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Blood clots in the nose can be the result of sinus infection, trauma, low humidity, or a reaction to medication. They should be treated like a nosebleed, and the patient should seek assistance if they become an ongoing problem. There are also some steps patients can take to prevent nosebleeds and blood clots, and these can be especially important when a patient is already at risk.
In a sinus infection, the air-filled cavities around the face fill with fluid and become inflamed. Sometimes, inflammation leads to bleeding and clotting, and the patient may notice a bloody discharge with pus and other materials. If a patient is undergoing treatment for a sinus infection, blood clots in the nose can indicate that the infection is starting to clear and the sinuses are draining. Patients may also notice clots after nose or sinus surgery, a sign that some bleeding is occurring inside the nose.
Trauma to the face can cause a nosebleed and may also lead to clotting. If a patient has had a recent nosebleed, sometimes blood clots in the nose appear. The bleeding vessels will clot and scab off, but shaking the head or moving suddenly may dislodge the clots, allowing the nose to start bleeding again. Clots can also be seen with patients who use inhalation drugs like cocaine, as these irritate the nasal lining and cause sores and bleeds.
Low humidity is another common culprit. In very dry conditions, the mucous membranes inside the nose start to dry out and become fragile. The patient might develop a small bleed that clots, and later throws the clot when she blows her nose. Patients can control for low humidity by applying moisturizer to the inside of the nose. A simple moisturizing jelly is often enough to take care of the problem. This can be a good idea for patients who use nasal cannulae as well, because their noses tend to dry out from the steady flow of air.
Some medications are known to cause nosebleeds. Patients on chemotherapy and similarly aggressive drug regimens can develop a variety of side effects, including bleeding in the nose. These patients may experience blood clots and will notice them when they blow their noses to clear mucus. The clots can also cause itching and irritation, which may lead the patient to blow her nose in an attempt to clear it out.
Nose picking can also lead to blood clots in the nose. If a patient picks the nose aggressively, he can cut the inside. The cuts will clot over and they may appear when he picks his nose again. This can create a cycle of bleeding and clotting, as the patient will keep exposing the cut. This will cause the nose to bleed more and may trigger more nose picking, as the patient will want to clear the itchy scabs and clots.