Nosebleeds are rarely a cause for serious concern. Children are known to be inquisitive and experimental by nature, and sticking objects into their nose is a common occurrence. Other common causes for periodic nosebleeds are dry air or allergies. In these cases, parents usually discover the cause of the nosebleeds and can solve the issue, even if it requires a visit to the child’s pediatrician for allergy treatments.
Excessive nosebleeds that seem to persist or happen rather suddenly and often can be a symptom of a more serious issue. If your child or teenager experiences sudden, problematic nosebleeds for no apparent reason, you should see a vascular specialist for an examination. Excessive nosebleeds can be the first obvious sign of a rare genetic condition known as Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT) or Osler-Weber-Rendu Disease.
What is Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (Osler-Weber-Rendu Disease)?
This condition causes abnormally dilated blood vessels and the formation of connections between arteries and veins, called arteriovenous shunts. These can develop in any organ or bodily system, but are most common in the brain, lungs, liver and nose. Surface occurrences most often develop on the face, hands and chest. They appear bright red or purple and typically increase in number as the person grows older.
These formations can easily rupture and bleed, causing anemia or other complications; this propensity to bleed easily is why nosebleeds are a common first symptom. Other symptoms can include:
- Dark or bloody stools
- Shortness of breath
Unfortunately, internal vascular malformations can go undetected without advanced imaging. When excessive nosebleeds occur or other visible formations appear, a vascular specialist will likely schedule ultrasound, bubble tests for blood flow, MRI and/or CT scanning to determine if other malformations are present in the body.
Treatment for HHT in New York
At the Vascular Birthmark Institute in New York, we take a multidisciplinary approach to managing Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia, or HHT. Our team includes interventional radiology specialists, otolaryngology-head and neck surgeons, pediatric specialists, hematology and oncology specialists, genetic researchers and pulmonary experts.
Together, we address all the symptoms of the condition to help you live your best life. Common treatment protocols for HHT include transfusions, medications, sclerotherapy and laser therapy for treating venous malformations that could become problematic. Some surgical procedures may also be necessary to correct blood vessel problems or other skin problems. We can also recommend other lifestyle changes, such as nasal care and skincare routines to prevent bleeding.
Vascular Birthmark Institute has also partnered with researchers at the Feinstein Institute to work towards a better understanding and cure for HHT. Your primary care team leader here at the Institute will consult with you about the range of treatment options available and the best recommendations for your particular condition and its severity.
If your child or teenager experiences excessive nosebleeds that are unexplained by common ailments, schedule a consultation and exam with our specialists at the Vascular Birthmark Institute in New York. We have recognized expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of vascular malformations and HHT.