Frequent and severe nosebleeds

Patient

Q: I'm very concerned about my father. Over the last week, he has been getting severe nosebleeds for no apparent reason. Almost every day, usually at night, his nose just starts bleeding profusely and it can take up a half hour to stop. Some possibly relevant information: He has always had sensitive sinuses, but nothing like this has happened before. He is 59 years old, morbidly obese, and generally does not take care of his health at all, so I am extremely concerned. He has been under an unusually large amount of mental and emotional stress lately.

Doctor

A:   Nose bleeds can be an alarming condition despite the fact that they are quite common. There are many different causes, most of which will either resolve on their own or can be easily treated. It is not clear the cause in your father's case but below is a list of more common causes:

Trauma (even incidental trauma such as nose-picking especially in very dry conditions)
Infections/inflammation (Sinusitis, rhinitis)
Tumors
Bleeding Disorders

Based on your description it seems that sinusitis may be the most plausible reason for your father's nose bleeds. Therefore, appropriate treatment of the sinusitis will also stop the nose bleeds.  I suggest that your father see an ENT specialist to rule out a tumor given his age. Once that is done, therapy should be straightforward.

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