What Causes Headaches?

Migraine headache

Headaches are pain that arise from either on or both sides of your head. This can lead to aching pain in the upper area of your body, including your jaws, neck and shoulders. The pain comes from the tissues and structures that are around the brain – the periosteum, muscles and meninges can become inflamed or irritated, leading to discomfort[5]. The headache can be dull, sharp, throbbing, mild, throbbing, or intense.

The type of pain and location of the headache can be an indicator of which headache you are experiencing. Migraine headaches tend to occur on one side of the head and can be accompanied by nausea and problems with vision. Tense headaches occur on both sides of the head[1].

What Causes Nosebleeds?

Nosebleeds refer to bleeding from the nose. They occur when blood vessels in the nose burst or break. People are susceptible to bleeding from the nose because of its central location on the face and the large number of blood vessels[1]. The nose’s protrusion from the face makes it susceptible to getting hit, leading to a nosebleed. Nosebleeds can also occur due to dryness. The mucous membranes in the nose may become dry, resulting in cracking and bleeding. Nosebleeds are especially common in dry climates, or during the winter when there is heating indoors.

What Does the Combination of Headaches and Nosebleeds Indicate?

Frequent headaches and nosebleeds can be an indicator of a number of things, ranging from minor to severe. Some of these conditions are a result of the external environment, while others are an indicator of health issues. Here are a number of possibilities:

  • Dryness in the air: Dryness can lead to cracking and bleeding membranes in the nose, resulting in nosebleeds. You can also develop a headache from changes in the air.
  • Head trauma: If you are hit on the head with an object, or run into something headfirst, this could result in both a nosebleed and a headache. The large blood vessels at the back of the nose can be damaged as a result. Bleeding due to damaged blood vessels at the back of the nose is called a posterior nosebleed.
  • High blood pressure: High blood pressure is more likely to occur as you age and your blood vessels become stiffer over time. Nosebleeds as a result of high blood pressure require medical attention, as your chances of a stroke, heart attack or death are increased[2].
  • Anemia. Anemia is a condition in which people have a lower than normal red blood cell count. Headaches and nosebleeds are symptoms of anemia, alongside fatigue, pale skin and difficulty breathing. While anemia is normally thought of as a minor condition, it can be harmful and dangerous. Low red blood cell counts can mean that the vital organs are not receiving sufficient amounts of oxygen. If you suspect that you may have anemia, you should do a check up to confirm and treat yourself accordingly.
  • Usage of blood thinning medications. People who take medications that prevent regular blood clotting, such as aspirin, are more susceptible to nosebleeds. Minor trauma, such as nose picking, can result in heavy bleeding.
  • Sinus infection. In this situation, sinus infection can result in frequent headaches. However, it is not correlated with nosebleeds. People with sinus infections often overuse decongestants such as nasal sprays. The decongestants make the nasal membranes dry and crack, leading to nosebleeds.
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How Do I Treat A Nosebleed and Headache?

Here are some tips to manage your nosebleed:

  • Sit up and lean forward to reduce nasal blood pressure while preventing blood from entering the mouth.
  • Pinch your nose to reduce pressure and help stop bleeding.
  • Place a cooling pad or ice pack over your nose to help constrict the blood vessels.

If you also have a headache, here are some ways to help manage:

  • Sit in a quiet, cool place if possible
  • Place something cold over your forehead, such as a cooling pad or ice pack
  • Take time off to relax

Determine how often you have nosebleeds and headaches. If this is a regular occurrence, such as everyday or almost everyday, it is definitely a cause for concern and should be brought up with your doctor. Having a nosebleed everyday is not normal and should be checked.

If your nosebleed lasts for over 20 minutes and/or you are suffering from excessive bleeding, seek medical help. Also, if you have just suffered a head trauma, particularly to the nose, you should immediately go to the emergency room. It is possible that your nose has been broken and is resulting in major blood loss.

How Are Frequent Nosebleeds and Headaches Medically Treated?

Doctor and patient relationship

After your doctor has performed a check-up and done the necessary testing, your doctor can prescribe the proper medication. If it is a case of high blood pressure, you will most likely require lifelong treatment. Your doctor may prescribe medication for you to take on a regular basis; these medicines will either remove extra fluid and salt from your body, or slow down the heart rate and widen blood vessels. You will most likely need to take a type of pill to manage high blood pressure[3].

In the case of anemia, you may be required to take medication to help your body produce more red blood cells or to treat your condition. These medicines include antibiotics to fight infections, and hormones to treat heavy bleeding. In the case of severe anemia, you may be required to undergo a medical procedure, such as blood transfusion, blood and marrow stem cell transplant or surgery[6].

For headaches, your doctor may prescribe medication to ease the pain. Medication that also acts as a blood thinner should be avoided, since they worsen nosebleeds.Man eating apple

How Do I Care For Myself?

Stress and a hectic lifestyle can lead to headaches. Try to manage your stress levels and take time for yourself. Drink lots of water to keep hydrated and feeling refreshed.

Depending on your condition, your doctor may encourage you to eat certain types of foods and to maintain a certain diet[4]. Nevertheless, it is always important to eat healthily ad take care of your body.