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ITP Symptoms and Signs

What are the symptoms of ITP?

Signs and symptoms of ITP include1,2:

ITP signs and symptoms Medical terms
Tiny red dots on the skin caused by broken blood vessels petechiae
Purple spots on the skin purpura
Large bruises, especially on the arms and legs, resulting from seemingly minor bumps and injuries ecchymoses
Frequent or heavy nosebleeds epistaxis
Heavy menstrual bleeding menorrhagia
Bleeding from the gums gingival bleeding
Blood in the urine hematuria

Some signs of ITP—such as petechiae and purpura—may not cause any specific health issues, or even cause you to feel any different. But these symptoms can help indicate how low your platelet levels are.3 Also, these signs and symptoms may be important to you and your daily life.4 Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have with outward signs of ITP.

Some signs of ITP—such as petechiae and purpura—may not cause any specific health issues.

What are the most serious effects of ITP?

Uncontrolled bleeding is the most serious potential event for people with ITP.

  • If you are injured while your platelet count is low, your body may have difficulty stopping the bleeding.
  • Uncontrolled nosebleeds, bleeding from the mouth and gums, and increased menstrual bleeding are common bleeding symptoms for patients with ITP.
  • When platelet counts are very low, it is possible to have internal bleeding. In rare cases, bleeding in the brain—an intracranial hemorrhage—may occur and can lead to death.5 Fortunately, such events are extremely rare with ITP.

These risks, along with any resulting fear or anxiety, are the best reasons to have a treatment plan worked out with your doctor.

Your specific risk depends on your platelet level and other aspects of your health. Talk to your doctor so that together you can figure out how best to avoid unnecessary risk while continuing to live your life as usual.

To help with your discussion, click here for 5 Things to Tell Your Doctor.



  1. Cines DB, McMillan R. Management of adult idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. Annu Rev Med. 2005;56:425-442.
  2. Neylon AJ, Saunders PW, Howard MR, Proctor SJ, Taylor PR. Clinically significant newly presenting autoimmune thrombocytopenic purpura in adults: a prospective study of a population-based cohort of 245 patients. Br J Haematol. 2003;122(6):966-974.
  3. Cines DB, Blanchette VS. Immune thrombocytopenic purpura. N Engl J Med. 2002;346(13):995-1008.
  4. Mathias SD, Gao SK, Miller KL, et al. Impact of chronic Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) on health-related quality of life: a conceptual model starting with the patient perspective. Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2008;6:1-14.
  5. George JN, Woolf SH, Raskob GE, et al. Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura: a practice guideline developed by explicit methods for the American Society of Hematology. Blood. 1996;88(1):3-40.