INNUMERABLE are they who all their lives have to suffer without any apparent cause from the inconvenience of sudden bleeding at the nose. Naturally, the person taken unawares by such haemorrhage for the first time, will be scared and imagine, maybe, some dreadful complaints has befallen him. It is, therefore, certainly worth while endeavouring to get at the root of this unpleasant occurrence, which, in the majority of cases, is found to be due to some defect or other in the pituitary membrane.
Haemorrhage results from the blood surging excessively to the surface of this membrane thereby causing the capillaries to burst, the bleeding generally occurring at the front part of the septum (the partition formed by the cartilage dividing the nostrils) where it joins the bone. It is not at all easy, however, to explain the cause of this bleeding. In cases of occasional nose bleeding, the cause is most probably due to some slight injury to the pituitary membrane. The slightest blow, a scarcely noticeable impact in fact, is all that is necessary very often to bring on nose bleeding.
Nose bleeding need not be caused solely by a slight or violent blow on the nose, ulcerous gatherings following a cold or adenoids may also tend to this form of haemorrhage. A careful examination, however, may very often show no existence of external or internal injury to the nose. In such an event nose bleeding can only be ascribed to a general state of ill-health which may constitute a poor, sickly quality of the blood, increased blood pressure or impeded circulation.
As regards a sickly state of the blood, this may signify anaemia, jaundice, increased presence of white corpuscles, or a defect in the coagulatory properties of the blood. Increased blood pressure is mostly an attendant symptom to arteriosclerosis (thickening of the arteries), although in an advanced stage of this latter complaint, other symptoms of illness will also inevitably become noticeable. So any elderly person suddenly beset with nose bleeding need not instantly put this down to a thickening of his arteries.
An impeded blood circulation, as mentioned above, is due chiefly to defective functioning of the heart, the kidneys, the liver, and upper air- passages. Many an authority also maintains that following upon a serious infectious illness, bacterial poisoning causes injury to the walls of the blood vessels and is thereby the cause of nose bleeding.
Particular mention may be made here to nose bleeding suffered by mountaineers and air-pilots when at high altitudes. Here, of course, there is no question of illness, but the occurrence is simply the unavoidable effect of exterior air pressure, susceptibility to which varies greatly in many persons.
In conclusion the connection between nose bleeding and menstruation may be referred to. It is easily explicable in the latter instance since the nervous system of the blood vessels is in a highly sensitive state at such a time.
In general it may be said that haemorrhage at the nose, for many reasons, can rarely attain a dangerous degree. It should be invariably borne in mind that the assertion of a sufferer from nose bleeding to the effect “he has lost pints of blood” is mostly over-exaggerated, as in most cases the flow of blood is caught in a basin generally containing water, and, due to the fact that blood dyes very strongly, the appearance of unusually profuse haemorrhage is the result.
Usually, the initial application of first aid towards stilling violent nose bleeding consists in bending back the head and simultaneously applying a sealing pressure to the nostrils. Cold compresses applied to the nape of the neck are likewise an excellent remedy.