Epistaxis is a medical term for nosebleeds. The nose is a very vascular area of the human body that is located in an anatomical vulnerable position on the facial surface. Since it is located close to the veins which are responsible for carrying blood back to the heart, nosebleeds are expected. However, since the nose is also a major channel through which mucus is drained, mucus build-up along with epistaxis can also be a problem.
Since the nose is at a very prominent place on the surface of the skin, any injury to it may cause severe injury to the skin and mucosal layer. If a person suffers from acute injuries to the nose, they may cause either: a single large or multiple small epistaxis. Another common cause of epistaxis is high blood pressure. High blood pressure causes the arteries to become narrower and their walls thicken. This results in an increased risk of bleeding disorders. The increased pressure in the arteries of the neck leads to swelling of the nasal tissues as well as the walls of the oropharynx. The nasal mucosa thickens and forms a hard deposit around the oropharynx, the common cause of epistaxis. The blood-thinning medications used to treat hypertension may cause epistaxis.
Other causes of epistaxis are injury to the oropharynx or the posterior nasal cavity. For example, when a car accident injures this area, pain and irritation of the ears may result. Other factors that can cause epistaxis are allergies, rhinitis (affecting the nose), asthma, sinusitis, and certain food allergies. In addition, damaged cartilage in the oropharynx and/or the posterior nasal cavity can also be a contributing factor.
Epistaxis due to trauma to the oropharynx or the posterior nasal cavity can sometimes be treated with anesthetics and antihistamines. The problem with these drugs is that they only provide temporary relief and do not address the underlying cause of the bleeding. It has been discovered that many nosebleeds can be the result of damaged blood vessels. When the damaged vessels are surgically removed, the problem of bleeding under the skin also disappears. Many physicians believe that the permanent correction of the underlying problems is the most important factor in correcting the problem of nosebleeds.
Treating acute epistaxis with anesthetics or antihistamines should not be considered as a cure for the problem, but merely a means to reduce the pain and prevent further bleeding. As mentioned above, damage to blood vessels resulting from external injuries, allergic reactions to specific foods or medications, or problems with the direct pressure of gravity on the nose can all result in nosebleeds. The use of steroids or local anesthetics during acute epistaxis can help to reduce pain and irritation, as well as to decrease the risk of complications that can occur as a result of prolonged or repeated nosebleeds.
Patients who have had prior migraines, a history of recurrent colds, or flu can be at increased risk of getting an acute migraine headache. In order to treat migraines, physicians commonly prescribe a class of medications known as antirheumatic drugs, or NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen. These medications are designed to control inflammation, and thus reduce the pain that is caused by vascular malformations. In order to prevent these types of structural vascular malformations from occurring in the future, doctors commonly prescribe the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug.