Werlhof's disease - is it curable?

What is Werlhof's disease?

The autoimmune disease known as Werlhof's disease is also known as immune thrombocytopenia. It is named after the German doctor, Paul Werlhof.
Immune thrombocytopenia is a disease in which your body mistakenly attacks its own blood platelets, called thrombocytes. As a result, these are broken down more quickly, so that the clotting of the blood is severely restricted. The lower the number of platelets in the blood, the greater the tendency to bleed.

In Werlhof's disease, there is a reduced number of blood platelets, also called thrombocytopenia. Read more about this at: Thrombocytopenia

Causes of Werlhof's disease

Werlhof's disease is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases are diseases in which the body's own immune system, which normally acts against external foreign substances, bacteria or viruses, attacks its own body. This can take on different dimensions - in the case of Werlhof's disease, the immune system attacks components of the blood, the platelets (thrombocytes).

These autoimmune diseases are also usually triggered by an external or internal trigger caused. In immune thrombocytopenia, however, this trigger is difficult to determine. However, it can be said that Werlhof's disease occurs particularly frequently in women after pregnancy or in the event of severe infections. Even in childhood, the disease occurs too often, but heals after a few weeks.

For more general information on the causes, see: Causes of Blood Disorders

Treatment of Werlhof's disease

There are many different treatment options for Werlhof's disease, depending on how much the platelet counts are lowered.

  • If the platelet count is only slightly lowered, it is likely that no direct treatment will be given initially. However, the blood formation and thus the platelet counts must be monitored regularly.
  • If the platelet count is well below the normal value of 140,000 - 350,000 per microliter, treatment can be sought with the help of glucocorticoids or immunoglobulins.
  • In addition, treatment is considered if there are other indications for treatment in addition to the reduced platelet count. These include, for example, diabetes, cancer or other blood diseases.
  • In particularly acute cases, removal of the spleen can be the last resort.
  • Homeopathic treatments can also have a positive effect on the course of the disease.

Also read the article on the topic: Causes of Thrombocytopenia


The glucocorticoids include hormones such as cortisone or cortisol.
In addition to their anti-inflammatory effect, these also have the function of preventing the antibodies directed against the platelets from being transported in the blood. As a result, they can no longer react against the platelets, so that the platelets can multiply again. In addition, thrombocytes have the function of reducing the phagocytes' tendency towards blood platelets. This also has the effect of reducing the destruction of the platelets.

A disadvantage of the glucocorticoids, however, is that they can only show their effects after several days of administration. They cannot therefore show any quick effects on acute treatment occasions.

Read more about this at: Glucocorticoids


In addition to the glucocorticoids, there is also the option of immunoglobulins (antibodies). These work quickly and at short notice. They are therefore well suited for acute emergencies. The mode of action of the immunoglobins is that they prevent the destruction of platelets directly in the spleen.

Homeopathy for Werlhof's disease

Homeopathy is generally considered a controversial topic. Despite all the discussions, there are regular cures or improvements in the course of the disease after homeopathic treatments. Such a homeopathic treatment has already been carried out for Werlhof's disease and has shown success.

The homeopathic remedy that is said to have shown effects on Werlhof's disease is Arsencium album. It is made from the highly toxic, white arsenic. It is commonly used for gastrointestinal complaints.

How do I eat properly with Werlhof's disease?

Werholf's disease cannot be treated and prevented with certain foods. However, eating vegetables and fruits in particular can support the body and the function of the blood.

Green beans, spinach, broccoli and kale in particular have been shown to have a tonic effect on the blood. Kiwi and oranges are considered valuable in the fruit category.
However, it is true that this balanced and targeted diet with fruit and vegetables does not promise an improvement or solution to a blood disease on its own; it should only be viewed as a support for general medical treatment.
The effect of fruits and vegetables is particularly due to their high vitamin C content. This has been proven to ensure high efficiency and increased production of blood platelets (thrombocytes).

In general, a diet rich in fiber is recommended for people with Werlhof's disease. In addition, excessive sport should be avoided for the time being, as sore muscles can lead to bleeding within the muscles.

Our next article will provide you with more helpful information on this topic: Healthy eating

How is the disease progressing?

At the beginning of the disease, the person affected develops disease-specific symptoms such as punctiform bleeding (petechiae) or a noticeable increased tendency to bleed compared to those who are not affected. As the disease progresses, these symptoms manifest as more and more platelets are destroyed. The petechiae increase in number and can unite to form larger hematomas. Over time, these symptoms solidify more and more. Those affected show ever larger bruises and bleeding tendencies with ever smaller wounds and injuries. In addition, the bleeding no longer only shows up superficially on the surface of the skin, but also in the urine, in the stool or on the basis of bleeding from the vagina. The patient feels weaker and more helpless because of the heavy loss of blood.

Spontaneous healing of the disease can rarely occur. How and by what means it is cured is not known. Those affected who do not have spontaneous remission are dependent on medication (glucocorticoids, immunoglobulins) for the rest of their lives.

Can Werlhof's disease be cured?

Those affected with Werlhof's disease do not necessarily have this disease for life.
Since the causes of the disease are still not clearly clear to this day, possible cures cannot be traced back to treatment or therapy. In spite of everything, spontaneous healing can often occur, especially in childhood. The disease regresses without any apparent reason and the person affected no longer shows any signs of Werlhof's disease.

The risk of dying from Werlhof's disease increases with age. Those over 60 years of age have a mortality rate of around 13%, while those under 40 years of age have a mortality rate of less than 0.4%.

Is Werlhof's disease hereditary?

Werlhof's disease is not considered hereditary. If a mother or father has known Werlhof's disease, this should not have any effects on a future child. In order to be able to differentiate Werlhof's disease from other thrombocytopenias, which may be hereditary, a detailed examination and diagnosis should be carried out.

Is Werlhof's disease contagious?

A risk of infection with the disease can be excluded. In general, the disease can heal on its own, especially in childhood. However, if the disease persists for 12 months or more, the chance of a cure is very small. It is then classified as a chronic disease.

Can I take the pill if I have Werlhof's disease?

Taking contraceptives, for example in the form of the pill, does not pose a risk in connection with Werlhof's disease.
The pill is a hormone treatment that, among other things, reduces the bleeding intensity of the monthly menstrual period.

This reduced bleeding can even be beneficial for the course of Werlhof's disease, as the body loses less blood overall. Especially when the intensity of the menstrual period has increased due to Werlhof's disease, the pill can be one of many treatments.

Read our next article on this below: Which drugs affect the effect of the pill?

I recognize Werlhof's disease by these symptoms

The lack of platelets leads to frequent, minor bleeding.
This is because the platelets (thrombocytes) normally guarantee that the blood clots quickly so that bleeding can be stopped quickly. If there is a shortage of thrombocytes, this can no longer be guaranteed. So-called petechiae develop.
Petechiae are very small, about the size of a pinhead, hemorrhages. You can often find them in one or more places. Often the petechiae are not recognized correctly at first, but are seen as simple discolorations of the skin.

In addition to the very small petechiae, small to very large bruises (hematomas) can also occur. In general, the affected person is prone to sudden and rapid onset of hematomas. In addition, wounds apparently heal worse than those who are not affected.

Other signs of Werlhof's disease can be blood in the urine, blood in the stool, bleeding from the vagina in the form of increased menstrual bleeding, red eyes or vomiting of blood.

Werlhof's disease is a blood clotting disorder. Learn more about the symptoms of a blood clotting disorder and other possible causes that cause this disorder at: Blood Clotting Disorder - You Should Know That!

Diagnosis of Werlhof's disease

The first signs of Werlhof's disease are punctiform skin hemorrhages, so-called petechiae.
They are usually easy to recognize on the surface of the skin. If the above-mentioned petechiae appear, blood is usually drawn. This enables the diagnosis of Werlhof's disease to be made.

If there are fewer than 100,000 platelets in the blood, this is a clear sign that the blood is not forming properly.
In the following, the spleen can be examined using ultrasound. With Werlhof's disease there is an acute or chronic enlargement of the spleen. The reason for this is that the platelets are largely broken down in the spleen.
If both of these tests suggest Werlhof's disease, a bone marrow aspiration can then be performed. The bone marrow can be used to investigate whether there has been an increased megakaryopoiesis, i.e. an increased number of young blood-forming cells. This case would also speak for Werlhof's disease.