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What Can Cause Thrombocytopenic Purpura?

About Thrombocytopenic Purpura

Thrombocytopenic Purpura is a disorder characterized by extremely low platelet counts which causes easy bruising and bleeding in the affected individual. This condition is also known by the name of immune thrombocytopenia and can affect both children as well as adults.

Thrombocytopenic Purpura in children does not require any treatment and goes away by itself. A child can develop Thrombocytopenic Purpura mostly due to a viral infection. However, in adults this condition often stays for quite a long period of time and requires aggressive treatment and close monitoring of the platelet counts of the individual.

In some cases, the platelet counts may be dangerously low that it may cause internal bleeding which may be potentially life threatening. Thrombocytopenic Purpura is a treatable condition but it is imperative to know the causes of this condition. This article highlights some of the potential causes of Thrombocytopenic Purpura.

What Can Cause Thrombocytopenic Purpura?

What Can Cause Thrombocytopenic Purpura?

Studies suggest the immune system accidentally attacking the platelets and destroying them can cause Thrombocytopenic Purpura. If the cause behind the immune system attacking the platelets is not known then the condition is called Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura.

In children, viral infection like flu or mumps is the primary cause of Thrombocytopenic Purpura. These infections activate the immune system which then attacks the platelets resulting in Thrombocytopenic Purpura.

The antibodies produced by the immune system attach themselves to the platelets. The spleen recognizing the antibodies thus remove the platelets causing Thrombocytopenic Purpura. Individuals with Thrombocytopenic Purpura normally have platelets counts less than 20,000 with normal counts being around 150,000-450,000.

While Thrombocytopenic Purpura can occur in any individual, females tend to get affected by this condition more than males and viral infections like mumps and flu increase the risk of an individual developing Thrombocytopenic Purpura.


  1. Neunert C, Noroozi N, Norman G, et al. Severe bleeding events in adults and children with primary immune thrombocytopenia: a systematic review. J Thromb Haemost. 2015 Mar;13(3):457-64. doi: 10.1111/jth.12801. PMID: 25640070. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25640070/)
  2. Provan D, Arnold DM, Bussel JB, et al. Updated international consensus report on the investigation and management of primary immune thrombocytopenia. Blood Adv. 2019 May 14;3(9):1587-1609. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2019000254. PMID: 31076464; PMCID: PMC6525290. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31076464/)
  3. Moulis G, Palmaro A, Montastruc JL, et al. Epidemiology of incident immune thrombocytopenia: a nationwide population-based study in France. Blood. 2014 Oct 30;124(18):3308-15. doi: 10.1182/blood-2014-04-572457. Epub 2014 Sep 4. PMID: 25190718. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25190718/)
  4. Stasi R, Provan D. Management of immune thrombocytopenic purpura in adults. Mayo Clin Proc. 2004 Nov;79(11):1445-8. doi: 10.4065/79.11.1445. PMID: 15544026. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15544026/)
  5. Lambert MP, Gernsheimer TB. Clinical updates in adult immune thrombocytopenia. Blood. 2017 Aug 31;130(9):1159-1166. doi: 10.1182/blood-2017-03-754119. Epub 2017 Jun 28. PMID: 28659337. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28659337/)

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 19, 2023

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