What is purpura?
Purpura, also called blood spots or skin hemorrhages, refers to purple-colored spots that are most recognizable on the skin. The spots may also appear on organs or mucous membranes, including the membranes on the inside of the mouth.
Purpura occurs when small blood vessels burst, causing blood to pool under the skin. This can create purple spots on the skin that range in size from small dots to large patches. Purpura spots are generally benign, but may indicate a more serious medical condition, such as a blood clotting disorder.
The following could cause purpura:
- disorders that affect blood clotting
- certain medications, including steroids and those that affect platelet function
- weak blood vessels
- inflammation in the blood vessels
- scurvy, or a severe lack of vitamin C
You will need treatment if the disorder causing purpura doesn’t go away on its own.
Treatments include medications and sometimes a splenectomy, or surgery to remove the spleen. You may also be asked to stop taking medications that impair platelet function, such as aspirin, blood thinners, and ibuprofen.