Getting yourself into the sauna or the steam room should always be a relaxing and positive experience, but sometimes it can have an effect on your body that you might not be prepared for. You might be wondering; can you get a nosebleed from the sauna?
Using the sauna or steam room can cause you to have a nosebleed, in some rare cases. This is due to the steam itself, which can result in vasodilation and increased blood flow. If this happens regularly, then it can be a sign of a medical issue that should be addressed.
In the rest of the article, we are going to look at how the heat and moisture from saunas and steam rooms affect the body. And we will show you the steps you need to take to prevent nose bleeds during or after sauna sessions, among other things. Dive right in.
Table of Contents
- How Sauna & Steam Rooms Affect Your Body
- What Causes Nosebleeds During or After Sauna/Steam Room Baths?
- How to Stop Nosebleeds Immediately
- How to Prevent Nosebleeds During or After Sauna/Steam Room Sessions?
How Sauna & Steam Rooms Affect Your Body
Being in a steam room or a sauna will impact your body in a lot of different ways. There are a huge variety of positive effects and physical improvements that people experience and many cultures swear by the healing powers of these spaces. Some of the proven medical benefits include:
- Improved circulation
- Cardiovascular health benefits
- Pain relief
- Reduced stress
Some of the most significant of these effects are related to the way that the hot temperatures and moist air affect your cardiovascular system: which is the system by which your heart pumps blood around your body.
In the sauna, your heart rate increases, and your blood vessels dilate, meaning more blood flows to your skin and your circulatory system is able to function more healthily.
While a higher heart rate is typically a sign that the sauna is having a positive impact, actually replicating many of the benefits of cardiovascular exercise, it is not always healthy for every individual.
If you have cardiac problems or suffer from negative effects like overheating or light-headedness when using the sauna, then you might want to speak to your doctor.
What Causes Nosebleeds During or After Sauna/Steam Room Baths?
The reason why your nose might start bleeding when you have been in a warm and steamy environment is all down to how the steam affects your blood vessels. As previously mentioned, the hot, moist air interacting with your skin can cause the blood vessels at the surface to dilate, which improves circulation and allows the blood to flow more easily.
Therefore, more blood is reaching the surface of your skin – which will sometimes cause you to appear red and flushed.
A rare side effect of this means blood vessels that are damaged can bleed more readily. The blood vessels in your nose are very small and delicate, so they do bleed quite easily compared to other areas of your skin.
This vasodilation effect is also one of the reasons why saunas can give you some temporary relief when you are congested or have a blocked nose because it helps the blood to move around and reduces swelling.
How to Stop Nosebleeds Immediately
If your nose does start bleeding, it is usually a pretty simple and temporary issue. With that being said, there are a lot of misconceptions that people have about the right thing to do when it happens.
- Leave the sauna. Due to the vasodilating effects of the sauna and hygiene and safety concerns, you should always step out of the sauna if you are bleeding in any way.
- Sit down. Staying seated will help prevent you from becoming lightheaded and keep you safe in case you feel faint.
- Firmly pinch your nose. Take a firm grip on the soft part of your nose, just above where your nostrils are, for around 15 minutes. This will stem the flow of blood and allow the bleeding to slow down.
- Lean forwards, breathing through your mouth. While you are waiting, you should lean forwards rather than backward, so that the blood drains out of your nose rather than toward the back of your neck.
- Place something cool on the bridge of your nose. This can help to contract the blood vessels again. Use some ice or frozen vegetables if you can, but make sure they are wrapped in something and not directly touching your skin.
- Don’t lie down. Sitting up helps to reduce the blood pressure in the vessels of your nose, which should prevent further bleeding.
Most importantly: if the bleeding does not stop after 15 or 30 minutes, or it is particularly heavy, then you should speak to a medical professional.
You should also contact a doctor if:
- You suffer from a clotting disorder like hemophilia or are taking blood-thinning medication and the bleeding doesn’t stop.
- You are having regular nosebleeds
- You are experiencing heart palpitations, shortness of breath, or a pale complexion.
How to Prevent Nosebleeds During or After Sauna/Steam Room Sessions?
Preventing nosebleeds is all about avoiding any damage to the blood vessels inside your nose so that they are not likely to begin bleeding again.
To prevent nosebleeds:
- Avoid picking your nose
- Be gentle when you blow your nose, and try to do it as little as possible
- Avoid overly dry environments
- Protect your nose from injury
- Use nasal decongestants carefully
Interestingly enough, regularly using the sauna or steam room will often help to prevent nosebleeds rather than cause them.
The humid air stops the inside of your nose from drying out, which is when the blood vessels become more vulnerable to damage. Saline nasal products can also help in a similar way.
If you are experiencing frequent or heavy nosebleeds, then they can be a sign of something more serious, such as high blood pressure or a clotting disorder, which are problems that need to be addressed by a medical professional.
So, how can saunas or steam rooms cause nosebleeds and what should you do about it? It is quite rare, but the vasodilating effects of the hot and humid air can lead to a nosebleed if the blood vessels in your nose are already damaged. If they are not damaged, however, the moist air will actually help to prevent nosebleeds rather than cause them.
If you do get a nosebleed, you should sit down outside the sauna with your head tilted forwards and pinch the soft part of your nose for around 15 minutes.
(Featured image by Tharakorn Arunothai from Canva Photos)