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Harvard Medical School
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General Medical Questions
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Question : I keep getting a nose bleed from an area in my nostril that won’t heal completely. The scab does forms, but then it comes off and bleeds easily. What type of doctor should I visit for this? What causes it? Can it be treated?
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The Trusted Source
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David M. Vernick, M.D. is assistant professor of otology and laryngology at Harvard Medical School and chief of the Division of Otology and Laryngology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

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December 28, 2011
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A:

The nasal septum divides the right and left side of your nose. Most nose bleeds happen on the front part of the nasal septum, near the tip of the nose. This area of the septum has many tiny blood vessels, which are near the surface. If your nose is dry or injured, this can disrupt the inside lining and open one of the veins, which causes bleeding.

Most nosebleeds heal in a few days without much problem, as a scab forms over the injury. When a scab forms over the area of bleeding, it is no different than a scab anywhere else in the body. It protects the injured site until it has healed underneath. The scab will the fall off — usually in 5-7 days.

If the scab comes off before the injury heals, the area is likely to bleed again. Then the healing process has to start over again. This is a problem in the nose because scabs here narrow the airway and make it harder to breathe. So you might blow or pick your nose to remove the scab. This re-starts the bleeding and healing process.

If your nose has not healed, you should see an ENT (ear, nose and throat) doctor. He or she will first clean out your nose and examine it. The doctor will make sure it’s just a simple nosebleed, and not a problem such as a polyp or tumor.

He or she will identify the exact spot that is bleeding. An electric needle or silver nitrate stick is applied to the spot. If you then let your nose heal for 5-7 days, you will be fine.

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