What is thrombocytopenia?

Thrombocytopenia is a condition where a child has too few platelets, the blood cells that prevent bleeding. Many things can cause thrombocytopenia in children. The most common are infections and destruction of platelets by the immune system. It can cause easy bleeding and bruising.


Common symptoms of thrombocytopenia include:

  • unusual or easy bruising
  • small red/purple spots on the skin
  • blood blisters in the mouth
  • nosebleeds, intestinal bleeding, urinary bleeding or excessive menstrual periods


Thrombocytopenia is diagnosed with a blood test to measure the levels of platelets in the blood.


Treatments for thrombocytopenia is based on the cause and severity of the disease. Children with mild cases may not require any treatment. Children with severe thrombocytopenia may need blood transfusions with platelets or red blood cells.

Learn more about Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplant services at Boston Children’s Health Physicians.

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