HSP is not usually serious. Most people can be treated at home with only occasional appointments to monitor the condition, although in severe cases admission to hospital may be necessary.
The rash, joint pain and tummy pain will usually get better over days or weeks without any treatment.
Anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen may help relieve joint pain if needed, but you should check with your doctor before using these as they shouldn't be taken by people with kidney or bowel problems. Paracetamol may be a suitable alternative and resting can also help.
The use of corticosteroids, such as prednisone, in treating or preventing complications of Henoch-Schonlein purpura is controversial. They're most often used to treat severe gastrointestinal symptoms. Because these drugs can have serious side effects and their usefulness isn't clear, be sure to discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
If a section of the bowel has folded in upon itself or ruptured, surgical repair will be necessary.
A steroid medication such as prednisolone can sometimes help severe tummy pain.
When to seek medical advice
Regardless of your dipstick results, you should contact your GP, nurse or hospital if you or your child:
- pass red, rusty or blood-coloured urine
- pass stools with blood in them
- develop very painful and swollen joints
- develop severe tummy pain
- have swollen or painful testicles
HSP usually gets better on its own within about four to six weeks and doesn't generally cause any lasting problems.
However, the condition can sometimes be severe and long-lasting – particularly in adults – and some people will get it more than once.
Kidney problems usually pass without any complications or need for treatment, but in rare cases kidney failure or permanent kidney damage can develop. This is why it's important to check for any early signs of a problem with regular urine tests, as instructed by your doctor.