Symptoms of ITP & How to Deal With Them in Ayurveda
ITP or Immune Thrombocytopenia is a rare bleeding disorder due to a low amount of platelets in the blood. It is also known as Immune or Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic purpura. Thrombocytopenia means a decrease in blood platelets. Purpura means purplish looking areas of the skin and mucous membranes. It is one of the autoimmune diseases which results in the destruction of platelets due to which the patients have the tendency to bleed or bruise in excess. Platelets are produced in the bone marrow. They are needed to stop bleeding by clumping together to form a clot and seal the cuts or tears in the blood vessels and tissues. In case, there is a reduction of platelets in the blood (below 50,000), the wound won’t stop bleeding or will take longer to clot. Internal bleeding or bleeding on or under the skin can result.
ITP can be caused by certain medications, due to some infection, pregnancy, or other immune disorders. In majority cases, the cause of ITP is unknown so it is termed as Idiopathic. Genetic mutation can also cause thrombocytopenia.ITP is more common in young women and older men. Children get ITP usually after a viral illness like chickenpox, mumps or measles. In children, ITP is acute as it lasts less than six months. In adults, the ITP is more chronic and last longer.
Symptoms of ITP
The most prominent symptom of ITP is bleeding which can include ecchymosis or bruising and red dots on the skin or mucus membranes also called petechiae. Petechiae often looks like a rash.
Frequent nose bleeding, bleeding from the mouth and gums, bleeding from digestive or urinary tract are also visible symptoms of low platelet count.
Women experience abnormally heavy menstruation.
There is prolonged bleeding from cuts and during surgery.
The patient feels tired and has frequent headaches.
In some case, the patient develops enlarged spleen which can lead to abdominal pain and tenderness.
Jaundice or yellow color of skin is another common symptom.
In rare cases, there is bleeding within the brain.
ITP is diagnosed by the doctors after a complete physical exam and going through the patient’s medical history. Blood tests and blood smear is done to confirm the disorder.
The treatment of ITP is determined by the severity of its symptoms. In some cases, no therapy is needed while in some, the medicines are prescribed. Blood or platelet transfusion is done is some cases if needed.
A change in lifestyle and diet along with intake of herbs helps in treating ITP completely. A holistic approach to healing is followed by Ayurvedic physicians. The medicines prescribed focuses on regulating the immune function of the body and helps in body’s repair mechanism. The medicines also aim at reducing inflammation, pain associated with the symptoms of ITP.
The medicines or herbs beneficial in bringing up the platelet count naturally are :
Giloy : Giloy herb is known as Amrit in Ayurveda due to its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties. The stem of the giloy plant is used to extract giloy juice.This herb in juice form or taken as capsules works effectively in increasing the killing ability of the macrophages in the body that are responsible for combating foreign bodies.
Ashwagandha : The herb Ashwagandha is a well-known adaptogen which means it can help the body retrain itself to be healthier. Ashwagandha root is immune modulator and boosts the production of red and white blood cells along with platelets. The herb can be taken in capsule form to prevent the immunosuppressive activity of the body and allow the platelets count to rise. The herb enhances resistance to stress, increase stamina and promotes a healthy body. It is also known as Indian ginseng. Ashwagandha berries are a blood tonifier that improves the blood circulation and absorption of nutrients by the cell.
Swaran Basant Malti Ras: Swaran Basant Malti Ras is a wonderful herbal medicine or Rasayana. It is a gold preparation which is very useful in treating chronic fever, cough, asthma and managing the symptoms of ITP. It has shown excellent results in overcoming weakness, treating liver and spleen disorders, and improving lymphatic system. The medicine is available in tablet form. The medicine is used by Ayurvedic physicians to treat obstinate anemia.
Kumar Kalyan Ras : Kumar Kalyan Ras is another excellent Ayurvedic formulation useful in managing ITP symptoms like jaundice and fever. It improves the digestion power. The medicine is available in tablet form.
Gotukola : Indian pennywort leaf juice or Gotukola capsules are very beneficial in boosting the platelet count. It is a powerful adaptogen. It helps fight infections, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. It also helps in improving blood circulation and healing blood clots.
Punarnava Mandur: Punarnava is very useful herb for all liver problems. It acts as a detoxifying agent and helps in improving blood circulation. The medicine helps with edema or water retention problem.
Diet includes an increase in the intake of vitamin B12 or folate which is found in beans, lentils, spinach, asparagus, avocado, and beets. You can get it from yogurt, salmon, tuna, turkey, and beef too. It is important to take fresh fruits and vegetables especially cruciferous vegetables.
Papaya leaf juice is the most effective treatment to boost up the platelet count. Wheatgrass juice, beetroot juice, pomegranate juice and Aloe Vera juice are other useful home remedies for ITP treatment.
One can take Vitamin D supplements and should increase intake of Vitamin K rich foods to improve blood clotting.
It is recommended to increase the intake of pumpkin and spinach in the diet. One needs to drink 2 tablespoons of high-quality sesame oil twice a day.
Exercise daily and consuming plenty of water is advised. Meditation and Yoga also help in lowering stress, boosting immunity and regulate the production of platelets.
Alcohol and sweetened beverages must be avoided completely. Avoid all GMO foods and dairy foods.
If the platelets are being destroyed in the spleen and no treatment is effective, then the doctors opt for surgery to remove the spleen. Plasma exchange is also done in some cases.