Why does it look like a murder scene when I blow my nose?
July 11, 2011 8:17 AM   Subscribe

Why does it look like a murder scene when I blow my nose?

I'm a healthy, 20-something male, but my right nostril has been causing me some problems over the past week or two. Basically, it appears to be kind of an open wound kind of thing. So, if i stick my finger straight up my nose towards my eyeball, no blood to speak of. However, when I start moving my finger into my head towards my brain I hit 'the spot'. The blood is obviously mixed with some mucous and isn't dripping out of my nose or anything, but it's pretty gross. When I blow my nose, I have to be careful to do it in private and wipe my face off afterwards because of all the extra blood on my upper lip.

Sometimes, I'll blow more solid chunks of solidified blood out and FREQUENTLY blow out thin films/sheets of mucous that look like a contact lens (size and consistency) that appear to be forming on the inside of my nostril (septum side).

Recently, I've increased my running to about 20-30 miles/week. I was previously weightlifting for my primary form of exercise, so I'm not really out of shape. It is extremely hot and humid (Virginia) where I am, but I stay hydrated.

I've started to stick Aquafor in my nose over 'the spot' to see if that helps and it does a little. Less 'crusty' and painful when trying to dislodge solid pieces.

If this doesn't stop soon, I'm going to go see a doctor (yes, I know that will be the most favorited response). In the meantime, is there anything else to try? Humidifier? Benadryl or any OTC medications that may help? Finally, is this SERIOUS or a more routine, make-an-appointment-and-wait-a-week kind of things?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (10 answers total)
kid... stop sticking your finger in your nose to 'dislodge' bits. It might be trying to scab and heal- if you keep scraping it off, it'll keep re-forming. That's how your body heals wounds.

and yeah go to the doctor if it's painful and not healing.
posted by Blisterlips at 8:21 AM on July 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

AND- IANYD= but it sounds like you got a nose bleed- which is common because the blood vessles are really close to the surface and mucous membrains in your nose are thin and delecate- and then you've been picking at the wound- which NEVER HELPS.
posted by Blisterlips at 8:25 AM on July 11, 2011

Mr.likeso used to get regular nosebleeds, particularly when the seasons change and/or the air gets drier (and then of course like you, he'd pick at things, create a scab and pick at that). Bunch of shirts ruined over the years, not to mention interesting car rides.

It's apparently due to thinner skin and more delicate nasal capillaries and it's hereditary. His father had the cauterizing procedure done; sadly the benefits only lasted a year or so and he was back to square one. But we've solved it: put a little dab of Vaseline in the nostril. Will help things heal more quickly and bonus, are is not as much fun to pick at. Do this every day until it's healed, and then preventatively once or twice a week.
posted by likeso at 8:31 AM on July 11, 2011

Wait, leave it the heck alone.

If it continues to be a problem, a doctor may perform an in-office procedure by dabbing some silver nitrate on a wee stick and cauterizing the open (or just very near the surface) blood vessels with the silver nitrate. That part does hurt but is highly effective, the results may last for a couple of years through the remainder of your life.

I had a bad spring of colds and allergies once, resulting in nosebleeds at the slightest provocation. Sneezing too hard? Nosebleed. Got too dry at night? Nosebleed. I could voluntarily start one by wrinkling my nose and just pumping my blood pressure a bit. Nosebleed.

A doctor did the silver nitrate trick and it has yet to be a problem for me since.
posted by adipocere at 8:36 AM on July 11, 2011

I have had uncountable nosebleeds, and here is my advice to you:
1) For god's sake, stop sticking your finger up your nose.
2) Don't blow your nose any more than strictly necessary. It can dislodge and scabbing that may have formed. Scabs are good things, the first stage of healing over the wound in your nose. Don't rub it if you can help it, either.
3) You can try a humidifier. It may help, though my memory of Virginia in the summer is that it was basically at 100% humidity from June to August anyway.
4) Are you on any medication? Particularly inhaled corticosteroids, such as Flonase, which can cause nosebleeds. If so, talk to your doctor.
5) It it gets acute (blood dripping out of your nose) don't tip your head back. This does not stop the bleeding, only makes it flow down your throat and into your stomach. This may produce an upset stomach. Tilt your head forward and let the blood drain out your nose. You can pinch the bridge of your nose a bit if it makes you feel better, I never noticed that it made a difference in stopping the nosebleed.
It will probably heal itself if you leave it alone. If it isn't better in a week or so, see a doctor.
posted by Adridne at 8:47 AM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

When I was 9, I had a terrible nosebleed necessitating a trip to the emergency room. Afterward, I had my nose cauterized. It didn't hurt at all, and that nostril has never bled again.

Immediately after my nose hemorrhage, I wasn't supposed to blow or pick for a week or two, to prevent further bleeding. You should probably keep your finger out of your nose, too.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 9:16 AM on July 11, 2011

When I have a really prolonged sinus situation, I get sores in my nose, often way up high: I can press on the outside of my nose and feel where it's sore on the inside (if that makes sense - external pressure, not finger-in-nostril) kind of like a really deep zit . They bleed when I blow my nose. If I'm better about using saline rinse/spray routinely, it isn't as bad.

You might have your doctor test your nose for MRSA colonization. It could just be bleeding from drainage fatigue, but if you're colonized they might actually be small staph infections.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:59 AM on July 11, 2011

I have had good results using Bag Balm on trouble spots in my nose. It seems to help things heal without forming scabs.

IANYD. Bag Balm is not FDA approved for use on humans.
posted by Bruce H. at 12:02 PM on July 11, 2011

That part does hurt but is highly effective, the results may last for a couple of years through the remainder of your life.

Yes and yes. May I emphasize the hurt. Another commenter above said their cauterization with silver nitrate didn't hurt, but my experience was the exact opposite. I really learned the definition of "cauterize" the day I was taken to see someone about my frequent, copious nosebleeds. Luckily I only needed to have it done once, and that was when I was a child.
posted by pinky at 6:27 PM on July 11, 2011

Put some Neosporin (antibacterial ointment) up there a few times a day, and go to a doctor if it doesn't get better.
posted by unknowncommand at 8:27 PM on July 11, 2011

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