Nosebleeds, known medically as epistaxis, occur when blood vessels rupture within the nasal mucous. For some people, exercise may aggravate some common causes of nosebleeds.

Nosebleeds are generally benign and will stop without the need for medical attention. The most common cause of nosebleeds is drying of the nasal membrane, which exercise may induce.

Other several potential causes of nosebleeds include local and systemic causes, environmental factors, and medication side effects.

This article explores the causes of nosebleeds and how exercise may trigger or worsen them, which may lead to a nosebleed during a workout. We also consider treatments for nosebleeds and when to seek medical attention.

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Some common causes of nosebleeds during exercise are as follows.

Dry air

Exercising in dry air may contribute to drying out the nasal membrane. Experts indicate that people, particularly children, have a higher rate of nosebleeds in dry, low humidity conditions.

While few, if any studies, deal directly with nosebleeds and exercising in a dry environment, it is feasible that performing any exercise that causes someone to breathe more heavily in dry air could worsen the conditions that cause a nose bleed.

The air tends to be drier during winter when natural moisture outside is generally lower. Heating indoor areas can also lead to dry air inside.

Increase in blood pressure

Medical professionals take blood pressure readings using two figures. The first figure is the systolic pressure — the pressure on the heart as it contracts to push blood around the body. The second figure is the diastolic pressure — the pressure in the arteries during the resting period between heartbeats when the heart fills with blood.

During exercise, a person’s systolic pressure increases while diastolic pressure tends to drop slightly. This is not an issue for many people, and regular exercise is generally approved to help keep their heart and other systems healthy and functioning normally.

However, a 2019 study notes that if a person’s blood pressure regularly goes above 180 mm Hg frequently during exercise, they increase their risk of cardiovascular issues.

There is no consensus on whether high blood pressure (hypertension) bears a link to nosebleeds. One 2020 study, which featured 35,749 participants, suggested that patients with hypertension had an increased risk of nosebleeds requiring hospital admission for treatment.

If a person’s blood pressure rises significantly during exercise, it is possible they may experience a nosebleed.

If no other cause of a nosebleed is apparent, a person may want to speak with their doctor if they regularly experience exercise-induced nosebleeds.


Trauma to the nose can result in bleeding. A person can injure their nose during exercise, for example, through falls, running into things, dropping weights, a snapping fitness band, or receiving an impact to the face with a ball or other object while playing a sport.

A person should visit their doctor or emergency room to rule out concussion or other issues after experiencing any trauma to the face or head.


Allergens can contribute to a person experiencing nosebleeds. Therefore, exercising in an allergen-heavy environment could potentially cause a nosebleed.

Some tips to help a person avoid allergens when exercising outside include:

  • avoiding exercising on dry and windy days, where pollen and other allergens spread further
  • exercising in the morning when dew helps to hold allergens in place
  • participating in less strenuous exercises on high-allergen days
  • taking allergy medications as prescribed or recommended

Several factors not necessarily related to exercise can cause a person to experience more frequent nosebleeds. Some common causes of nosebleeds that may sometimes result in a nosebleed during exercise include:

A person may not need formal treatment when a nosebleed occurs. About 10% of total nosebleed cases require treatment, and most occur in younger children or older adults.

Often, a person can stop the bleeding by applying pressure and squeezing the anterior — the part of the nose not surrounded by bone — for about 10 minutes. If the bleeding does not stop or show signs of slowing, a person should visit an emergency room for care.

A person should consult a doctor if they experience blunt-force trauma while exercising or participating in a sport. They may need additional care and assessment to check for concussion.

A person may also want to talk with a doctor if other causes of a nosebleed during exercise are not obvious, such as running in dry air or exposure to allergens. The nosebleed may result from another underlying cause, such as hypertension, medication side effects, or another issue.

Several common factors can cause nosebleeds to occur, which exercise may exacerbate. Common factors include dry air, allergens, and trauma.

Other potential causes include medication side effects, alcohol use, and hypertension, which may result in a nosebleed during exercise.

People can usually stop a nosebleed by squeezing the anterior nose for around 10 minutes. If the bleeding does not stop or show signs of slowing, a person should visit an emergency room for treatment.