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is low levels of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Red blood cells carry oxygen to all the organs and tissues of your body. White blood cells help your body fight infection by attacking and killing germs. Platelets stop the bleeding when you are cut or injured. Pancytopenia increases your risk for infection and bleeding. Without treatment these problems can become life-threatening.

Common signs and symptoms:

  • Feeling tired, weak, dizzy, or short of breath
  • Frequent fevers or infections
  • Pale skin or purple or red dots on the skin
  • Bleeding from the gums or nose, blood in bowel movements or urine, or heavy bleeding from a cut
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding in females
  • Bruising easily, or getting bruises without an injury

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You cannot be woken.
  • You have a seizure.
  • You have trouble breathing.
  • You cannot stop the bleeding from a wound even after you hold firm pressure for 10 minutes.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have a fever or chills.
  • You feel dizzy or you faint.
  • You have blood in your bowel movements or urine.
  • Your heart is beating faster than usual.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a rash or red or purple dots on your skin.
  • You feel more tired than usual.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment for pancytopenia:

  • Medicines may be given to treat the cause of pancytopenia.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her 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.
  • A blood transfusion can help increase red blood cell, white blood cell, and platelet levels. This may prevent bleeding or organ damage. This does not treat pancytopenia. Instead, a blood transfusion may keep you safe until the cause of pancytopenia is known.
  • A stem cell transplant is a procedure to replace unhealthy stem cells with healthy cells. Stem cells are able to become all of the blood cells. Stem cells can also travel to your bone marrow and can become new bone marrow cells.

Balance activity with rest:

Do activities when your energy levels are the highest. Know your limits and do not plan too many activities for one day. Rest when you need to.

Prevent or control bleeding:

  • Do not take aspirin or NSAIDs. These medicines can cause you to bleed and bruise more easily.
  • Use caution with skin and mouth care. Use a soft washcloth and a soft toothbrush. This can keep your skin and gums from bleeding. Keep your nails trimmed to prevent scratches. If you shave, use an electric shaver.
  • Apply firm, steady pressure to stop bleeding from a wound. Apply pressure with a clean gauze or towel for 5 to 10 minutes. Call 911 if bleeding becomes heavy or does not stop.
  • Do not play contact sports or do activities that can cause bleeding. Ask your healthcare provider what activities are safe for you to do.

Prevent infection:

  • Wash your hands often. Use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available.
  • Stay away from crowds and anyone who may be sick. Ask your healthcare provider if you need to wear a mask in public places.
  • Eat a low-bacteria diet as directed. This will help decrease your risk for an infection. Choose, prepare, and cook foods that contain a low amount of bacteria. Examples include pasteurized milk, well-cooked meats, and cooked pasta. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about a low-bacteria diet.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You will need to return for blood tests frequently. You may also need regular blood transfusions. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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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 Pancytopenia (Ambulatory Care)

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