What causes bleeding from the mouth and nose after death


Bleeding from the nose and mouth after death is a phenomenon that is not well understood. It often occurs with no underlying pathology, and can affect any corpse regardless of age or sex. While there are a few theories as to why it happens, there is still no definite answer as to what causes postmortem bleeding. This paper will discuss the potential causes, possible treatments and preventive measures that are available in order to lessen or prevent this occurrence.

First and foremost, it has been hypothesized that postmortem bleeding could be caused by the buildup of pressure around the gums, leading to eventual rupture of tiny blood vessels in the tissue under the skin. This pressure could be due to several factors such as swelling of the body after death or excessive tightening of muscles during rigor mortis. Additionally, medical treatments such as resuscitation attempts or intubation or ventilation may also cause fluid build-up inside the nasal cavities and mouth cavity due to respiratory failure during these interventions. In rare cases, an individual may have suffered from an irreversible illness prior to their passing which could explain why terminal bleedings occur more commonly in certain patients.

Finally, methods used for embalming corpses have changed over time with modern techniques having beneficial effects on preventing postmortem bleeds in comparison to historically used fluids and methods.

Causes of Bleeding from the Mouth and Nose After Death

Bleeding from the nose and mouth after death is a common and alarming phenomenon. But what exactly causes this to happen? There are a few potential causes of bleeding from the mouth and nose after death. This article will explore what they are and how they can be addressed:

  • Cause 1
  • Cause 2
  • Cause 3
  • Cause 4

Blood Clotting Disorders

Blood clotting disorders, also known as coagulopathy, are a leading cause of bleeding from the mouth and nose after death. A normal clotting cycle occurs when tissue factor (a substance found in the vessel walls) comes into contact with the factors II-VII-X of the intrinsic, contact and common pathways. This triggers the conversion of prothrombin to thrombin, which forms fibrin that binds red blood cells together to form a clot. In some cases, however, this process fails and can cause uncontrollable bleeds at any time – even in a deceased individual.

Common blood clotting disorders that can lead to postmortem bleeding include:

  • Hemophilia A and B (characterized by genetic deficiencies in factor VIII or IX respectively);
  • Von Willebrand disease (caused by deficiencies in factor VIII or vWF abnormalities);
  • Vitamin K deficiency;
  • Liver disease;
  • Anticoagulant overdose or deficiency;
  • Resistance or hypersensitivity reactions to other medications;
  • Fibrinolysis abnormalities;
  • and Thrombocytopenia (low platelet count).

In some cases, even traumatic death can result in hemorrhaging if the force is great enough to rupture delicate vessels without triggering successful clot formation.

Physical Trauma

Physical trauma is a common cause of bleeding from the mouth and nose after death. If a person has suffered any type of physical trauma prior to death, such as a fall, the impact can cause blood vessels in the neck, nose and mouth to break and bleed. Another common source of physical trauma that can contribute to postmorten bleeding is strangulation. If any type of ligature or other material has been used to restrict the flow of blood in the neck during life, it may also lead to postmortem bleeding.

In some cases, physical trauma can also cause other internal injuries that lead to significant internal bleeding prior to death. This type of internal bleeding will often lead to distension or enlargement of the abdomen after death due in part to the accumulation of blood within organs including the stomach and intestinal tract.

Internal Bleeding

Internal bleeding is a common cause of bleeding from the mouth or nose after death. Internal bleeding is when blood from the circulatory system comes out of an internal organ, tissue, and/or cavity. This can be caused by a variety of conditions, such as a rupture in any major vessels, organ damage due to inflammation or trauma, or injuries that may occur during a struggle before death.

A ruptured aneurysm in the brain is especially prone to cause post-mortem hemorrhage from both the nose and mouth and cause us to bleed after death. Additionally, so called ‘vigor mortis’ can induce contraction of facial muscles and forcibly eject fluid (blood included) present in nasal passages and hollow tooth sockets through both the mouth and nose. In some cases it can also lead to distension of dentures which can also cause mouthing after death if not appropriately secured before cremation.

Ultimately, it is important to consult with a trusted health professional in order to rule out any concerning medical conditions that could potentially be causing these symptoms after death.


When a person dies, there can be bleeding observed from the nose and/or mouth. This is not necessarily an indication of a violent death or poisoning as it is often seen in natural death, too. Bleeding from the mouth and nose after death may occur due to various causes such as infection, traumatic damage to the nose and mouth structure and buildup of gases.

  • Infection: When someone is ill for a long time before passing away, the body’s immune system becomes weakened and more susceptible to infections. If an individual has bacterial or viral infection in their throat or nasal passages before their death, this could lead to bleeding after death. Even if this infection was not fatal itself, it could still cause blood to seep out when the body starts to decay postmortem.
  • Traumatic Damage: There are times when an individual has suffered physical trauma that caused damage to either the nose or mouth structure resulting in ruptured capillaries that then ooze out blood after death. This type of internal trauma can also be caused by blunt force injury on the face due to assault or accidents which then leads to post-mortem bleeding.
  • Buildup of Gases: Decomposition occurs soon after death and causes air pressure buildup within the lungs leading two gases like carbon dioxide escaping through other body openings such as nostrils and mouths which may lead to regurgitation of partially digested material leading bleed during this process.

Treatment and Prevention

Postmortem hemorrhage is also known as bleeding from the mouth and nose after death. This is a condition that can occur up to 24 hours after death and is caused by the release of pooled blood from blood vessels in the body after death. Let’s explore how it can be treated and prevented.

Treatment of Blood Clotting Disorders

When treating blood clotting disorders, it is important to find out which factor or factors of the coagulation system are affected. The medical professional may want to perform certain tests such as a bleeding time test, prothrombin time test, activated partial thromboplastin time test or fibrinogen level test in order to get an accurate diagnosis of the issue.

If a deficiency in clotting factors is detected, treatments such as transfusions of fresh frozen plasma (FFP) and cryoprecipitate can be used to supplement the patient’s levels. For those who have an acquired condition causing poor blood clotting due to elevated fibrinolysis activity, antifibrinolytics such as tranexamic acid may be used. In some situations where there is an underlying cause for the condition (such as infection or cancer), treatment for that specific condition will be necessary in order to reduce the risk of further bleeding episodes.

Finally, for more severe cases of acquired blood clotting deficits, medications such as heparin may be prescribed in order to normalize coagulation by preventing thrombosis from occurring.

Treatment of Physical Trauma

In cases where physical trauma is a contributing factor to bleeding from the mouth and nose after death, medical professionals may need to assess the extent of the trauma and provide appropriate treatments.

If there are any open wounds or abrasions in or around the mouth or nose, these should be cleaned and treated with antiseptic ointments or bandages to prevent further infection. Other medical treatments such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications, or stitches may be needed depending on the condition of the deceased. Treatment of any underlying physical conditions that could have caused the bleeding (e.g., cancer) should also be considered based on their individual needs. Additionally, shock prevention methods can be used if necessary.

Treatment of Internal Bleeding

When internal bleeding is the suspected cause of bleeding from the nose and mouth in a dead individual, medical treatment is often not possible. However, there are measures that can be taken to reduce factors that may have led to such bleeding.

If the individual was taking certain medications prior to death, notification of this should be given to the medical examiner or coroner who may consider withdrawing these drugs. Additionally, if any history of liver or kidney problems is known by family members or others who knew the deceased prior to their passing, any prescription medications he or she was taking should be discussed with his or her physician or healthcare team prior to discontinuation. This will help reduce possible causes of internal hemorrhage which may have contributed to bleeding from the mouth and nose after death.

It is also important for family members and other close contacts with a deceased individual to keep in mind situational factors that could contribute as a potential cause for internal bleeding such as:

  • Overexertion/extreme physical activity
  • Heavy use/abuse of alcohol and/or drugs
  • Extreme emotional stress and shock during dying process just before death

Family members and close friends are in an ideal position to convey important information about any recent environmental events that could have triggered overdose on prescribed medications which could have caused excessive internal blood loss leading up to time of death.

Treatment of Infection

Treatment of infection-related bleeding from the nose and mouth after death is directed at the underlying cause of the bleeding. If a bacterial infection is suspected, antibiotics may be prescribed. Viral infections can be treated with antiviral drugs depending on the type of virus causing the infection.

Infection due to poor hygiene or a weakened immune system can be prevented by maintaining good hygiene practices such as washing hands regularly and avoiding contact with sick people. People with weakened immune systems should receive regular medical care to help prevent infections.

If an infectious agent (such as a virus or bacteria) is known to cause bleeding from the nose and mouth after death, it is important to keep family members and those in close contact healthy and vaccinated against that particular illness. Vaccines are available for many diseases that are known to cause bleeding from the nose and mouth after death, such as:

  • Varicella-zoster virus (shingles)
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Hepatitis B
  • Measles
  • Rubella (German measles)
  • Rabies


After much research, it is still unclear what causes bleeding from the mouth and nose after death. Factors such as pressure built up in the head may contribute to this phenomenon, as may an impaired clotting system due to age or other medical conditions. While it is good to be aware of these potential causes, it is important to note that not all cases of post-mortem bleeding can be explained by them. It is likely that some cases are related to environmental factors and final positioning of the deceased before death.

Further investigation into what causes bleeding from the mouth and nose after death may shed more light on this subject in future years.