Merck Manual

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Some Causes and Features of Nosebleeds

Some Causes and Features of Nosebleeds


Common Features† and Tests


Blowing or picking the nose

A blow or other injury to the nose

In people who report such behavior or injuries

Drying of the moist membranes lining the nose, as may occur in cold weather

Usually dryness that is seen during the examination

Less common

Usually in older people

In people who have had nosebleeds or other bleeding in other areas, such as the gums

Blood tests, such as a complete blood cell count and tests to measure how quickly blood clots, may be done

Often recurring nosebleeds and/or a foul-smelling discharge from one side of the nose

A hole that can be seen during the examination

Sometimes in people who snort cocaine frequently

Nasal discharge, sometimes thick or discolored, and crusting in the nostrils

Often pain and drying of the moist membranes lining the nose

Dilated small blood vessels (telangiectasias) on the face, lips, membranes lining the mouth and nose, and tips of the fingers and toes

Usually in people with family members who have the disorder

In people who are known to have such disorders

Sometimes a mass that can be seen inside the nose

Bulging of the side of the nose

Computed tomography (CT) may be done

* Conditions that can cause nosebleeds are more likely to cause nosebleeds in people who also have a bleeding disorder or who take drugs that interfere with blood clotting. In such people, bleeding is often more severe and difficult to treat.

† Features include symptoms and results of the doctor's examination. Features mentioned are typical but not always present.