Nose trauma may cause the septum, which is the region between the nostrils, to gather blood. This is referred to as a septal hematoma. The trauma results in the blood vessels being weakened or broken, which leads to the septum lining pulling away from the cartilage and forming a pocket, allowing blood to pool and accumulate. The surrounding area becomes sore and looks swollen, a red flag that may be present in a septal hematoma. In general, any kind of nasal fracture or injury, the most common type of trauma to the face, causes septal hematomas. All the common causes of septal hematoma are broken nose, surgery, or soft tissue damage.

Types of nasal trauma 

External and internal causes may result in nasal trauma. That is, obviously, external trauma when some sort of force is exerted on the nose. Some widespread examples include:

  • Falling
  • Injuries during sporting activities
  • Vehicle accidents
  • Physical assault or abuse

When something enters the nose and causes damage to the cartilage or the blood vessels, internal nasal trauma usually occurs. Common causes of nasal internal trauma include:

  • Inhaling irritants, like chemicals or fumes from cleaners, pesticides, noxious fumes, etc.
  • Infections from nasal piercings
  • Drug use, specifically, sniffing, snorting, or inhaling cocaine or other illegal drugs or legal substances, like glue, used for the same purpose
  • Infections due to the inside of the nose-picking or scratching
  • Placement inside the nose of a foreign object, which is very common with children

Septal hematomas are usually fairly easy to diagnose because the nasal septum is usually thin and rigid. The area will be soft to the touch, and between the nostrils, your doctor will look for swelling. Symptoms you may observe on your own may include the following:

  • Difficulty in breathing through the nose
  • Congestion not explained by a cold or allergy
  • Bruising
  • The overall shape of the nose may appear to be changed
  • Headaches
  • Feeling nauseous
  • Vomiting
  • Feeling faint or fainting

It is necessary to apply ice or a cold pack to the area and make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible if there is damage to the nose that causes severe pain, bleeding, or swelling. If there is evidence of septal hematoma, urgent therapy would be needed to avoid further complications. There would be a need to drain the septal hematoma. This can be achieved with a small incision that will allow the blood to drain, depending on the extent of the swelling, or a larger area may require a more thorough procedure.

To believe that nasal damage can automatically repair itself is a mistake. Fever, inflammation, or abscess may all be the beginning of conditions that are far more severe. A septal hematoma, left to continue to develop, can result in the development of a saddle nose or even in the cartilage between the nostrils dying entirely due to lack of blood supply. It is important to seek your healthcare professional’s advice and treatment earlier rather than later.

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