Understanding your Spleen

low Platelets, platelets low, platelet count, what is itp, low platelet counts, itp blood, itp platelets, itp blood disease, itp autoimmune disease, itp blogs, blogs about itp, bleeding disorder

Feature image from ANCIENT CHINA

For many people with ITP, their spleen is to blame. The spleen plays an important function in the immune system, so when the spleen is misbehaving, it plays an important role in autoimmune disorders.

The human spleen is similar in structure to a lymph node and functions primarily as a filter of blood. It is also responsible for initiating immune reactions to blood-borne antigens. The spleen is on of the immune organs what tells the immune system to start fighting.

There are a number of reasons why people have ITP. It might be that the body does not produce enough platelets. For other’s their body kills off platelets as they are made. This is the spleen’s doing!

Splenectomies are still used as a treatment for ITP. A splenectomy

I used

Get a better understanding of what it actually does, to help inform your decision to have it removed. I used to now really understand and thought – just take it out already.  But I’m so glad my doctors didn’t listen to me – and I am so glad I have it.  It’s more complicated than you think.

When the spleen is removed, the body’s immune system is compromised and is can develop a susceptibility to certain illnesses. When I was first diagnosed, I told my haematologist to just ‘Take it out!” It doesn’t work like that.

Firstly, a splenectomy will only successfully treat ITP if the spleen is to blame for the platelet destruction.

Secondly, even if the splenectomy is successful, there is always a chance that the spleen will grow back and the ITP will return.  A study was done on 114 patients whose splenectomies failed and who required additional therapy.

A study was done on 114 patients whose splenectomies failed and who required additional therapy. The study showed that if the operation was likely to fail, it would be evident within the first year of the surgery (A couple of people’s splenectomy treatment did fail later).

PDSA – their page on splenectomy – https://www.pdsa.org/treatments/conventional/splenectomy.html

Splenectomy – pregnancy and not having a spleen – there is a little quote about the complications.

Guide to ITP people – http://guide2itp.com/truth-about-splenectomy

Just one more thing about ITP, it works for some people but not everyone. Everyone is different and ITP is unpredictable. I’m getting really sick of hearing this!

Further Reading

Long-term OUTCOMES IN ADULTS with chronic ITP after splenectomy failure

Inductions, A More Natural Approach

ITP Pregnancy, gestational thrombocytopenia, immune thrombocytopenia during pregnancy, breastfeeding with ITP, birth with ITP, ITP birth plan, low platelet pregnancy

Feature image from GRACE&GLAMOUR

Ok, so this is not really a post about living with ITP, but it will concern a lot of people with ITP if they are going to have a baby.  From what I’ve read online, and from my own experience, most pregnant women with ITP will likely be encouraged to have an induction as a means of minimising risks.

There are many benefits and many problems with inductions.   The biggest problem is a failed induction… and then where can you go from there.  Inductions are not fool proof.  The often fail to induce the longer for labor and in many cases will end up in a caesarian.  You only need to watch a few episodes of ONE BORN EVERY MINUTE to see how frequently inductions end in surgery.

If you are pregnant with ITP, you do not have to have an induction, it is up to you.  When the time comes, it is up to you, to evaluate the risks and decide what is best for you.

However, if you are reading this post, you are already in the middle of the pregnancy / induction dilemma, so I will spare you the speech about natural birth.  I’m sure very little about your pregnancy could be classified as ‘natural’.  I will focus on the benefits. Continue reading

Four Years of ITP & Me

low Platelets, platelets low, platelet count, what is itp, low platelet counts, itp blood, itp platelets, itp blood disease, itp autoimmune disease, itp blogs, blogs about itp, bleeding disorder

Feature image from STUDENTSWIFE

It’s time to celebrate 4 years of ITP & Me.

A year ago today, I wrote a blog post about THREE YEARS of ITP & Me.  At the time, my hopes for the future were that I would be able to have kids with my ITP and write about the whole process.

That dream has now come true, as I am sure all heard. Our son was born just a few weeks ago with a wonderful platelet count and not a sign of my antibodies staying in his system.

Now my hopes for the future are to change the perception of ITP around pregnancy and birth.  During my pregnancy, it became clear that there is a strong culture if fear around ITP and pregnancy.

I’m now working on a new book this year which should be out in September 2017.

I’m so grateful to all the EMAILS and messages received through itp.and.me.g@gmail.com and via the comments on the website.  Now more than 10 000 people come to ITP & Me a month looking for information, help, advice and tips for living with ITP.

Thank you to everyone who has SHARED THEIR STORY with us here.

Cheers, Meg

Magnesium Oil Health Spray

itp vitamins, itp minerals, itp alternative therapy, itp oil pulling, itp bleeding gums, itp bleeding mouth, itp life style, itp help, meg brewster, itp meghan brewster

Feature image from ITP&MEINSTAGRAM

This Christmas I received a gift from Sydney based Kinesiologist Erin Straker, from ACHIEVING BALANCE.  She gave me this magic little bottle of MAGNESIUM OIL Spray.  Knowing I was pregnant, magnesium is a fundamental element in growing and developing healthy stretch mark free skin.

You spray it on your skin.  Magnesium Oil Spray is a transdermal spray traditionally used to slow the ageing process, relieve pain, grow healthy glowing skins, heals discomfort in muscles and joints and promotes health.

Magnesium is rapidly absorbed into the skin and is the most efficient method of restoring magnesium levels.

It is not really an oil at all but a salt solution, but who cares about that.  I have used it almost every day since and love it.

What does Magnesium do in the Body?

Magnesium is a mineral found in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate diverse biochemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation. Magnesium is required for energy production, oxidative phosphorylation (I have no idea what that is, but when I started to research it, I realised it was pretty dam important), and glycolysis (the conversion of glucose).

It increases the release of DHEA, our youth hormone, encourages healthy, glowing skin and supports the repair of damaged skin cells.

This is why I am taking it.  Because I do not want to damage my skin cells while pregnant.  I do not want to end up with long purple lines across my tummy, like I already have over my butt.

Is it helping my skin? Yes.  Do I have belly stretch marks? No.

Magnesium deficiency is a pretty common problem.  The signs of a mild Magnesium deficiency are hard to pinpoint.  Usually seen as a lifestyle factor, symptoms of a busy day – They could be put down to anything really, lack of sleep or dehydrations.

The symptoms of magnesium deficiency include hyperexcitability, muscular symptoms like cramps, tremor, spasms or weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite, apathy, confusion, insomnia, irritability, poor memory, and reduced ability to learn.

If you are looking to get a little Magnesium into your body, remember Magnesium is the third most abundant mineral in seawater – so go for a swim.  We absorb magnesium directly through our skin.

Make sure you use these sprays in conjunction with nutritional and heath advice from a trained professional, naturopath, kinesiologist, doctor or alternative health practioner who can give you personalised health information.

TWENTY-8 Magnesium Oil Health Spray

LIFE-FLO Pure Magnesium Oil


Raspberry Leaf Tea during Pregnancy

raspberry leaf tea, pregnancy ITP raspberry leaf, pasberry leaf, ITP Pregnancy, gestational thrombocytopenia, immune thrombocytopenia during pregnancy, breastfeeding with ITP,


There is not a lot that I can really say about the benefits of Raspberry leaf tea for women, especially during pregnancy.

It is an old wives tale, an untested herbal remedy, a myth, a story pregnant women tell each other, a common tonic discussed between midwives.  There is no scientific or medical research to claim that Raspberry leaf tea does anything for a pregnant woman’s uterus.

And yet…

Everybody raves about it… including me.

Everyone who has taken it mentioned positive birth experiences and quick healing after labor.

I’ve been drinking raspberry leaf tea since week 20 of this pregnancy.  A friend told me about it, and then a midwife, and then another friend mentioned it.  Yesterday a pregnant friend told me about raspberry leaf capsules.  When I walked into DR EARTH the other day they had run out of raspberry leaf tea, “Too many pregnant woman around at the moment,” the shop assistant remarked.  “They can’t get enough of it.”

My mum grows raspberries in her garden.  I’ve been lucky to have a free source of organic, locally grown fresh raspberry leaves at my fingertips.  I have just recently run out and have been wondering the streets looking for somewhere to buy it in Sydney.  Mum if you’re reading this… I need more!! X

So what is so great about these leaves?

Raspberry Leaves

Are naturally high in

  • magnesium,
  • potassium,
  • iron
  • b-vitamins which make it helpful for nausea, leg cramps, and improving sleep during pregnancy. The specific combination of nutrients in Raspberry Leaf makes it extremely beneficial for the female reproductive system.
  • vitamins E, A, and some B complex, as well as essential minerals such as
  • phosphorus,
  • zinc,
  • and an easily absorbable form of calcium, making it a wonderfully nutritive plant.

Many websites state that Raspberry leaf tea is high in Vitamin C also, however, I am pretty sure vitamin c is sensitive to heat and cooking, so I’m doubtful that boiling water is the best way to get vitamin c into your body.  Perhaps if you ate the leaves straight off the bush?

In a single STUDY I found, conducted at Westmead Hospital in 1998, raspberry leaf turned up some great results.  Of 108 pregnant women, those who took raspberry leaf during their pregnancy were more likely to have a shortened labour.

“An unexpected finding in this study seems to indicate that women who ingest raspberry leaf might be less likely to receive an artificial rupture of their membranes, or require a caesarean section, forceps or vacuum birth than the women in the control group.”

I will let you know how it works for me after the birth… At the moment I am opening to trying everything and anything to make sure this goes as well as I am imagining it can.

Try adding a little peppermint tea, fresh ginger and a hint of lemon to make sure you don’t get too bored with the taste.

If you are not lucky enough to have a mother that is an amateur raspberry farmer, check out Earth Mama Angel Baby ORGANIC THIRD TRIMESTER raspberry leaf tea or WOMAN’S RASPBERRY LEAF TEA by Yogi teas.

Change, It’s Benefits & How to do it

itp alternative therapy, itp oil pulling, itp bleeding gums, itp bleeding mouth, itp life style, itp help, meg brewster, itp meghan brewster

Feature image from ITP&ME

Change has been on my mind.  It’s that time of year.  January is the month of NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS and making plans for the future.  I can’t help thinking about how much I changed last year and wondering at the changes that will come in 2016.

I was once someone very different, then I changed.  I was once someone without an autoimmune disorder and then something changed and I became someone with ITP.  Which makes me think I am capable of changing back.

We all change all the time.  It is natural.  It is what keeps life exciting.  We grow, age, learn, develop, interact and are changed by the world and people around us.  So with all this change going on, how can we be sure we are making the right changes.  If we don’t stop and take notice, we might end up changed for the worse.

We are going to change whether we like it or not – So why not make sure we like it?  And why not be happy about the Benefits of that change? Continue reading