diagnosed with high blood pressure, you should try to keep yourself stress-free, in order to prevent any such serious consequences.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and not intended to replace the advice offered by a medical expert.