Bloody nose and headache

If you have a bloody nose and headache, you're probably if it's serious or just a temporary inconvenience. Nosebleeds are common enough - there are many blood vessels in the nose, and it's easy for them to break.

There can be simple causes such as dry weather or, let's face it, nose picking. But there are times when a nosebleed can be serious.

Bloody nose and headache - a head injury

A common cause of bloody nose and headache is a blow to the head.  If you've been hit in the head, consider seeing a doctor right away.  Some related tips for a hit in the head can be found in this migraine news entry.

Sometimes, due to a blow to the head or other reasons, the large blood vessels in the back of the nose can be damaged.  This is called a posterior nosebleed.  Posterior nosebleed is especially common in the elderly, or those with high blood pressure.  You can be tipped off that this is going on if the bleeding is coming from the back of the nose and the blood is coming from both nostrils.  Sometimes the blood may even run down the back of your throat.

Bloody nose and headache - loss of blood

Another possible cause of the headache is simply loss of blood.  If there is a lot of bleeding, and if the bleeding has continued for a long time, the loss of blood can be serious enough to cause a headache.  It is possible to bleed to death from a nose bleed.  If you're losing that much blood, it is imperative that you go to the emergency room right away!

Summary of danger signs

Here are some reasons to seek immediate medical attention:
   ¤ The blood is gushing, and you're losing large amounts of blood
   ¤ The bleeding has continued for more than 15 minutes
   ¤ The person has lost consciousness
   ¤ There are signs of posterior nosebleed, as mentioned above
   ¤ The person is having trouble breathing
   ¤ There has been a serious head injury

Milder nosebleeds

If you're not in danger, you probably don't have bloody nose and headache.  At least, the headache probably isn't a result of the bleeding.  Here are some quick tips for dealing with a common bloody nose:
   ¤ Get a cloth to catch the blood
   ¤ Sit or stand with your head above your heart, and tilt your head slightly forward.
   ¤ Blow the clots out of your nose.  Do this just once, then stop blowing your nose.
   ¤ Pinch the soft part of your nose, just below the bony part.  Keep the pressure on without stopping for about 10 minutes.
   ¤ During this time, do not blow your nose or stop applying pressure.  You may want a cold compress or ice pack on your nose or cheeks.
   ¤ After 10 minutes, check to see if the bleeding has stopped.  If not, apply pressure for another 10 minutes.
   ¤ If the bleeding stops, try to avoid activity for a few hours.  Don't blow your nose, or do any heavy lifting.
   ¤ If the bleeding has not stopped after 20-30 minutes, see a doctor right away.

Remember, if you have a bloody nose and headache, it's possible that there could be a serious cause.  Seek medical attention right away.


References:  WebMD Health article on Nosebleeds; FamilyDoctor.org article on Nosebleeds Reviewed by Dr Kathleen M. Cronan, Aug 2004; Douglas Hoffman, MD, PhD information on bloody nose and headache