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Thrombocytopenia (THROM-boh-site-oh-PEE-neeuh) is a decrease in the number of platelets in your blood. When you have thrombocytopenia, broken blood vessels under the skin occur more easily than usual. This leads to formation of a hematoma (hee-ma-toe-muh), commonly called a “black and blue mark” or a bruise.

Thrombocytopenia also can result in unusual bleeding, such as nose bleeds, continuous bleeding from small cuts, bleeding gums, blood in the stool or urine, or heavier than normal bleeding during menstruation.

If your complete blood count (CBC) shows that your platelet count is low, your doctor may order a platelet transfusion to ensure that your body can form clots in the event of a serious cut or bruise. You can take the following steps to minimize your chance of bruising and bleeding:

  • Use a soft toothbrush, don’t floss, and use lip balm.
  • Blow your nose gently.
  • Don’t use tampons during menstruation.
  • Use an electric razor for shaving.
  • Be very careful around sharp objects, such as scissors and knives.

Remember, when you experience side effects, it is important to contact Texas Oncology first before going to an emergency room or urgent care clinic.