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A to Z: Henoch-Schönlein Purpura (HSP)

A to Z: Henoch-Schönlein Purpura (HSP)

May also be called: Allergic Purpura, Anaphylactoid Purpura

Henoch-Schönlein purpura (HEH-nok SHOON-line PURR-puh-ruh), or HSP, is a condition in which the small arterial vessels (capillaries) in the skin, kidneys, and intestinal tract become inflamed and leak. It can occur at any age but is usually seen in children, especially boys.

More to Know

It is not known what exactly causes this type of vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels), but it is thought to be an abnormal response of the immune system. HSP is most often a reaction to an upper respiratory infection. Other triggers include certain medicines, vaccinations and chemicals, insect bites, and cold weather.

Signs and symptoms of HSP include a purple-spotted skin rash, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody stools, and joint pain. HSP also can cause mild to severe kidney problems, so it’s important to see a doctor if you suspect Henoch-Schölein purpura.

With bed rest, increased fluid intake, and pain relievers, most people with HSP will see an improvement in their condition within a month. It is not unusual, however, for HSP sufferers to have mild recurrences.

Keep in Mind

Most people will recover fully from Henoch-Schölein purpura with no lingering effects. People whose kidneys are affected, however, will need to be closely monitored by their doctor to prevent serious and even life-threatening complications.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.