Nosebleed (nose bleed) due to food


Reader stories
The science
More information

Keywords: food intolerance, nosebleed, nose bleed



Nosebleeds can be linked to food intolerance. Heat may be an apparent trigger with nosebleeds - but if you look further back you may find a food - e.g. dairy, salicylates, amines or additives - that can cause nosebleeds in susceptible people.

There is an inherited vascular disorder called HHT which leads to frequent nosebleeds connected with salicylates. Aspirin is listed as 'an agent to avoid' for HHT patients with significant nose (or gastointestinal) bleeding.

Reader stories

[1170] Nosebleeds due to amines? (January 2013)

Prior to easter we had been strict failsafe the results have been great and my son has been a pleasure to take out. We have had chocolate over the easter break - not a lot in comparison to other years, but oviously too much. This morning my son is bouncing of the walls (obviously the chocolate) no more chocolate, back on failsafe. As well, my son, daughter and myself have been having nose bleeds. We have all had period when we have had nose bleeds in the past but not put it down to food before - but obviously now wondering if they could be linked to the chocolate (amines). - Kylie, by email

[1169] Nosebleeds due to junky snacks (January 2013)

During my daughter's first week in primary school I caved in to her demands to allow her to take Twisties for a snack 'just like all the other children'. Two packets in one week, and two of the WORST nosebleeds imaginable. Combine that with M&Ms to get her to do all the homework, and I'm sure you get the picture! It turned out to be a good thing, as when I explained the connection, she was so frightened by the nosebleeds that she now asks me if food is 'friendly' before eating it, and is unusually compliant about it all. - by email

[1168] Nosebleeds due to dairy foods (January 2013)

While doing the elimination diet, it has become obvious that for me and my son, the cause of our frequent nosebleeds is too many dairy products - usually combined with getting very hot during exercise or because of the weather. If we avoid A1 dairy products (A2 is okay) we can get hot without getting nosebleeds. - by email

[958] 282: Mumbles and nosebleeds (October 2010)

About 4 weeks ago i removed 282 (bread preservative calcium propionate) from my sons diet and he improved greatly, he would only speak in a mumble, he suffered from many nose bleeds in the week, was very negative about everything, not affectionate, didn't interact at preschool, would not co-operate at speech therapy. The change has been great he is talking so much more, he has not had a nose bleed since stopping 282, he is loving to everyone, he was great at speech did everything he was asked and sat still, interacts with others and notices things around him so much more - Reader by email.

[1171] Nosebleeds thread from Facebook group (January 2013)

Post: My 5yo suffers blood noses and we suspect salicylates. Has anyone else experienced this? We did the elim diet for our 2yo and don't think he had any during that time. Anyone else have this problem?? He gets leg pains too from to many sals (though he can have a lot more than FS levels) - Andrea.

Edited responses:

My DS used to get nose bleeds from amines – Teresa (Good to know as I hadn't considered amines, as he's pretty much ok with them.. – Andrea)

Our son had nosebleeds from amines for many years until we found out what caused them. But it may be salicylates for some – Howard (Because our son is a fruit addict I had just thought it was salicylates and hadn't considered amines. But now I will! – Andrea)

My son gets nosebleeds from sals. He does not get them anymore and is low sals, moderate amines. I have never suspected amines, thanks for the info - Chelsea

We had nosebleeds for 5 years. Had tonsils, adenoids removed, multiple cauterizations, toooooo many rounds of antibiotics for sinus infections...all to no avail. They stopped on elimination and reoccurred on both the salicylate and amine challenges (bedwetting also). Can't wait to be back at baseline! – Nicki (Thanks for the info. My family keep saying "he's probably just prone to them"...mmm yeah right. Plus they don't really think sals do anything. My son's seem to worse in summer and rather than being the heat I think its the summer fruit. You have all given me the reinforcement to trust my instincts again! I'm going to reduce sals as I'm fairly confident that's the issue and see if there's any effect, then challenge. Would be nice to have a week without one! – Andrea)

Ya, Andrea we got the same thing...even from the medical community of "experts" one knows our kids like we do. - Nicki

When you say summer fruits... which ones? – Teresa (We especially noticed when he gorged himself on watermelon. But he also eats apples, strawberries (though we have cut those out now), melons, mango, bananas & grapes. But we noticed the sals connection after he ate loads of watermelon in one day, and honey (which he loves). So we are reducing sals for a week and will try and keep them at a more moderate level. My helpful family said it was the heat, but he didn't get nose bleeds during 40+ temps last week! – Andrea)

My son had bloody noses all the time especially in summer when we seem to eat more fruit. He has salicylates and amines intolerances, before we found out this he was sent to an ears, nose and throat specialist as his nose wasn't growing outwards... Tracy (wow what a difference. It's so good to hear so I know I'm on the right track! If I had to have his nose cauterised my family would think that's fine, but cut out fruit and they think I'm bonkers – Andrea)

Thank u so much for this thread... Have a friend with a 3 year old who has blood noses and he eats so much watermelon I don't know how he isn't one yet! – Emma

[988] Annatto 160b: Head banging due to food causes nose bleeds and deformation of the skull (March 2011)

From introduction of solids when my baby daughter was 4 months old, she banged her head more or less continually, to the point of making her nose bleed constantly and causing deformation of the skull. She was always covered in big bruises and it was so bad we could never go out, I couldn't even leave her alone to go to the toilet. After 18 months of this, we discovered your website 3 weeks ago (when she was nearly 2) and found she was eating heaps of annatto 160b in yoghurt and Kraft cheese as well as some other suspect foods. Although she improved, removing annatto alone was not enough. After a drastic change of diet (we switched to unhomogenised milk only), the head banging stopped completely and we are now slowly reintroducing foods. We cannot thank you enough. No one else mentioned diet. – parents at Launceston talk, Tas

The Science

I couldn't find anything in the medical literature about food intolerance as a possible cause of nosebleeds (epistaxis). However I did find one report that could be interpreted as salicylate-induced nosebleeds, although that's not how the authors saw it (1). Their article reports the case of an otherwise healthy 25-year-old man with difficult-to-control epistaxis who had recently started self-medicating with a combination of aspirin, garlic tablets and milk thistle. Curiously, these authors chose to ignore the aspirin and instead suggested that garlic increases bleeding time and milk thistle alters the function of liver enzymes, both of which may have contributed to the difficulty in his management of epistaxis. Yet aspirin is listed as 'an agent to avoid' in HHT patients with significant nose bleeding (2).

Scientific references

1. Shakeel M, Trinidade A, McCluney N, Clive B. Complementary and alternative medicine in epistaxis: a point worth considering during the patient's history.Eur J Emerg Med. 2010 Feb;17(1):17-9.

2. McDonald J, Pyeritz RE. Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia. In: Pagon RA, Bird TD, Dolan CR, Stephens K, Adam MP, editors. GeneReviews™ [Internet]. Seattle (WA): University of Washington, Seattle; 1993-2000 [updated 2012]

More information

Introduction to food intolerance

HHT factsheet

The information given is not intended as medical advice. Always consult with your doctor for underlying illness. Before beginning dietary investigation, consult a dietician with an interest in food intolerance. You can see our list of experienced and supportive dietitians 

© Sue Dengate January 2013



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