Hemostasis or blood clotting refers to a highly complex process that the body uses for open internal or external wounds in order to keep the loss of blood as low as possible in the event of an injury.

In the case of a bleeding wound, various measures can support the body's natural hemostasis in order to speed up the process and keep blood loss as low as possible.
The first step is to take the pressure off - for example with a tightly applied compression bandage.
Any major bleeding wound should be examined by a doctor and treated if necessary. In the case of wounds that are not only superficial, the tetanus vaccination protection must be checked and if necessary refreshed.

Also read that Articles on the topic: First aid

How can I achieve hemostasis?

The most important measure to achieve hemostasis and to help the body to clot is to press the trigger.
Depending on the location, this can be done, for example, by applying a pressure bandage:
To do this, the wound dressing is first fixed with a wrap and then, for example, another roll is placed and wrapped in such a way that it exerts pressure on the bleeding.
The bandage should be tight enough that the bleeding stops, but not so tight that the fingers or feet turn blue from insufficient blood flow.
If the application of a pressure bandage does not succeed or is not possible, you can simply apply pressure to the bleeding with your own hand for a few minutes.
Please be sure to wear gloves and cover the wound with some compresses beforehand!

Learn all about the Printing compound and its correct attachment.

Another effective measure to achieve hemostasis is to elevate yourself if the source of the bleeding is located on an arm or leg.

In the case of heavy bleeding that cannot be stopped or only insufficiently stopped by the above measures, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible or an ambulance service should be called (dial 112).

A common cause of bleeding without an injury is nosebleeds.
Here, too, it applies that the body is usually in the best position to stop the bleeding itself and can be supported by simple but effective measures of local pressure and the use of gravity. Therefore, if you have a nosebleed, you should sit upright (less pressure in the blood vessels than, for example, when lying down).
In addition, you should squeeze your nostrils together for at least ten minutes without stopping. Often this is enough to stop the bleeding.

Read more about this in our article: How can you stop nosebleeds?

The hemostasis measures that are used in the context of a medical procedure such as an operation can be distinguished from the measures mentioned.
Nevertheless, hemostasis essentially follows the same principles and can be promoted in part by similar measures:

  • In the operating room, too, minor bleeding is often tackled with targeted pressure, for example with a compress on tweezers.
  • In the event of bleeding from a severed blood vessel, it is possible to stop it by tying it with a thread (ligature).
  • Stronger vessel stumps must be closed with a Z-shaped suture due to the higher pressure (piercing).
  • In addition, with some bleeding it is possible to stop it by using a tissue adhesive. This supports the blood's natural ability to clot.

Hemostasis by pressing

Squeezing is generally the simplest but usually also the most effective measure to achieve hemostasis.

The targeted pressure compresses the blood vessels so that the body's natural blood clotting can start faster and more effectively. If the bleeding is minor, this is usually enough to stop the bleeding.
In the case of heavier bleeding, for example from an open wound, the blood loss is kept as low as possible by pressing the trigger and medical care is made easier with a suture, for example.

When taking the trigger, care should be taken to ensure that the pressure is sufficient to stop the bleeding but not so strong that the blood flow to sloping body parts such as the fingers or feet is interrupted.

Hemostatic agents

There are various means that can be used to stimulate and support the body's natural hemostasis. There are chemical agents such as potassium alum on the one hand, and plant-based preparations such as a powder made from the flowers of the yarrow on the other.

In the case of minor injuries, these agents can lead to faster blood clotting. Nevertheless, they are dispensable and less effective than the simplest measure to support hemostasis, which can always be used and usually without any aids:
Squeezing the source of the bleeding for a few minutes.
With the help of this measure, the body usually manages to stop the bleeding itself during this time.

In any case, the various hemostatic agents should only be used for small bleeding, which the body can stop quickly without using them.
In the case of heavy bleeding, they should not be used, instead compression has absolute priority.
It may also be necessary to see a doctor.


There are special powders for special hemostasis applications.
They usually contain a combination of calcium and biological components that promote natural blood clotting.

One area of ​​application is, for example, bleeding in the oral cavity after dental procedures.
There are also hemostatic powders that can be used in the military as part of emergency care.

Hemostatic powders are of no importance for household use.

Pen to stop bleeding

A hemostatic pen is usually a product that contains potassium alum as an active ingredient. It is used for small superficial skin injuries, such as those that can occur when shaving. The potassium alum causes the blood vessels to contract and the bleeding to stop faster.

An unpleasant side effect is that the application burns and possibly hurts.
Use on superficial wounds is possible without hesitation. However, the bleeding can also be squeezed firmly with a clean cloth for two minutes.
As a rule, this is already sufficient to achieve hemostasis.

Hemostatic cotton wool

Hemostatic cotton wool usually consists of calcium alginate fibers, which are obtained from algae.
This cotton wool can be used to support blood clotting with small superficial bleeding as well as with nosebleeds.

To do this, some of the cotton wool is pulled out of the bottle with clean tweezers and applied directly to the location of the bleeding.
It must be ensured that with some specimens there is still a pink protective cotton wool at one end, which must be removed before insertion. The actual hemostatic cotton wool is not colored.
Their fibers promote the natural processes of blood clotting and do not have to be removed again as they dissolve and are broken down by the body.

As there are no known side effects, hemostatic cotton can be used without hesitation.
However, it should not be the only measure, but also an impression of the source of the bleeding (or the nostrils in the case of nose bleeding).

Please also read the article: Hemostatic cotton wool - the most important information summarized

How long does it take for bleeding to stop?

Hemostasis is based on a highly complex chain of various building blocks and factors in the blood. This is activated as soon as there is an injury and bleeding occurs. How long it takes for the bleeding to stop depends on the extent and location of the bleeding, the ability of the blood to clot and the measures taken to help stop the bleeding.

Smaller, superficial bleeding is usually stopped within a few minutes. Blood coagulation takes place much faster through pressing, but even without this the body is able to stop the bleeding. In the case of major injuries or nosebleeds, bleeding can take more than ten minutes to stop.

Bleeding that lasts longer than 15 minutes and cannot be stopped by applying sufficient pressure should be examined by a doctor.

Hemostasis in case of nosebleeds

Nosebleeds are a very common complaint that is usually harmless, can be stopped by simple measures, and in most cases does not require a doctor's visit.

The measures described apply to spontaneous nosebleeds with no apparent cause.
If you have a bloody nose from an injury such as a blow or if you have frequent nosebleeds, you should definitely consult a doctor.

In the case of a nosebleed, it is important to stay calm and act as a helper to calm the person affected.
Blood loss is rarely relevant to the body and is often overestimated.
The person concerned should sit upright and squeeze the nostrils together with the thumb or forefinger for at least five, better ten minutes without a break.

The head should best be tilted forward and supported if necessary.
Breathing through the mouth should be normal and calm. The pressure is then carefully relaxed. Often the bleeding has already stopped. Otherwise, pressure should be resumed and held for another ten minutes.

In addition, the neck can be cooled, for example, with a damp towel or a cold compress in a cloth. This also promotes hemostasis, as blood vessels contract when it is cold.

If the measures described do not lead to hemostasis, an emergency consultation with a doctor is indicated in the case of nosebleeds.
Likewise, people with an organic bleeding tendency (liver disease, hemophilia) or those who take blood-thinning medication, for example because of an arrhythmia, should consult a doctor early if they have nosebleeds.
The measures described should still be carried out.

Read more about this in our article: How can you stop nosebleeds?

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