The Nose Knows - Nose Bleeds, Stuffy Nose and Pregnancy
If you are in your first trimester of pregnancy, you may be wondering about the "cold" you've suddenly come down with, and the occasional nose bleed that you're getting - especially since you can't remember having a nose bleed since you fell off your bike when you were six.
Well, as it turns out, both pregnancy rhinitis (the medical for a stuffy, runny nose) and pregnancy epistaxis (another medical word for nose bleed), are two common pregnancy symptoms. So, why aren't they on the list of most popular pregnancy symptoms, like morning sickness, cravings, and feeling exhausted? Probably because you don't really know it's a pregnancy symptom when it first happens.
Hormones Cause Stuffy Noses and Nose Bleeds in Pregnancy
We can thank hormones for these two gifts of pregnancy - especially estrogen. During pregnancy estrogen (and progesterone) levels rise and, combined with the increased blood flow necessary to nourish the placenta that feeds the baby, causes swelling in the mucus membranes of the nose and respiratory tract. The result is congestion that may well lead to nose bleeds. Another effect of this phenomenon is sensitive or bleeding gums.
Stuffy Nose in Pregnancy can Lead to Sinus Infection
Other conditions common during pregnancy that we don't hear too much about are ear and sinus conditions. Sinus infections may occur up to three times more often during pregnancy than otherwise. About 20 percent of pregnant women experience a runny nose during the second and third trimesters of their pregnancies. The runny nose can shift to a sinus infection relatively quickly in a pregnant woman, so if the evidence of a sinus infection is present, medical help is appropriate. The doctor may prescribe a penicillin drug or Erythromycin to treat a sinus infection during pregnancy. These drugs are considered safe and effective.
Pregnant women may be more susceptible to throat and lung infections that begin with rhinitis. The runny nose is a nuisance and it can lead to further complications so it is a good idea to have it checked early on to make sure the blocked, runny nose is a pregnancy symptom and not anything more serious.
Nose Bleeds in Pregnancy and the Seasons
Pregnancy rhinitis and nose bleed can be exacerbated during the various seasons of the year. In the winter, homes, schools and workplaces that are overheated and under-humidified create a perfect environment for nose bleeds. The dry air can dry out the nasal passages causing cracking and bleeding. Allergy-related rhinitis is predominant in the spring and summer when pollen levels peak.