Nosebleeds (epistaxis) are common in children. They usually resolve spontaneously but can be troublesome and worrying for both the children and parents.
Children often have dry nasal cavities and may pick their noses, leading to epistaxis. Some children have prominent blood vessels on their septum which can rupture and cause bleeding. This can usually be addressed with nasal cautery. Rare causes of nose bleeds include bleeding disorders or tumours inside the nose (uncommon in children).
The diagnosis is made by looking in the nose with a headlight to inspect the front of the septum (prominent blood vessels are found here) as well as with a small camera (nasendoscope) to assess the back of the nose. Dr Levin has a paediatric nasendoscope in his rooms to assess children who are of the appropriate age.
Occasionally, blood tests may be arranged for your child.
Applying pressure to the tip of the nose for 15 minutes will stop most nosebleeds. Often, conservative treatment which aims to keep the nose moist will also reduce the frequency of nosebleeds. This involves applying Vaseline or Papaw ointment to the front of the nostrils, and using a saline spray.
For persistent bleeding, chemical cautery with silver nitrate is effective. Only one nostril can be done at a time. Rarely, cautery in theatre with a bipolar machine may be necessary if the chemical cautery in the rooms does not work.
Dr Levin will be able to determine the likely cause of your child’s nosebleeds, and whether cautery in the office is likely to be helpful.