Why does my child often get nosebleeds?

Nosebleeds in children are very common. Some children are only affected occasionally while others are affected very often. Regular nosebleeds not only affect a child’s health but also affects their confidence and daily activities. This is also an issue that causes worry for the parents. In this article I will help you to find out the cause of the nosebleeds and give ideas about how Chinese medicine can help this situation.

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First of all, I want to introduce a successful case that I treated. At the beginning of this year I had a 7-year-old girl come to see me. Her mother told me that the girl had suffered from nosebleeds since 2 or 3 years old and increased when she started going to school. They became as regular as 2 to 3 times per week and even more often on the hot days. I checked the girl by Traditional Chinese diagnosis methods (tongue, pulse, signs and symptoms). The girl also presented with constipation, hard stools, unable to go to the toilet everyday, poor quality sleep (taking a while to fall asleep), dreams, sleep-walking, and a constantly dry, itchy nose.

I found that the cause of her nosebleeds was due to excessive Heat (or toxins) in the Lung & Large Intestine. I prescribed Chinese herbal medicine and made certain lifestyle and diet recommendations.  After 2 sessions of the treatment her nosebleeds stopped and the accompanying symptoms also disappeared. This case indicates that nosebleeds are treatable and it is important to find out the cause.

1. How the nose is associated with certain internal organs

Chinese Medicine considers that the nose is not an individual feature of the body, but rather connected to certain internal organs and channels. These include the Lungs and Large Intestine, as well as the channels of the Conception Vessel, Governing Vessel, Urinary Bladder and Stomach. If disorder of any of these organs or channels occurs, it will affect the function and circulation of the nose. I will list the common the causes of Nosebleeds.

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2. Causes of nosebleeds

i) Excessive Heat in the Lung
Chinese Medicine considers that the Lung opens the nose, which means that physically the Lungs support the structure and function of the nose as well as delivery of Qi and Blood to the nose. If the Lung has excessive Heat then this Heat will be transported to the nose making the nose dry and susceptible to nosebleeds. These types of people are also likely to experience the following symptoms: dry skin, dry throat, thirsty, body feels hot with easy perspiration, dry & itchy nose, sneezing or hay fever.

ii) Excessive Heat or Food Stagnation in the Large Intestine
The Large Intestine is indirectly connected to the nose by the Large Intestine channel. When the Large Intestine contains old stools or Heat, this Heat can be transferred to the nose through the channel and cause nosebleeds.  These types of people may also experience the following symptoms: constipation, abdominal bloating, strong foul-smelling wind, hungry and eating a lot, bad breath, disturbed sleep, emotional or high anxiety.

iii) Other Causes
In my clinical experience, I have seen other causes of nosebleeds:

a) old injury around the nose which has not been properly resolved;

b) blood vessels at a very superficial level of the membranes inside the nose are easily damaged or broken through in the hot weather;

c) damage or acute trauma to the outside of the nose (ie. a hit to the nose while playing);

d) damage or acute trauma to the inside of the nose (ie. scratching the inside of the nose);

e) chronic sinus problems (ie. infection, congestion, sinusitis);

f) fever – during a high temperature, Heat can rise to the head affected the nose and causing nosebleeds.

3. What you can do for nosebleeds

i) We encourage parents to check their children carefully, especially to find out what the child was doing or eating before the nosebleed started;

ii) See your Family Doctor and have the nose checked for physical, structural or pathological conditions that need to be addressed.

iii) If you are still unsure of the cause of the nosebleeds, we recommend consulting with your Traditional Chinese Practitioner.  When you come to see us, we check you by Traditional Diagnosis methods, as mentioned above, to find the cause of the nosebleeds.

iv) We will set up a treatment principle according to the specific cause of the nosebleeds.  At the same time, we will provide you with some suggestions for lifestyle and diet specific to your needs.

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4. Diet and lifestyle: common suggestions for nosebleeds

Chinese Medicine considers that suitable diet and lifestyle changes are very helpful in relieving nosebleeds:

i) Avoid strong and lengthy periods of exercise in a hot environment;

ii) After exercise, if the body is too hot, it is important to cool down – sit in the shade and have a little cold drink and food;

iii) Swimming is a suitable type of exercise which will cool the body and provide moisture;

iv) Avoid eating hot and spicy food such as chili, curry, deep-fried food, garlic, ginger, lamb, onion and chives (for more details, please see my diet therapy articles);

v) Encourage the child to eat more cooling foods, such as cucumber, celery, carrot, watermelon, pear, eggplant, tomato, orange, mung beans and lemon (for more details, please see my diet therapy articles);

vi) If your child has an old injury or infection around the nose, facial area, neck or shoulders, have this addressed and resolved as soon as possible.

I hope your children live with health and happiness!

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