Lifestyle and dietary influences on nosebleed severity in hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia

Laryngoscope. 2013 May;123(5):1092-9. doi: 10.1002/lary.23893. Epub 2013 Feb 12.


Objectives/hypothesis: To identify factors influencing the severity of epistaxis in hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT).

Study design: Participants with and without HHT were recruited from a specialist service and online following advertisement by the HHT Foundation International. Both groups were asked to complete a nonbiased questionnaire.

Methods: The reported effects of specific treatments or lifestyle factors on epistaxis were assigned positive values if beneficial, negative values if detrimental, or zero if "no difference" and were summed to enable statistical analysis.

Results: Epistaxis affected 649 of 666 (97%) participants with HHT and was significantly more frequent than in control participants. Specialist invasive treatments were reported as beneficial, laser therapy more frequently than cauterization. Medical treatments commonly used for HHT epistaxis (female hormones, antiestrogens, tranexamic acid, aminocaproic acid, nasal creams, and bevacizumab) also had significantly positive (beneficial) scores. Lifestyle and dietary factors were generally detrimental, but room humidification, nasal lubrication, and saline treatments were all reported as beneficial (95% confidence intervals greater than zero). Multiple food items were volunteered as being detrimental to epistaxis. The most frequently reported items were alcohol (n = 45; 6.8% of participants) and spices (n = 26, 3.9% of participants). Remaining foods reported to exacerbate epistaxis were also found to be high in salicylates (including red wine, spices, chocolate, coffee, and certain fruits), natural antiplatelet activity (garlic, ginger, ginseng, ginkgo biloba, and vitamin E15), or omega-3 acids (oily fish, salmon).

Conclusions: This study supports existing treatments and suggests lifestyle and dietary maneuvers that may also improve nosebleeds in HHT.

Level of evidence: 2c.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diet*
  • Epistaxis / etiology
  • Epistaxis / prevention & control*
  • Epistaxis / psychology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Telangiectasia, Hereditary Hemorrhagic / complications*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult