- A minor nosebleed that has stopped may require no treatment at all. Frequently, the body will form a clot at the site of the bleeding that stops any further bleeding.
- If the source of the bleeding is a blood vessel that is easily seen, a doctor may cauterize it (seal the blood vessel) with a chemical called silver nitrate. Cauterization is most effective when the bleeding is coming from the very front part of the nose.
- In more complicated cases, a nasal packing may be required to stop the bleeding. The idea behind this is to put pressure from inside the nostril to halt the bleeding. Many different types of packings are available, ranging from petroleum (Vaseline) gauze to balloon packs to synthetic sponge packs that expand when moistened. The decision as to which one to use is usually made by the doctor.
- Most people who receive an anterior nasal packing go home with it in place. Because these packings block the drainage pathways of the sinuses, antibiotics may be started to prevent a sinus infection. The packing is usually left in for 24 to 72 hours.
- A posterior nosebleed that does not stop bleeding on its own requires admission to the hospital. A posterior nasal packing is required. Different types of packings are available, though a balloon pack is most commonly used.
- Unlike the anterior nasal packings, posterior nasal packings are very uncomfortable and frequently require sedatives and pain medications. Complications can be associated with these packs, including infection and blockage of the breathing passages. Admission to the hospital and close monitoring are required.
- Posterior packings are usually left in place for 48 to 72 hours. If this does not stop the bleeding, surgical or radiologic procedures can be performed.
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Archived: March 20, 2014
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