What Are Some of the Symptoms of Neutropenia?

Neutropenia itself usually causes no symptoms; however, ulcers, abscesses, rashes and fevers can occur as a result of an infection made possible by the disorder, according to WebMD. These infections typically develop in the mucous membranes of the body, often in the mouth or on the skin.

Neutropenia is a condition in which the body has an abnormally low number of neutrophils, according to WebMD. Since the condition does not typically produce symptoms, people generally learn about their diagnosis when taking unrelated blood tests. Neutrophils, a type of a white blood cell, release chemicals that kill foreign microorganisms as part of the body’s immune response. Individuals with neutropenia are more susceptible to opportunistic infections in certain areas and wounds may take much longer to heal than usual. The longer an individual suffers from neutropenia, the more likely he is to develop serious infection.

There are four major causes of neutropenia, according to WebMD. These include bone marrow problems that affect neutrophil production, chronic destruction of the neutrophils once released from the bone marrow, infection and nutritional deficiency. Bone marrow problems that may cause neutropenia include leukemia, radiation, chemotherapy and congenital birth defects. Infections that may cause neutropenia include tuberculosis, dengue fever, HIV, cytomegalovirus, viral hepatitis and the Epstein-Barr virus.

While neutropenia does not cause symptoms, a doctor should be contacted if a patient notices the signs of even a minor infection, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology. These symptoms include fevers, chills, sweating, sore throat, abdominal pain, anal pain, burning when urinating, diarrhea, cough, shortness of breath or unusual vaginal discharge or itching.