How does trauma cause epistaxis (nosebleed)?

Updated: May 08, 2020
  • Author: Quoc A Nguyen, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Self-induced trauma from repeated nasal picking can cause anterior septal mucosal ulceration and bleeding. This scenario is frequently observed in young children. Nasal foreign bodies that cause local trauma (eg, nasogastric and nasotracheal tubes) can be responsible for rare cases of epistaxis.

Acute facial and nasal trauma commonly leads to epistaxis. If the bleeding is from minor mucosal laceration, it is usually limited. However, extensive facial trauma can result in severe bleeding requiring nasal packing. In these patients, delayed epistaxis may signal the presence of a traumatic aneurysm.

Patients undergoing nasal surgery should be warned of the potential for epistaxis. As with nasal trauma, bleeding can range from minor (due to mucosal laceration) to severe (due to transection of a major vessel).

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