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What are the Common Causes of a Headache and a Nosebleed?

Nicole Madison
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Having a headache and a nosebleed at the same time is both worrisome and uncomfortable. Among the most common causes of these symptoms are such serious conditions as high blood pressure or anemia. In some cases, a head injury may be at fault instead. In addition, minor causes such as dryness and overuse of decongestant nasal sprays may contribute to this problem.

One of the most common causes of headache and a nosebleed is over-dryness. Often, winter heating is the culprit in such a case. For example, the dry heat in a person’s home may cause his mucous membranes to become too dry, resulting in cracking and bleeding. At the same time, this level of dryness may cause the affected person to develop a headache. Often, using a humidifier in a dry room will help minimize these symptoms.

Sometimes such symptoms as headache and a nosebleed have more serious origins. For example, a person may develop these symptoms in relation to high blood pressure. If an individual with high blood pressure develops these symptoms, he may do well to seek swift medical attention. Left unchecked, high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, or other serious health problems.

When a person has a headache and a nosebleed on a frequent basis, this may also be a sign that he is anemic. Anemia is a condition marked by a lower-than-normal red blood cell count. Some people with anemia may develop headaches and nosebleeds as well as such symptoms as fatigue, pale skin, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations. While many people think of anemia as a minor condition, it can cause some serious health consequences. If a person’s red blood cell count drops too low, for instance, his vital organs may receive too little oxygen; nerve damage may occur as well.

A head injury may also cause a headache and a nosebleed. The nosebleed typically develops as a result of damage to blood vessels in the rear part of the nose. This can affect people at any age but often develops in elderly people. It may also appear more frequently in people who have high blood pressure.

Sometimes a person with a sinus infection will also develop a headache and a nosebleed. Generally, in such a case, the headache is related to the sinus infection. The nosebleed, however, usually has a different cause. Often, people with sinus infections overuse decongestants, which cause the nose to become dry and irritated, which can result in bleeding.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By anon970378 — On Sep 17, 2014

I'm 18, and a college student. It was Thursday of last week that I woke up not feeling good. I had been sneezing and had a runny nose. Then the afternoon that I got to school, I started to have a headache. So while I was in class I was sneezing and my head hurt. I told my blockmates that I was not feeling well, but one of them didn't get the message and managed to tick me off. That made me cry, which is unusual for me.

And starting that moment until the next day, I had a headache that wasn't tamed until I woke up Saturday morning. I brushed my teeth, washed my face and bam! There's blood dripping from my nose. But it only lasted for like a minute or two.

It was scary though, but I didn't get to a doctor because my nose hasn't bled again until now.

By anon925400 — On Jan 11, 2014

I have extremely bad headaches. Sometimes the pain radiates to the back of my ear,which can feel like a really bad earache at the same time. Days later, I can feel blood draining in my throat and then the nosebleed starts. I am seriously freaking out.

By anon352587 — On Oct 23, 2013

At times, I am unsure of the causes of my headaches and nosebleeds. When I was living in the country where it's cold, I used to have nosebleeds, but not often. One day I fainted at school and that's when I found out I have both low blood count and low blood pressure. That explains the bleeding nose, headaches and dizziness.

Now I am living in a town area that's even hotter. I get headaches and nosebleeds often. Sometimes I freak to see the amount of blood coming out of my nose. I am thankful I know the cause.

By John57 — On Aug 06, 2012

A few years ago I noticed I was getting constant headaches. When I woke up in the middle of the night with a nosebleed, I was really concerned.

This was in the middle of winter and I also had a dry cough that wouldn't go away. Someone suggested I put a humidifier in my bedroom. I can't believe how much of a difference this made.

Just by adding some moisture to the air, took care of all the symptoms I was having. Now I make sure and run a humidifier about 6 months out of the year. Not only do I sleep better, but I feel so much better too.

I was so glad that something so inexpensive and simple as a humidifier made all the difference for me.

By golf07 — On Aug 05, 2012

The only time I have a severe headache and a nosebleed is when I am in high altitude. Every time I go to the mountains, I pretty much expect this to happen.

The first time I got a nosebleed I was on a hike in the mountains, and it kind of freaked me out. I thought something was seriously wrong with me.

Now that I am older, I know that if I am in a place where the air is really thin, and I feel a headache coming on, a nosebleed will probably follow.

By bagley79 — On Aug 05, 2012

@sunshined-- I have no idea if there is a hereditary connection between them, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was.

Headaches are something that many members of my family struggle with, so I was not surprised when both of my kids started complaining of headaches as they got older.

I try not to take any medicine for them because I don't want my kids to see me reaching for a bottle of pills every time I have a headache. I know I often get a headache when I have low blood sugar symptoms.

I have to eat something every few hours to keep my blood sugar stable. If I wait too long between meals, the first thing that happens is a bad headache.

Because I know this about myself, I also try to make sure my kids don't skip meals either. Hopefully this will eliminate some headaches before they even start. Neither one of them have had a nosebleed yet, and I think that would be something that would really scare them -- and me.

By sunshined — On Aug 04, 2012

Are nosebleeds and headaches hereditary conditions? When I was growing up I remember getting both of these things during the winter.

My son is about 5 years old, and he had his first nosebleed the other day, and I wonder if this is something that has been known to be hereditary?

I hope he doesn't start to get headaches too.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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