In detail

Anaphylactoid Purpura (Schonlein-Henoch Purpura)

Anaphylactoid Purpura (Schonlein-Henoch Purpura)

Anaphylactoid purple, also known as Schonlein-Henoch purple, is a disease that affects the blood vessels in the skin and some internal organs. Most commonly seen in children 2 to 10 years of age, anaphylactoid purple causes inflammation of the thin blood vessels (vasculitis), which easily break, causing small bleeding in the skin, kidneys, intestines and joints. The disease is not communicable.

Hemorrhages manifest at the skin through a specific irritation, called purple. The inflammation of the capillary vessels caused by Schonlein-Henoch purple affects a number of boys twice as large as that of girls.


Even if the disease bears the name of the symptom that appears in the skin, it often manifests only after the appearance of other symptoms:

  • abdominal pain;
  • vomiting and diarrhea;
  • joint pain and inflammation;
  • blood in the stool and urine;
  • fever;
  • migraines.

The visible purple on the skin often scares the parent, but this symptom is not as severe as it seems and is rarely accompanied by discomfort. The areas most often affected by anaphylactoid purple are the legs and buttocks, but can sometimes occur on the elbows, forearms, trunk or even on the face.

The most commonly affected wrists are the knees, ankles and elbows, but blood from the broken vessels can also seep into other joints of the hands and feet.

Abdominal pain occurs one week after skin irritation in most cases and is followed by blood in the stool and urine, rarely visible.


The causes that lead to anaphylactoid purpura are not known, but the symptoms are triggered by an abnormality of the immune system. Immunoglobulin A, an antibody, is stored in a high amount in the blood vessels, leading to an immune reaction.

The specialists found a connection between most cases and the viral or bacterial infections of the respiratory system, infections that affect the lungs, sinuses or throat, but also after a cold.

In some cases, Schonlein-Henoch purpura has been diagnosed as having an allergic reaction to insect bites or certain medicines, foods or vaccines.


About half of the children suffering from this disease also have kidney problems. In most cases, these are temporary and do not leave long-term consequences.

The presence of blood in the urine in microscopic quantities is an effect of the evolution of the disease in the kidney, but it can rarely be seen with the naked eye. Changing the color of urine is rarely encountered and may be a sign of severe kidney problems.

In order to treat kidney complications, the doctor may request additional consultation for several months after the appearance of purple. The kidneys may remain inflamed in some cases for up to two years before full recovery.


Diagnosis of the disease is done by testing blood and urine, but in some cases the doctor can also perform a skin biopsy.

In most cases of Schonlein-Henoch pupae, the symptoms disappear within about one month after their occurrence. There is no cure for this disease, symptom relief is the only way for doctors to act.

Prescribed drugs include:

  • antibiotics to treat the infection that caused the anaphylactoid purple to develop;
  • anti-inflammatory to relieve joint pain;
  • corticosteroids for severe abdominal pain;
  • other analgesics.

If the disease has been caused by a reaction to certain drugs, the doctor may advise the parents to avoid administering them until the child matures. To speed up the healing process, bed rest is recommended, with proper hydration.

About one-third of the children who suffer from Schonlein-Henoch purple show symptoms of the disease again a few months after healing. When the disease recovers, the symptoms are milder.

Because anaphylactoid purple in the skin may be confused with the symptoms of more serious diseases, it is recommended that the baby be consulted by a doctor at the first symptoms.