Thrombocytopenic Purpura


Thrombocytopenic Purpura (Aftercare Instructions) Care Guide

  • Thrombocytopenic (throm-bo-si-to-PE-nik) purpura (PER-pu-rah) is a bleeding disorder where there are too few platelets in the blood. Platelets are blood cells that help stop bleeding by sticking together to form a clot. Thrombocytopenic purpura is also called immune or idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). Caregivers do not exactly know what causes ITP. It is thought that antibodies, that destroy germs, stick to the platelets and are destroyed by the liver. ITP in adults often develops slowly over a long period of time. Women are more often affected than men.

  • Signs of ITP may include petichiae (pinpoint, reddish spots) or purpura (purplish flat areas of bruising). There may also be bleeding from the gums, mouth or nose. Stools (bowel movements) may be dark-colored or may have blood in them. Women with ITP may have heavy bleeding during their monthly periods. Blood tests are needed to diagnose ITP. Treatment may include medicines, such as steroids and immune globulins. Surgery to take out the spleen may also be done. With treatment, such as medicine and surgery, you may have an improved quality of life.


Take your medicine as directed.

Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

Do's and do nots:

  • Do wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace stating that you have thrombocytopenic purpura. You may get one from the local drugstore or contact the MedicAlert Foundation:
    • MedicAlert Foundation
      2323 Colorado Avenue
      Turlock , CA 95382
      Phone: 1- 888 - 633-4298
      Web Address:

  • Do eat fresh fruits, high fiber foods, and plenty of water to avoid constipation (hard, dry stools that are difficult to pass). Constipation can cause bleeding in your bowel movement (BM). Ask your caregiver for more information about preventing and treating constipation.

  • Do use a soft-bristled toothbrush to prevent bleeding gums. Brush your teeth slowly and gently as this may prevent bleeding gums. Use lip balms to prevent your lips from drying and cracking.

  • Do apply lotion on your dry skin. This may prevent itching and scratching, which may lead to bruising.

  • Do not play contact sports. This may cause skin bruising and head injuries, which may lead to bleeding.

  • Do not take medicines without your caregiver's OK. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and antihistamines may cause bleeding and should be avoided. Ask your caregiver before taking any medicines other than those he has given you.


  • You have a fever.

  • You have bleeding from your gums, mouth, or nose.

  • You have severe abdominal (stomach) pain.

  • Your BM has blood in it or is dark-colored.

  • You are confused and have problems thinking clearly.


  • You just had a head injury.

  • You just had a seizure (convulsion) attack.

  • You had a fainting spell (passed out).

  • You had a sudden blurring or loss of vision.

  • You have repeated and forceful vomiting (throwing up).

  • You have a sudden, severe headache.

© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Thrombocytopenic Purpura (Aftercare Instructions)