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Thrombocytopenia: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Publisher/Author : Pacific Cross

This post is also available in: Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)


What is thrombocytopenia?

Platelets, or thrombocytes, are blood cells that play a key role in the blood clotting process. Thrombocytopenia happens because of the lack of blood platelet count.

This condition can be a result of a health problem or effects from certain medications. Thrombocytopenia may be mild and cause few signs or symptoms. In rare cases, the number of platelets may be so low that dangerous internal bleeding occurs.

How common is thrombocytopenia?

It can affect children and even adults at any age. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of thrombocytopenia?

Symptoms of thrombocytopenia depend on your platelet blood count. Some possible symptoms might be:

  • Bruises
  • Hives
  • Nose or gums bleeding
  • Unstoppably bleeding from wounds, even when they occurred from a long time ago
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Blood in the stools or urine
  • Tiredness

In more serious cases, you may bleed internally. The symptoms of internal bleeding include:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Blood in the stool
  • Bloody or very dark vomit

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.


What causes thrombocytopenia?

Thrombocytopenia can be a result of inherit factors or other medical problems

  • Bone marrow problems lead to the decreasing in the platelets production. Some health conditions below cause effects on the bone marrow’s function:
    • Leukemia
    • Anemia
    • Chemotherapy drugs
    • Deficiency in vitamin B12, folate or iron
    • Cirrhosis
  • Stuck platelets. Your spleen may be affected by a disorder and lose its functions in fighting against infection and ruling out harmful substances in your blood. When the spleen is widened, it can hold too much platelets that causing a reduction in platelets in the blood flows.
  • Platelets breakdown. Some health diseases can cause the destruction in platelets:
    • Pregnancy. Thrombocytopenia can occur during pregnancy but it will improve after birth
    • Immune thrombocytopenia is caused by autoimmune system disorders.
    • Bacteria in the blood. Bacterial infections can affect the blood vessels and destroy platelets
    • Thrombotic thrombocytopenia purpura is a rare condition happening due to the increasing in the small blood clot formation and use up a considerable amount of platelets
    • Hemolytic uremic syndrome is a rare condition commonly happening along with bacterial E.coli infection
    • Certain medications sometimes affect the immune system and decreasing the number of platelets, such as heparin, sulfa-containing antibiotics.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for thrombocytopenia?

There are many risk factors for thrombocytopenia, such as:

  • Certain health problems related to cancer, aplastic anemia, or autoimmune system
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Certain medications side effects
  • Viral infections
  • Heredity

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is thrombocytopenia diagnosed?

  • Your doctor will check your body first to find any bruises or hives that can be a symptom of thrombocytopenia through a physical exam. He/she may also ask you about family medical history and your health conditions, as well as the medications you are using.
  • Blood tests. Your doctor will perform a complete blood count test (CBC). He/she will have the amount of your overall blood cells, along with the number of platelets. Your doctor may also order blood-clotting tests to determine how long it takes your blood to clot and influencing factors.
  • Sound waves will be used to give the doctor a better look of your spleen if it is enlarged.
  • Bone marrow biopsy and aspiration to confirm any suspect at problems in the bone marrow system.

How is thrombocytopenia treated?

Treatments focus on the underlying causes. If thrombocytopenia is caused by a disease or medications, your doctor will offer a proper treatment for each condition. It your low platelet count is more severe, you may need some medical care including:

  • Blood or platelet transfusions to make up for the lost amount of platelets
  • Medications for suppressing immune system, corticoids to block platelet antibodies
  • Surgery may be required to remove the spleen if necessary

Lifestyle changes & Home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage thrombocytopenia?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with thrombocytopenia:

  • Avoid getting injuries from any activities or sports
  • Limit the use of alcohol
  • Be careful with over-the-counter medications to avoid harmful side effects

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you. Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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