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Henoch-Schonlein purpura

Henoch-Schonlein purpura is a disease that involves purple spots on the skin, joint pain, gastrointestinal problems, and glomerulonephritis (a type of kidney disorder).


Henoch-Schonlein is caused by an abnormal response of the immune system. It is unclear why this occurs.

The syndrome is mostly seen in children, but it may affect people of any age. It is more common in boys than in girls. Many people who develop this disease had an upper respiratory infection in the weeks before.


Exams and Tests

The doctor will look at your body and look at your skin. The physical exam will show skin sores (purpura, lesions) and joint tenderness.

Tests may include:


There is no specific treatment. Most cases go away on their own. If symptoms do not go away, your doctor may prescribe corticosteroid medicine such as prednisone.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The disease usually gets better on its own.

Possible Complications

  • Bleeding inside the body
  • Kidney problems (in rare cases)

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if:

  • You develop symptoms of Henoch-Schonlein purpura, particularly if they last for more than a few days
  • You have low urine output after an episode of Henoch-Schonlein purpura

Alternative Names

Anaphylactoid purpura; Vascular purpura; Leukocytoclastic vasculitis


Ardoin SP, Fels E. Vasculitis syndromes. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds.Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics

Update Date 4/20/2013

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