Overview of Low Platelet Count (Thrombocytopenia)
Platelets are small cells that circulate in your bloodstream and help your blood clot. They're made in your bone marrow like other blood cells. Platelets are also called thrombocytes.
Your blood normally has a certain number of platelets in a given sample of blood. That number is your platelet count.
With a low platelet count, you bleed easily
You may have tiny purple spots on your skin and get nosebleeds and bleeding gums
A very low platelet count may cause bleeding in your brain or severe bleeding from your intestines
Many things can cause a low platelet count
Doctors may do tests to look for the cause
Doctors treat the cause of the low platelets and may give you a platelet transfusion
Many things can cause a low platelet count:
The main symptom of low platelet count is excessive bleeding. You may have:
You're more likely to bleed the lower your platelet count drops. People who have very few platelets may bleed heavily from their intestines or have life-threatening bleeding in their brain.
Sometimes the problem that caused your low platelet count is obvious, such as being pregnant, having a severe infection, or taking a certain drug.
If doctors aren't sure why your platelet count is low they may do:
The main thing is to treat whatever caused the low platelet count. For example, if taking a drug caused your low platelet count, your doctor will stop giving you the drug if possible. If it was caused by an infection, your doctor will treat the infection.
Rarely, doctors will give you: