Chemotherapy slows the body's production of platelets, the cells that clot the blood if there is an injury. Bleeding problems are common in patients with low amounts of platelet cells. This condition is called thrombocytopenia.

Call the clinic or hospital if any of these symptoms occur:

  • A nosebleed that does not stop within 30 minutes
  • An injury or fall
  • Any large bruises, especially if you do not recall a cause
  • Blood in stool or dark stool
  • Blood in urine
  • Blood in vomit
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding (changing feminine pads more frequently than one per hour)
  • Small red or purple spots on the skin or in the mouth

What patients can do:

  • Do not blow the nose hard or scratch inside it.
  • Do not exercise vigorously. Follow activity guidelines from the physical therapist or doctor.
  • Do not get a massage.
  • Do not put anything into the rectum such as suppositories, enemas, or rectal thermometers.
  • Do not take over-the-counter medications without talking to the nurse, doctor, or pharmacist. Certain medicines can increase the risk of bleeding.
  • Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen. Do not take cold remedies containing these drugs.
  • Do not use razor blades. Use electric razors for shaving.
  • Take blood pressure medications as ordered. High blood pressure can trigger bleeding.
  • Use a toothbrush with soft bristles.
  • Use caution to avoid falls.
  • Women: Avoid sexual intercourse for at least two weeks after experiencing abnormal vaginal bleeding.
  • Women: Use pads, not tampons, when menstruating.

Tips to control bleeding:

  • Apply firm pressure to the bleeding area. Hold for 5 minutes before checking to see if the bleeding has stopped.
  • Call the clinic or hospital.
  • Remain calm.
  • When transporting a patient with a bleeding problem, keep pressure on the bleeding area and keep the patient as still as possible.