Nose bleed or epistaxis, an obstinate disease medically, refers to blood coming out from the nose or nasal passage, which occurs when the delicate capillary in the back part of this organ is damaged. Seemingly, it is only a nose bleeding symptom and there’s no need to make such a fuss.
But that really misses the point. If left untreated or not promptly treated, it might result in atrophy of nasal mucosa, anemia, low platelets, poor memory, impaired vision, low immunity, or even worse in asphyxia due to inhaling blood or clots into windpipe. Besides, nosebleed in a child may lead to difficulty concentrating, poor academic performance, and epiphora accompanied with blood clots. In the case of a nose bleed that won’t stop, it would profoundly affect the lives and well-being of the sufferers, or even ischemic shock and death in the end.
Since it may trigger so much unexpected severe consequences mentioned above, here comes a series of good questions: why does your nose bleed? How to stop a nose bleed? What is the best way to treat it quickly? Slow down please. In fact they are also the exact matters we are going to work on next.
What causes nose bleeds?
Actually the causes vary from patient to patient, such as nasal trauma, dry scab on mucous membranes, lesions caused by foreign acid-base matter, overheating due to excessive sun exposure, and too much drinking, etc. Frequent nose bleeds tend to be the complication in diseases of the cardiovascular system, intraperitoneal organ diseases, infections, blood disorders like leukemia, and others. A bleeding nose is often presumed to the problem of this sense organ itself, which undoubtedly is a sort of tunnel vision. This is especially true in the case of non-stop nose bleed.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) thinks that a bloody nose is the immediate result of the reversed flow of Qi and blood. Given that this sense organ pertains to lung orifice, nasal and sinus disorders, generally speaking, is closely related to the problems of lung and liver. It thus occurs when blood and Qi rise, especially in hotter lung Qi, which similarly can also cause bleeding from the iris or the base of the iris.
Normally the nose bleed causes are divided into two major categories – local and systemic causes. The former includes trauma, barotrauma, deflection of nasal septum, inflammations of chronic nonspecific and specific infection, tumor, and foreign body in nasal cavity. The latter covers hematologic diseases, acute infectious diseases (AID), cardiac vascular disease (CVD), drug and chemical poisoning, endocrine dyscrasia, hereditary hemotthagic telangiectasis, chronic kidney failure and hepatic failure, and genetics.
How to stop a nose bleed fast?
There are many recommended fast ways floating around outside, but unfortunately some of them are only myths. So, the first and most important task is to distinguish and avoid them before hand.
Myths about nosebleed
When nosebleeds occur, most would react off the top of your head to look up in order to stop your nose from bleeding. However, it is the typical first-aid mistake to many. This way may easily lead to the backflow of blood into organs like throat and stomach, which thus causes pessimal stimulation or even more dangerous situation like breathing or choking inside the air pipe and lung. The correct way to stop nose from bleeding, in fact, is by compression while keeping body upright as usual or upper body slightly forward. Mind you, by doing this it doesn’t matter even though small amounts of blood clots blocking the nasal cavity, which on the contrary helps blood coagulation and thus hemostasis.
Another common myth is that it confines only to this organ itself, for example, rhinitis and dry air. But to blame this specific sense organ seems totally miss the point here. Western medicine advocates treating it through simple surgery like welding or sealing blood vessels directly, which however can’t cure it thoroughly and prevent a recurrence, let alone the irreversible harm to the human body. TCM believes that this symptom is largely caused by the combination of deficiency of kidney yin and exuberance of liver fire. Clinically the most recommended formula is Quan Yi Tang, which is a classic TCM prescription frequently used to stop nose bleeds from happening due to fire excess from yin deficiency.
Treat a nose bleed
First of all, remember not to panic and treat it confidently when it occurs. Because the bleeding position in most sufferers is anterior and posterior nasal septum, patients can press inwards the suffering nosewing with fingers to anterior septum, or oppress nasal alae after stuffing soaked sponge of vasoconstrictive drugs like ephedrine sol, epinephrine, or Yunnan White Powder, which in most cases can stop it immediately. In addition, applying cold compresses on neck and forehead can bring some certain relief as well. If it won’t stop, especially in Kiesselbach’s area and rupture of capillary hemangioma, the best and fastest option is laser therapy for sure. If caused by dryness in nasal passage or atrophic rhinitis, some ointments are highly recommended. If caused by systemic disease, Chinese herbal remedies are also one of good choices besides of identifying and treating the primary disease.
Common TCM herbs for nosebleeds
TCM holds the view that epistaxis is mainly caused by excess fire in lung, stomach, and liver, which forces blood stampeding and then overflowing from the regular course. This is true to epistaxis triggered by infection, febrile illness, high blood pressure, and aberratio menstruorum. According to clinical experience, commonly used Chinese herbs are as follows:
(1). Heat pathogen invading lung
Sang Ye (White Mulberry Leaf), Ye Ju Hua (Wild Chrysanthemum Flower), Bo He (Field Mint, Mentha), Lian Qiao (Forsythia Fruit), Xing Ren (Apricot Seed), Bai Mao Gen (Japanese Blood Grass), Mu Dan Pi (Tree Peony Root Cortex), Ce Bai Ye (Biota Leaves), Huai Hua (Pagoda Tree Flower), Sheng Di Huang (Rehmannia), Da Ji (Japanese Thistle), Xiao Ji (Field Thistle), Ou Jie (Lotus Rhizome Nodes), and Xian Ai Ye (Fresh Mugwort Leaf, Moxa).
(2). Exuberance of stomach fire
Shi Gao (Gypsum), Zhi Mu (Anemarrhena Rhizome), Huang Lian (Coptis Rhizome), Zhi Zi (Cape Jasmine Fruit, Gardenia), Huang Qin (Baical Skullcap Root, Scutellaria), Mu Dan Pi (Tree Peony Root Cortex), Huai Niu Xi (Achyranthes Root), Bai Mao Gen (Japanese Blood Grass), Ce Bai Ye (Biota Leaves), Huai Hua (Pagoda Tree Flower), Yang Ti (Radix Rumicis Japonici), Da Ji (Japanese Thistle), Xiao Ji (Field Thistle), Qian Cao (Rubia), and Da Huang (Rhubarb).
(3). Liver fire flaring up
Long Dan Cao (Chinese Gentian Root, Gentiana), Chai Hu (Thorowax Root, Bupleurum), Zhi Zi (Cape Jasmine Fruit, Gardenia), Sang Bai Pi (Mulberry Root Bark), Huang Qin (Baical Skullcap Root, Scutellaria), Yu Jin (Tumeric Tuber), Mu Dan Pi (Tree Peony Root Cortex), Chi Shao (Red Peony Root), Bai Mao Gen (Japanese Blood Grass), Ce Bai Ye (Biota Leaves), Da Ji (Japanese Thistle), Xiao Ji (Field Thistle), He Ye (Lotus Leaf), Ou Jie (Lotus Rhizome Nodes), Qian Cao (Rubia), Pu Huang (Cattail Pollen, Bulrush), Huai Hua (Pagoda Tree Flower), and Han Lian Cao (Eclipta).