Feature image from ITPANDME
So this is a very difficult question, as both alcohol and ITP effect everyone differently. You are going to be the best person to know how both ITP and Alcohol effect you. You might be the only person. Some people may feel comfortable having a glass of wine if their platelets are above a certain number, others may never want to drink again after being diagnosed, that’s great.
My experience with ITP and Alcohol
Most of the time, the people making up rules about ITP and drinking are people with no clue. It is usually people at parties, friends of friends who are sure there is no way you should be drinking!
Let us refer to SCIENCE for a moment. Recent epidemiological studies have consistently shown that moderate intake of alcoholic beverages protect against morbidity and mortality from coronary heart disease and stroke – By contrast, alcohol drinking may also predispose to cerebral haemorrhage. These observations suggest an effect of alcohol similar to that of aspirin.’
Can I drink Alcohol with ITP?
In the weeks before I was diagnosed with ITP, I was probably drinking a lot. I was living in a share house with two other girls and was chasing a guy around Sydney, suitably intoxicated. I recall one evening when I joined him and his friends for a friendly game of drunken AMF bowling in the city.
I can picture it now. A cheer went up from the group as someone’s ball rolled limply down the alley and I turned quickly on my heels to head back to the bar. Crack. I had swung round, with all my weight I had committed myself straight into a concrete pole. Face first, struck out! What an idiot!
My head hurt and a huge bruise appeared just under my hair line so no one could see it. A few days later I was chased down at work by a panicked GP who was sending me to emergency with a platelet count of 17. I’m kind of glad I didn’t get brain damage to be honest.
After I was diagnosed with ITP I stopped drinking for a while. I thought I was being very healthy and proactive. As time went on and the ITP remained in my life, I reintroduced alcohol into my dietary rotation. I don’t drink a lot of alcohol, but I defiantly did enjoy few glass of wine in the beginning.
The thing was that, for me, there was absolutely no change in my platelet count or ITP symptoms, weather I drank a little alcohol or not. I was so frustrated. That it had all been for nothing, the sobering parties, the driving people home after 12, the patronising questions about my ‘Health Kick’, and sarcastic friends asking when my baby was due. All for Nothing.
After not drinking for so long. I thought I would feel amazing and never drink again, but I didn’t.
Not drinking has it’s own challenges. Firstly, wine is delicious, and expensive tasty wines are even better. You could never join Confrerie des Chevaliers if you didn’t drink. There is still no greater ice breaker at a party than to share and discuss a lovely glass of red. Not drinking also makes you look a little like a square (Sorry Leigh) and at my age, insights sly winks from friends regarding ‘expectancy’.
Drinking is a depressant, which can make it sound like a bit of a downer. What it offers is a chemically induced decompress after a stressful day. Alcohol, particularly wine has the wonderful powers of slowing you down, taking you out of your head and loosening you up a little. Please note that I am obviously not a doctor.
I am not recommending that anyone with ITP take up the bottle.
I am simply unconvinced that a blanket ban on alcohol for patients with ITP is necessary.