Travelling by plane and low platelets? Does a menstrual cycle lower platelets?

After three pulses of high dose dexamethasone, my platelets have crashed once again, down to 20. However my petechiae is looking a bit redder and spreading a bit and I've started my period since then so Im wondering if its decreased further due to this?

Anyway, I'm due to go on holiday in two weeks time and I was wondering if I'm okay to travel by plane. I googled it and this is what came up on itpsupport.com

'my specialist had explicitly warned us against taking me overseas: with a low platelet count of 10-20, the high air pressure of flying by plane could cause rupture to blood vessels in the brain, and the worst case scenario could be fatal.'

So its safe to say I'm a bit worried lol.

6 Replies

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  • Hi, I have travelled by air regularly with low platelets; I live in the Isle of Man and my haematologist is in Liverpool so this is sometimes necessary for me. Just this week I flew with platelets around 10; my haematologist knew this and consented to travel. I have never experienced any problems flying with ITP, but then it is only a short flight.

    I also work in aviation so I can say that the pressure in the atmosphere decreases as you go up, meaning that there is less oxygen and it is harder to breathe. To prevent hypoxia the aircraft cabin is pressurised to a level where it is still safe and comfortable for the passengers. It is not practical to keep the pressure the same as it is at ground level so as the plane climbs the cabin pressure is allowed to decrease slowly and is then held at a safe level. So overall the pressure in the cabin is lower than that on the ground, but higher than that outside the aircraft.

    Personally, I would be concerned about foreign travel, but mostly because of any complications which might develop while on holiday and away from the doctors who know my case history. Make sure you tell your travel insurance company - I had to pay a supplement on mine when I told them.

    I hope that helps!

    jamys

  • Thank you so much for your reply! I'm only going to Ireland. That post just creeped me about when it said about a brain bleed because of the pressure! Your answer was very helpful :-)

  • I recently flew to dublin from uk wirh low platets, no peoblem.

    My specialist says 20 is a safe level for flights

  • Please dont read too much into statements you see online. Your own doctor is the best person to advise you. I have been going to Europe on holiday with platelets between 20 to 30 with no problems. Have been advised not to go on long haul because of sticky blood which is a rare complication and not because of my itp. Have a good trip

  • Emm im not sure about the period making them go down, maybe its possible. However my platelets went down to 3 and i had to be put on a special tablet to stop my period from coming because it was too dangerous. However i'll soon be off of them because my platelets have gone up now :)

  • I have had ITP for 29 years and my counts are consistently lower during my menstrual cycle. I confirmed my conclusion with ITP special! Dr David Kuter. He had a patient who was a lab tech take her counts every day for many months and sure enough her counts raised during ovulation and lowered during menstruation. As far as flying goes, I try to avoid flying during my period or I Receive IVIG to boost my counts up. I have bleed out on several occasionswhile flying during my period due to the cabin pressure and it is scary. I have had various health care providers tell me the pressure won't effect me, but I can tell you they are wrong! Listen very carefully to your body! My counts are 2-5,000 without treatment,

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