Nosebleeds and Food Allergies: Is There a Connection?

nosebleeds caused by allergy
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Out of nowhere your daughter keeps getting nosebleeds.  She can be sitting at the table doing her homework and suddenly gets one. Or while you are heading out to soccer practice, it starts again. It seems puzzling that the nosebleeds seem to have no rhyme or reason, but you know you need to get to the bottom of it.  While you are trying to rule out the causes of the nosebleeds, there is one cause you cannot overlook.

  Believe it or not but food allergies may actually be the cause of the nosebleeds. 

Food Allergies

Food allergy symptoms can vary from person to person depending on the severity of the allergy.  Among the more common symptoms are itchy eyes, coughing, stomachaches, nausea, tingly lips, and diarrhea.  Depending on the allergy, the reactions can also be life threatening, and include an anaphylactic reaction.  With over 15 million people diagnosed with allergies in the United States, there is a great need for a true awareness and understanding on how to care for someone having an allergic reaction.

As someone experiences symptoms that might be linked to a food allergy, it is recommended that they seek medical attention to get a proper diagnosis.  Some people can immediately isolate the food that may be causing a reaction and begin to remove that item from their diet.  For others, the symptoms may not be as easy to identify, requiring more medical attention and additional testing to diagnose the allergen.

For a number of people nosebleeds are the result of a food allergy.  When someone has allergies, they can have a reaction that causes nasal swelling. When this occurs the capillaries become more susceptible to bursting, resulting in nosebleeds.  Many people with allergies tend to rub their noses, which may contribute to the nosebleed.

  Another issue is that many allergy medications can dry out nasal passages, that also lead to bleeding.  

While there are many food allergies that might cause nosebleeds, dairy products have been found to be linked to this reaction. Many studies on food sensitivities and lactose intolerance have found them to be linked to an array of reactions, including nosebleeds.  And on the flip side, those who have a milk allergy, and have eliminated all dairy from their diet, need also be aware of this connection. 

There is evidence that a calcium deficiency can also result in nosebleeds.  Bottom line is that for those with food allergies it is very important to supplement with the right foods to be sure that all your vitamin and mineral needs are met, namely calcium

Diet plays a role in other ways to cause bloody noses. Studies show that a diet primarily made up of “dry” foods, such as sugar, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, and meat proteins can have this effect. These foods wind up dehydrating the body by using up water, and thus causing the inside of the nose itself to be dry.


The Nosebleed

The actual nosebleed should not last for more than a few minutes. If it lasts longer than about 10 minutes, it is important to contact your doctor.  And if the nosebleeds are happening on a semi-regular or ongoing basis, they also need to be discussed with your physician to determine the cause. 

When you or your child have a nosebleed there are some important factors to consider:

  • Try not to pick or rub your nose if you are susceptible to nosebleeds. It may be difficult to avoid when you have a runny or itchy nose, but try to limit this action.
  • It is important to keep the head tilted forward and apply direct pressure.  This means pinching the soft part of the nose against the center with two fingers. Hold this position for 5-10 minutes until bleeding subsides.
  • Do not put anything up the nose to try to absorb the bleeding.
  • Use a folded piece of tissue or a small folded cardboard piece between the upper lip and gum, in the front. This pressure has been found to help stop the bleeding. 
  • Never blow your nose while having a nosebleed, as it may prevent the bleeding from clotting. 
  • Do try to stay in a relaxed state, as this can help to slow the bleeding.
  • Do not tilt your head back, as this may cause the blood to run down the back of the throat and this may result in choking. 

While food allergies may not be what is causing yours or your child’s nosebleed, it is something to discuss with your doctor. Allergies are often a cause that is overlooked and may be the easiest one to eliminate.  Once your food allergies are diagnosed, you will be able to lead a healthy life, and one hopefully free of the on-going nosebleeds. 

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