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Most nosebleeds are minor and can be stopped if you apply direct pressure by pinching your nostrils shut for 10 minutes. See how to stop a nosebleed. Bleeding in the back of the nose (posterior epistaxis) may cause a heavy nosebleed that continues after 10 to 20 minutes of home treatment. This type of nosebleed is less common and usually requires medical treatment to stop the bleeding.

Severe nosebleed

  • Moderate to large amounts of blood flowing continuously from the nose or down the throat despite 10 minutes of direct, continuous pressure to the nose
  • Bleeding that continues despite 20 minutes of direct, continuous pressure (2 times for 10 minutes each)

If severe bleeding occurs with signs of shock, call 911 or other emergency services immediately.

Moderate nosebleed

  • More than 3 episodes of small amounts of blood flowing from the nose or down the throat occurring over 24 hours
  • Bleeding that is controlled by direct, continuous pressure to the nose within 20 minutes (2 times for 10 minutes each)

Mild nosebleed

  • 2 to 3 episodes of mild bleeding in 24 hours
  • Bleeding that is controlled by direct, continuous pressure to the nose within 10 minutes, or bleeding stops on its own

You may be more likely to have problems with nosebleeds if you have other health problems that affect blood clotting, such as hemophilia or idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. You may also have more frequent nosebleeds if you take medicines that thin your blood, such as aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin, for example), enoxaparin (Lovenox), clopidogrel (Plavix), or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

It may be harder to stop a nosebleed if you have high blood pressure (hypertension). This is because blood is pumping at a higher pressure, so it may take longer for your blood to clot.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David Messenger, MD
Last Revised March 18, 2013

Last Revised: March 18, 2013

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