Should I Tilt My Head Back To Stop A Nosebleed?

Nosebleed. Mauro Fermariello/Science Photo Library/Getty Images

No, tilting your head back allows the blood to run down the back of your throat instead of out of your nose. Complications that can arise from blood running down the back of your throat include:

  • coughing
  • choking
  • vomiting if blood enters the stomach

Is It Safe To Stop My Nosebleed?

Prior to attempting to stop a nosebleed on your own, you should first determine if the nose bleed is actually a medical emergency due to the severity of the nosebleed.

You can determine the severity of your nosebleed by checking the following:

  • Is the bleeding caused by a traumatic facial injury like a broken nose?
  • Did you just have nasal or sinus surgery?
  • Do you have a known tumor in your nose?
  • Are you having other symptoms as a result of the bleeding, such as pale skin, confusion, chest pain or difficulty breathing?
  • Is blood running down the back of your throat? (posterior nosebleed)

If you answer yest to any of the above questions, you should seek medical attention immediately. Do not drive yourself, or ask other to drive you to the emergency department. The best solution for a nosebleed with complications related to the questions above is to call 911.

What Should I Do To Stop My Nosebleed?

You should first remain calm. Getting upset and nervous may cause actions that will cause further irritation in the nose and prevent clotting. In order to properly stop a nosebleed, you may need to make a few attempts and the entire process may take between 5 and 20 minutes.

What Causes Recurrent Nosebleeds?

  • Genetic causes like hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia
  • Previous, untreated facial trauma
  • Blood thinners
  • Picking your nose; out of habit or related to allergies or nasal dryness

Any of the above mentioned items can lead to having frequent nosebleeds. You can often stop these nosebleeds, however to further prevent them from recurring you should be evaluated by an otolaryngologist, or ENT physician.

What Will A Doctor Do To Stop My Nosebleeds?

In order to control a nosebleed that can't be stopped on your own, a physician will use the most appropriate therapy for the severity of your nosebleed. Common interventions include:

  • Cauterization
  • Nasal packing
  • 4% cocaine solution

What Can I Do To Help Prevent Nosebleeds From Recurring?

  • Use a humidifier, particularly in the winter months when the humidity is low
  • Keep nose moist with products like: Bacitracin, Vaseline, Vitamin A & D, or nasal saline sprays
  • Avoid picking your nose and keep nails short and neatly trimmed without sharp edges


American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery.(2010). Nosebleeds. Access on November 2, 2015 from

Goldenberg, D. & Goldstein, B.J. (2011). Handbook of Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery. New York City, NY:Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc.

UpToDate. (2015). Patient information: Nosebleeds (The Basics). Accessed on November 2, 2015 from

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