Nosebleeds and Nasal Polyps Symptoms and Treatments
Most nosebleeds happen following a fall or blow to the face. They also occur from pressure applied to delicate vessels in the nasal lining, by picking or blowing, when weakened by a cold or other inflammation. Nasal polyps are non-cancerous swellings in the nasal lining common in hay fever sufferers, which may also cause nosebleeds, as can high blood pressure and stress.
- Bright red blood trickles from one or both nostrils
- Apart from a blow or fall, no pain is felt
- Nausea and occasionally vomiting if the person is frightened or swallows blood
- When polyps are present, difficulty in breathing through the nose
- Polyps can interfere with your sense of smell
Apply cold compresses or ice cubes to the bridge of the nose.
Vitamins and Minerals
Follow a general whole food diet rich in mucus membrane - strengthening nutrients. Specific dietary supplements are as for mouth ulcers and tonsillitis. Some studies suggest that nasal polyps may be partly due to a deficiency of zinc and/or vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). You could take a multivitamin/mineral supplement containing these, or add them to such a baseline supplement. The RDA of zinc (found in oysters, beef, egg yolk, fish and maple syrup) is 15 mg and you can safely double this dose for a week or so to see whether the condition improves. Pyridoxine, found in rice, seafood, avocados and bananas, has an RDA of 2 mg for an adult. Take at least double this amount for a week or so to test any benefits.
Cotton wool moistened with an infusion or decoction of yarrow can be packed gently into the affected nostril(s).
To soothe a person in pain following a blow or fall where injury does not warrant medical attention, heat a little carrier oil in a burner and add 2-3 drops of ylang-ylang, orange, basil, lavender or melissa essence. Or place a couple of drops of any of these in a basin of cold water, and wring out a clean flannel in it before wiping the person's face, once bleeding has ceased.
Bach Flower Remedies
To counteract effects of panic or fright following a fall, or the sight of blood, use the Star of Bethlehem remedy, or Rescue Remedy
Specific remedies for nosebleeds, to be taken every 2 minutes for up to ten doses, are: Arnica 6c for a nosebleed following injury; Ipecac 6c when blood is bright red; Phosphorus 6c for bleeding induced by violent nose-blowing; Hamamelis 6c for a nosebleed accompanied by a headache aggravated by sitting forward; or Ferrum phos. 6c for bright red blood, when the person feels faint, and especially useful if looking pale.
Specific remedies for nasal polyps, to be taken 4 times daily for up to 3 weeks, are: Calcarea 6c for loss of smell, swollen bridge of nose, dry, sore, ulcerated nostrils and offensive yellow catarrh, cold hands and feet; Phosphorus 6c for nasal polyps that bleed easily; and Psorinum 6c for chronic post-nasal drip, down the back of the throat, when the person is weak and chilly.
Treatment for nosebleeds requiring medical attention includes the insertion of small inflatable balloons in the upper part of the nasal cavity and packing with a gauze wick. Any accompanying injuries to the head and face would be dealt with appropriately. Nasal polyps can be removed surgically under a general anesthetic, but they have a tendency to recur.
- Wear a face guard for appropriate sports.
- Eliminate risks of falls in elderly or disabled people by removing obstacles.
- Keep children's nails short and smooth to discourage picking.
- Keep sharp implements away from toddlers to prevent insertion in the nose (or elsewhere).
- For serious head or facial injury, call for professional help urgently. Otherwise:
- Sit the person down in front of a basin and pinch the tip of the nose for 10 minutes.
- Release gently, and apply for another 5 minutes if still bleeding.
- Apply ice cubes or a cold compress to the bridge of the nose.
- Do not ignore a persistent nosebleed - seek medical advice if first-aid measures fail.