Fish Oil and Nose Bleeds

Nosebleeds remain one of the common side effects of taking fish oil supplements, especially in high doses. The omega-3 essential fatty acids found in fish oil affect platelets in your blood and clotting time. Many people take fish oil to reduce triglycerides, cholesterol and decrease their risk of stroke and heart attack. If you suffer from severe, persistent nosebleeds and other negative side effects of fish oil, consult with your medical professional.

Side effects of taking fish oil capsules include thinning of blood. (Image: thelefty/iStock/Getty Images)


Fish oil supplements cause blood to thin, resulting in increased nosebleeds. The platelets found in your blood decrease in clotting activity, when you consume fish oil. Being a natural blood thinner may be positive, but fish oil also increases bleeding time. If you suffer from a nosebleed, your blood may have difficulty clotting and it may take longer for the bleeding to stop.

Medication Interactions

Certain medications may affect your bleeding time when taken in combination with fish oil. If you are taking anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs, such as heparin, clopidogrel, dipyridamole and enoxaparin, be careful when mixing these drugs with fish oil. Don't forget about herbal supplements that also cause blood thinning. Ginkgo, garlic, willow, oregano and garlic in large doses are considered blood thinners. Discuss mixing these medications and supplements with your medical adviser.

Nosebleed Treatment

Nosebleeds are a common occurrence and rarely call for emergency intervention. Pinch your nose shut with your fingers to stop the flow of blood. Sit down and slightly lean forward to decrease blood flow and ensure you are not swallowing blood. Continue to pinch your nose closed for five to 10 minutes. If bleeding occurs again, blow your nose to remove all blood clots and administer a decongestant nasal spray. Seek medical intervention if you suffer from frequent nosebleeds or are unable to stop the blood flow.

Additional Side Effects

Besides nosebleeds, taking fish oil may result in additional side effects related to bleeding. You may notice large bruises on your skin, indicating that bleeding is occurring internally. Your gums may bleed, especially after brushing. In unusual circumstances, a person can suffer from a rare form of hemorrhagic stroke. Blood vessels burst and rupture, causing bleeding in the brain. The condition is serious and requires immediate emergency care. Signs and symptoms include confusion, dizziness, slurred speech, difficulty following directions and loss of consciousness.

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