How to treat an enlarged spleen

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

How to treat an enlarged spleenYou could have an enlarged spleen right now without even knowing it. Many cases go undiagnosed as there may not be any major symptoms to cause alarm. As a vital defender against infections and viruses, the spleen can work overtime before signaling an issue.

It is usually the size of the fist; however, it increases in size when it is in trouble or detects a serious health concern. We will learn why it becomes enlarged, what to watch for, and how to treat any spleen issues.

First, we must understand the function of our spleen. Located in the upper left abdominal region under the rib cage, this brown, oval-shaped organ belongs to our lymphatic system. Its primary role is to filter blood as it destroys damaged cells. It manages and stores excess red blood cells and platelets and produces antibodies to prevent infections, viruses and harmful pathogens from attacking our body.

Sometimes, the spleen cannot manage all toxins or demand of white blood cells and becomes enlarged. An enlarged spleen is not cause for concern, but the reason behind it may be.

What Causes an Enlarged Spleen?

Known as splenomegaly, an enlarged spleen may be temporary and can be caused by a variety of diseases and infections or by overworking to keep up the demand of its use. The most common enlarged spleen causes include:

  • How to treat an enlarged spleenLiver disease such as cirrhosis
  • Viral infection such as mononucleosis
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Cancers such as leukemia, a cancer of the blood, or lymphoma, a cancer of tissue such as Hodgkin’s Disease
  • Bacterial infections such as endocarditis or syphilis
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Parasitic infection such as malaria
  • Pressure or blood clots in veins within the spleen or liver
  • Metabolic disorders

There are also several other causes such as:

  • Cysts
  • Injury that causes trauma to a body such as in contact sports
  • Abscess caused by a bacterial infection
  • Inflammatory conditions such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or sarcoidosis

Symptoms of an Enlarged Spleen

As mentioned, an enlarged spleen does not always present physical symptoms, or at least ones that do not warrant medical attention. There is no direct spleen pain. It is usually discovered during a routine exam. For those that experience symptoms, they can vary from mild to severe.

  • How to treat an enlarged spleenPain and tenderness in the upper left abdominal region
  • Indigestion
  • Fatigue
  • Satiety after a light snack or small meal
  • Pain during deep breaths
  • Jaundice symptoms
  • Unsuspected weight loss
  • Pain that travels from the stomach to the left shoulder
  • Anemia symptoms
  • Frequent bruising and bleeding
  • Recurring infections of the ear, urinary tract, sinus or respiratory system

If you have severe pain in your upper left abdominal cavity, especially when taking deep breath, it is crucial you seek immediate medical attention.

The danger of having an enlarged or damaged spleen is the risk of contracting infections or illness as your defense system will be down. The spleen would not be able provide essential functions such as producing and protecting white and red blood cells for energy nor would it provide platelet production for blood clotting.

Enlarged Spleen: Diagnosis and Treatment

An enlarged spleen is diagnosed by your doctor during a physical exam. Usually, your spleen cannot be detected during a routine exam; however, if enlarged, your doctor will be able to feel it. Several tests can confirm the diagnosis.

1. Magnetic Resonance Imaging

An MRI shows the blood flow through the spleen. There is no required preparation for an MRI.

2. Ultrasound or CT Scan

An ultrasound or a computerized tomography scan detects the spleen size and whether it is obstructing other organs. For the spleen, there is no preparation for an ultrasound, but you may need to fast from food for a period of time before the test.

3. Blood Test

The number of red and white blood cells, as well as your platelet count, will be discovered with a complete blood count test. There is no required preparation for the test.

4. Additional Tests

Once you are diagnosed with an enlarged spleen, the next step is to discover the reason behind it. You may need additional tests such as liver function tests or a bone marrow exam. These tests take a closer look at the actual cells.

A bone marrow exam could involve a biopsy, where a sample is taken from the pelvis region. A bone marrow aspiration may also be done separately or at the same time. This entails a sample of the liquid in the marrow being removed. Both involve a needle inserted into the bone after you are given a general or local anesthesia.

Enlarged Spleen Treatments

Once it is discovered why your spleen has increased in size, treatment can begin and depends on the cause. Bacterial infections can be cleared up with antibiotics.
If the cause of your enlarged spleen cannot be determined and you have no symptoms, the doctor may suggest a “watchful waiting” period. Your doctor will monitor you for the next several months for any presentation of symptoms.

Symptoms present with no cause may lead your doctor to suggest you have your enlarged spleen removed surgically, known as a splenectomy. It would be examined afterwards for any signs of lymphoma. This is a big decision to make as yes, you can live without your spleen; however, you are then more susceptible to serious infections in the future. Sometimes radiation is suggested instead of surgery to shrink the spleen.

There are ways to protect your enlarged spleen. To prevent it from rupturing:

  • Avoid hard physical activities such as contact sports.
  • Always wear a seat belt to prevent any injury to your spleen in the event of an accident.
  • Ensure your vaccinations are up to date as your risk for infections is greater.

The spleen is a vital organ in maintaining regular functions within our body. An enlarged spleen can be managed and treated. It is caused by various invaders such as diseases, infections, or other harmful events. You may not have any serious symptoms to alert you, but your doctor will detect it with a physical exam. Treatments vary depending on the cause, with surgery being a last resort. You can live without your spleen, but without it, you would be at a greater risk for infections and disease. Talk to your doctor about any concerns or seek immediate medical attention if you experience severe pain in the upper left abdominal region.

Overview

What is the spleen?

The spleen is an organ that is located in the upper abdomen. The spleen is normally about the size of a fist. The spleen is important because it helps filter the blood.

What is an enlarged spleen?

An enlarged spleen, a condition known as splenomegaly, is not in itself a disease. It is usually a symptom of another problem.

What are the symptoms of an enlarged spleen?

You may not have any symptoms from an enlarged spleen. However, you may:

  • Feel a kind of dull pain on the left side of the abdomen or in your back.
  • Feel full early, so that you can eat only small amounts.
  • Become anemic (and with that, be tired and/or short of breath).

Possible Causes

What causes an enlarged spleen?

There are many things that might cause a spleen to enlarge, including:

  • Viral, fungal and bacterial infections
  • Hemolytic anemia, in which the spleen destroys healthy red blood cells
  • Blood clots of the veins from the spleen or liver
  • Liver diseases, including cirrhosis
  • Cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma
  • Metabolic diseases (storage diseases, which are related to lack of enzymes), such as Gaucher disease
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Amyloidosis
  • Felty syndrome, a disorder that combines rheumatoid arthritis, a low number of white blood cells (called neutropenia), and an enlarged spleen

Care and Treatment

How is an enlarged spleen diagnosed?

An enlarged spleen can usually be felt by a doctor during a physical examination. Other tests may include imaging, such as ultrasounds, CT scans, and MRIs.

How is an enlarged spleen treated?

Treatment depends on the etiology of the splenomegaly (what is causing the spleen to become larger). In certain cases, surgery is required to remove the spleen (an operation called splenectomy).

Are there special considerations for people with enlarged spleens?

If you have an enlarged spleen, you should be careful not to play contact sports like football or hockey, due to the risk of rupture or bleeding.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/16/2018.

References

  • Henry PH, Longo DL. Henry P.H., Longo D.L. Henry, Patrick H., and Dan L. Longo.Enlargement of Lymph Nodes and Spleen. In: Kasper D, Fauci A, Hauser S, Longo D, Jameson J, Loscalzo J. Kasper D, Fauci A, Hauser S, Longo D, Jameson J, Loscalzo J Eds. Dennis Kasper, et al.eds. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, 19e New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2014.
  • Merck Manuals Consumer Version. Enlarged Spleen. Accessed 7/24/2018.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

By: Brenna Davis

Published: 05 December, 2018

How to treat an enlarged spleen

Several conditions, including liver problems, systemic infection and cancer, can cause an enlarged spleen, but the most common cause of an enlarged spleen is the virus mononucleosis, according to the textbook “Biology: Life on Earth With Physiology.” You should seek medical treatment if you have an enlarged spleen, and your doctor will advise you of the best treatment. Vigorous exercises and exercises such as situps that place pressure on the abdominal wall are generally not safe for people suffering from an enlarged spleen.

Ruptured Spleen

The most serious complication of an enlarged spleen is rupture. This life-threatening condition results in internal hemorrhaging and typically requires surgical treatment, according to the “American Medical Association Family Medical Guide.” With proper treatment of an enlarged spleen, rupture is very rare, with only 0.1 to 0.2 percent of patients experiencing this condition, according to the website Monotreatment. Rupture is often caused by a blow to the abdomen, but can also be caused by excessive stress and pressure on the abdominal muscles. Situps and other abdominal exercises increase the risk of a ruptured spleen.

Avoiding Situps

You should avoid abdominal exercises until your spleen returns to its normal size. If your doctor recommends a full or partial splenectomy to treat your enlarged spleen, the “Mayo Clinic Family Health Book” advises that you should avoid all strenuous exercise, including situps, for six to eight weeks. In addition to increasing the risk of rupture, situps can also increase pain in the abdomen and slow recovery time.

Safe Exercises

While vigorous exercise is not safe while your spleen is enlarged, light exercise can increase white blood cell count and strengthen your immune system. Light bicycling, walking and low-impact sports such as golf are generally safe choices, but you should consult your doctor before doing any exercise.

Returning to Exercise

When your spleen returns to its normal size, begin slowly building back up to your previous fitness routine. Try doing three or four situps for the first few days. If you experience any pain, stop exercising immediately. Your doctor can advise you about safe exercises and how long you must wait before returning to your normal exercise routine.

Mononucleosis, or mono, is a viral infection that causes fever, sore throat, and swollen lymph glands, most often in the neck.

Causes

Mono is often spread by saliva and close contact. It is known as “the kissing disease.” Mono occurs most often in people ages 15 to 17, but the infection may develop at any age.

Mono is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Rarely, it is caused by other viruses, such as cytomegalovirus (CMV).

Symptoms

Mono may begin slowly with fatigue, a general ill feeling, headache, and sore throat. The sore throat slowly gets worse. Your tonsils become swollen and develop a whitish-yellow covering. Often, the lymph nodes in the neck are swollen and painful.

A pink, measles-like rash can occur, and is more likely if you take the medicine ampicillin or amoxicillin for a throat infection. (Antibiotics are typically not given without a test that shows you have a strep infection.)

Common symptoms of mono include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Fever
  • General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle aches or stiffness
  • Rash
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lymph nodes, most often in the neck and armpit

Less common symptoms are:

  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Hives
  • Jaundice (yellow color to the skin and whites of the eyes)
  • Neck stiffness
  • Nosebleed
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Shortness of breath

Exams and Tests

Your health care provider will examine you. They may find:

  • Swollen lymph nodes in the front and back of your neck
  • Swollen tonsils with a whitish-yellow covering
  • Swollen liver or spleen
  • Skin rash

Blood tests will be done, including:

  • White blood cell (WBC) count: will be higher than normal if you have mono
  • Monospot test: will be positive for infectious mononucleosis
  • Antibody titer: tells the difference between a current and past infection

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms. Steroid medicine (prednisone) may be given if your symptoms are severe.

Antiviral drugs, such as acyclovir, have little or no benefit.

To relieve typical symptoms:

  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Gargle with warm salt water to ease a sore throat.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain and fever.

Also avoid contact sports if your spleen is swollen (to prevent it from rupturing).

Outlook (Prognosis)

The fever usually drops in 10 days, and swollen lymph glands and spleen heal in 4 weeks. Tiredness usually goes away within a few weeks, but it may linger for 2 to 3 months. Nearly everyone recovers completely.

Possible Complications

Complications of mononucleosis may include:

  • Anemia, which occurs when red blood cells in the blood die sooner than normal
  • Hepatitis with jaundice (more common in people older than 35)
  • Swollen or inflamed testicles
  • Nervous system problems (rare), such as Guillain-BarrГ© syndrome, meningitis, seizures, damage to the nerve that controls movement of the muscles in the face (Bell palsy), and uncoordinated movements
  • Spleen rupture (rare, avoid pressure on the spleen)
  • Skin rash (uncommon)

Death is possible in people who have a weakened immune system.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

The early symptoms of mono feel very much like any other illness caused by a virus. You do not need to contact a provider unless your symptoms last longer than 10 days or you develop:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Persistent high fevers (more than 101.5В°F or 38.6В°C)
  • Severe headache
  • Severe sore throat or swollen tonsils
  • Weakness in your arms or legs
  • Yellow color in your eyes or skin

Call 911 or the local emergency number or go to an emergency room if you develop:

  • Sharp, sudden, severe abdominal pain
  • Stiff neck or severe weakness
  • Trouble swallowing or breathing

Prevention

People with mono may be contagious while they have symptoms and for up to a few months afterwards. How long someone with the disease is contagious varies. The virus can live for several hours outside the body. Avoid kissing or sharing utensils if you or someone close to you has mono.

Alternative Names

Mono; Kissing disease; Glandular fever

Images

  • Mononucleosis – photomicrograph of cells
  • Mononucleosis – photomicrograph of cells
  • Infectious mononucleosis #3
  • Acrodermatitis
  • Splenomegaly
  • Infectious mononucleosis
  • Mononucleosis – photomicrograph of cell
  • Gianotti-Crosti syndrome on the leg
  • Mononucleosis – view of the throat
  • Mononucleosis – mouth
  • Antibodies

References

Ebell MH, Call M, Shinholser J, Gardner J. Does this patient have infectious mononucleosis?: the rational clinical examination systematic review. JAMA. 2016;315(14):1502-1509. PMID: 27115266 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27115266/.

Johannsen EC, Kaye KM. Epstein-Barr virus (infectious mononucleosis, Epstein-Barr virus-associated malignant diseases, and other diseases). In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett’s Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 138.

Weinberg JB. Epstein-Barr virus. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 281.

Winter JN. Approach to the patient with lymphadenopathy and splenomegaly. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 159.

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on March 4, 2021.

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

What is an enlarged spleen?

An enlarged spleen is also called splenomegaly. Your spleen is in your left upper abdomen, just below your ribs. Your spleen is part of your lymph system and helps fight infection. It also helps control the amount of blood cells that flow through your body.

How to treat an enlarged spleen

What causes an enlarged spleen?

  • Infection
  • Liver disease
  • Blood disease
  • Autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus
  • Cancer

What are the signs and symptoms of an enlarged spleen?

You may not have any signs or symptoms. You may instead have any of the following:

  • Hiccups
  • Pain in the upper left side of your abdomen
  • Feeling full without eating or after eating a small amount
  • Tiredness
  • Easily bruising or bleeding
  • Frequent infections

How is an enlarged spleen diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms medical history. He or she may be able to feel your enlarged spleen. You may need any of the following tests:

  • Blood tests will show the number of red and white blood cells and platelets in your body. Blood tests will also show how well your liver is working.
  • An x-ray, ultrasound, CT, or MRI may show the enlarged spleen. You may be given contrast liquid to help the spleen show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.

How is an enlarged spleen treated?

Treatment depends on what is causing your enlarged spleen. For example, if a bacterial infection caused your enlarged spleen, you will receive antibiotics. If you have no symptoms and no cause, your provider may suggest watchful waiting. This means you return for another exam in 6 to 12 months or sooner if you develop symptoms. Surgery to remove the spleen may be needed if a cause cannot be found or your enlarged spleen is causing severe problems.

How can I manage my symptoms?

  • Avoid contact sports and limit activity as directed by your healthcare provider. This will help prevent an injury or rupture (tear) in your spleen.
  • Keep your annual vaccines current. This will help prevent infection and illness.

When should I call my doctor?

  • You have severe pain in your left upper abdomen.
  • You have a fever, chills, and body aches.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

How to treat an enlarged spleen

The spleen is an organ inside the human body totally important for our lymphatic system, since its functions are to protect us from diseases, purifying our body and filtering germs from the blood. But there are times when our spleen has a turn and stops working well. One of the most common disorders of the spleen is inflammation, which if we neglect can lead to other diseases as a result. In this OneHowTo article we will teach you what the symptoms of an enlarged spleen are so you are able to remedy it as soon as possible.

A common symptom is acute pain. The intensity of this pain will depend on the extent of the growing organ due to inflammation, the worse the inflammation, the greater the pain on the left side of the abdomen. If the growth has been slow, the pain results in a persistent nuisance. Spleen pain, being related to the diaphragm (it is situated just below), can be felt up in the left shoulder. That’s why we have to pay attention because when the pain is very strong, it can be difficult even to breathe. It is a very specific pain, so go see a specialist to get a diagnosis done right away.

How to treat an enlarged spleen

Another indication or symptom of inflammation of the spleen is a lack of appetite. As the spleen is located so close to the digestive organs, when it gets inflammated it puts pressure on these organs. This pressure on them causes a feeling of satiety that takes away feelings of hunger or makes us feel full without having eaten barely anything. As a result of this poor appetite, people reduce their food intake and they can lose weight easily. With this, we must be careful because it affects the lack of nutrients and, therefore makes the sufferer feel very weak.

Anaemia will be another symptom that we notice when we have an enlarged spleen. Anaemia is a lack of red blood cells, whose quantity and quality is altered because the spleen cannot properly perform its function debugging the inflammation, so that these suffer and are no longer healthy. Anaemia will produce symptoms of weakness, fatigue and paleness, often making the skin go yellow which is associated with this lack of red blood cells.

How to treat an enlarged spleen

You’ll feel like you’re very tired due to a lack of red blood cells caused by the anaemia. One of the most crucial moments in your day will be the time to be getting out of bed in the morning. You’ll notice that it costs a lot of work, like the feeling of effort you feel when walking, the weight bearing down on you and any activity in your life. Of course, you won’t be able to play sports because your body will not hold up that kind of physical activity and daily fatigue will grow more and more. Visit your doctor when you notice that feeling of exhaustion in your daily life.

How to treat an enlarged spleen

Bruising on your skin or more visible bleeding on your wounds will indicate the possible symptoms of an enlarged spleen. This is because your body is inflamed, the few red and white blood cells remain inside and prevent arriving adequately to our body. With the lack of white blood cells, platelets are decreased, so wounds bleed more than usual.

Platelets are responsible for cutting the bleeding in our body, so with this alteration is easy to see when you have more infections than would normally happen. You may also perceive the appearance of oedemas in the lower limbs.

How to treat an enlarged spleen

Other symptoms that may appear next to those described above and also indicate that the spleen may be swollen. They are as follows:

  • Swollen joints
  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Enlarged lymph nodes across body

If we stop to look at the causes of inflammation in the spleen we can find a derivation of other diseases that we suffer from such as the following:

  • Haematological diseases as inherited anaemia.
  • Infectious diseases can increase the size of the spleen diseases which is caused by viruses such as mononucleosis, or by bacteria such as tuberculosis.
  • Inflammatory diseases such as rheumatitis.
  • Cancer: various cancer diseases can cause inflammation of the spleen, such as leukaemia and lymphomas.
  • Liver disease: suffering from nasty cirrhosis increases the size of the spleen.
  • Portal hypertension.
  • Heart failure: only in extreme and difficult venous return cases they can inflame the spleen.

Treatment of an enlarged spleen must be established by a medical specialist, so you have to go to the doctor when you perceive symptoms that are not usual in your body. Prolonged inflammation of the spleen may lead to its removal due to chronic infection if not treated in time. You can change your diet for softer goodness, with the introduction of fruits, wines and vegetables as a base. Natural medicine does help shrink the spleen as:

  • Infusion of nettles, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties this helps reduce infections.
  • Apple tea tree is one of the most effective methods because it helps to cleanse the lymphatic system and to reduce the inflammation of the spleen. A glass before you go to bed and when you wake up will go very well.
  • Cranberry juice: this berry will recognise cleansing properties of the lymphatic system, so it is advisable that you include some in your diet juice as a mid-afternoon or midmorning snack.

How to treat an enlarged spleen

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to What are the Symptoms of an Enlarged Spleen, we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

How to treat an enlarged spleenYou could have an enlarged spleen right now without even knowing it. Many cases go undiagnosed as there may not be any major symptoms to cause alarm. As a vital defender against infections and viruses, the spleen can work overtime before signaling an issue.

It is usually the size of the fist; however, it increases in size when it is in trouble or detects a serious health concern. We will learn why it becomes enlarged, what to watch for, and how to treat any spleen issues.

First, we must understand the function of our spleen. Located in the upper left abdominal region under the rib cage, this brown, oval-shaped organ belongs to our lymphatic system. Its primary role is to filter blood as it destroys damaged cells. It manages and stores excess red blood cells and platelets and produces antibodies to prevent infections, viruses and harmful pathogens from attacking our body.

Sometimes, the spleen cannot manage all toxins or demand of white blood cells and becomes enlarged. An enlarged spleen is not cause for concern, but the reason behind it may be.

What Causes an Enlarged Spleen?

Known as splenomegaly, an enlarged spleen may be temporary and can be caused by a variety of diseases and infections or by overworking to keep up the demand of its use. The most common enlarged spleen causes include:

  • How to treat an enlarged spleenLiver disease such as cirrhosis
  • Viral infection such as mononucleosis
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Cancers such as leukemia, a cancer of the blood, or lymphoma, a cancer of tissue such as Hodgkin’s Disease
  • Bacterial infections such as endocarditis or syphilis
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Parasitic infection such as malaria
  • Pressure or blood clots in veins within the spleen or liver
  • Metabolic disorders

There are also several other causes such as:

  • Cysts
  • Injury that causes trauma to a body such as in contact sports
  • Abscess caused by a bacterial infection
  • Inflammatory conditions such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or sarcoidosis

Symptoms of an Enlarged Spleen

As mentioned, an enlarged spleen does not always present physical symptoms, or at least ones that do not warrant medical attention. There is no direct spleen pain. It is usually discovered during a routine exam. For those that experience symptoms, they can vary from mild to severe.

  • How to treat an enlarged spleenPain and tenderness in the upper left abdominal region
  • Indigestion
  • Fatigue
  • Satiety after a light snack or small meal
  • Pain during deep breaths
  • Jaundice symptoms
  • Unsuspected weight loss
  • Pain that travels from the stomach to the left shoulder
  • Anemia symptoms
  • Frequent bruising and bleeding
  • Recurring infections of the ear, urinary tract, sinus or respiratory system

If you have severe pain in your upper left abdominal cavity, especially when taking deep breath, it is crucial you seek immediate medical attention.

The danger of having an enlarged or damaged spleen is the risk of contracting infections or illness as your defense system will be down. The spleen would not be able provide essential functions such as producing and protecting white and red blood cells for energy nor would it provide platelet production for blood clotting.

Enlarged Spleen: Diagnosis and Treatment

An enlarged spleen is diagnosed by your doctor during a physical exam. Usually, your spleen cannot be detected during a routine exam; however, if enlarged, your doctor will be able to feel it. Several tests can confirm the diagnosis.

1. Magnetic Resonance Imaging

An MRI shows the blood flow through the spleen. There is no required preparation for an MRI.

2. Ultrasound or CT Scan

An ultrasound or a computerized tomography scan detects the spleen size and whether it is obstructing other organs. For the spleen, there is no preparation for an ultrasound, but you may need to fast from food for a period of time before the test.

3. Blood Test

The number of red and white blood cells, as well as your platelet count, will be discovered with a complete blood count test. There is no required preparation for the test.

4. Additional Tests

Once you are diagnosed with an enlarged spleen, the next step is to discover the reason behind it. You may need additional tests such as liver function tests or a bone marrow exam. These tests take a closer look at the actual cells.

A bone marrow exam could involve a biopsy, where a sample is taken from the pelvis region. A bone marrow aspiration may also be done separately or at the same time. This entails a sample of the liquid in the marrow being removed. Both involve a needle inserted into the bone after you are given a general or local anesthesia.

Enlarged Spleen Treatments

Once it is discovered why your spleen has increased in size, treatment can begin and depends on the cause. Bacterial infections can be cleared up with antibiotics.
If the cause of your enlarged spleen cannot be determined and you have no symptoms, the doctor may suggest a “watchful waiting” period. Your doctor will monitor you for the next several months for any presentation of symptoms.

Symptoms present with no cause may lead your doctor to suggest you have your enlarged spleen removed surgically, known as a splenectomy. It would be examined afterwards for any signs of lymphoma. This is a big decision to make as yes, you can live without your spleen; however, you are then more susceptible to serious infections in the future. Sometimes radiation is suggested instead of surgery to shrink the spleen.

There are ways to protect your enlarged spleen. To prevent it from rupturing:

  • Avoid hard physical activities such as contact sports.
  • Always wear a seat belt to prevent any injury to your spleen in the event of an accident.
  • Ensure your vaccinations are up to date as your risk for infections is greater.

The spleen is a vital organ in maintaining regular functions within our body. An enlarged spleen can be managed and treated. It is caused by various invaders such as diseases, infections, or other harmful events. You may not have any serious symptoms to alert you, but your doctor will detect it with a physical exam. Treatments vary depending on the cause, with surgery being a last resort. You can live without your spleen, but without it, you would be at a greater risk for infections and disease. Talk to your doctor about any concerns or seek immediate medical attention if you experience severe pain in the upper left abdominal region.

by Mia Turner · Published April 20, 2019 · Updated May 1, 2019

An enlarged spleen can create a problem. When this occurs your spleen has become overactive in that it is removing blood cells at a quicker pace. It is also fighting to combat any bacteria and toxins in the body. Spleen problems can come forth from a variety of things including viral and bacterial infection, a cyst, injury or trauma, and inflammatory disease. The symptoms of a spleen problem are weight loss, anemia, fatigue, and a weak immune system. There are medications that your doctor can prescribe for you but before you go that route consider these 7 home remedies for spleen problems.

Ginger is a universal herb that is used to treat a variety of illnesses and ailments. It helps the spleen to be able to break down and absorb nutrients from food. It also helps to reduce inflammation and pain that may occur from an enlarged or injured spleen. It also helps to give your immune system a much-needed boost to fight against any foreign agents in the body. For best results, chop up 1 ginger and add to pot of boiling water. Drink once at room temperature. Do this daily till spleen has improved.

Lemons contain citric acid that helps to treat spleen problems by removing dead cells and bacteria. It also helps to heal the damage done to the spleen while reducing inflammation and irritation. Lemons also provide nutrients to the spleen to speed up recovery. For best results, drink ½ cup of lemon juice or add lemon to a glass of water. Do this daily till spleen improves.

Aloe Vera helps to regulate the immune system so that you can fight off infections and bacteria. It also removes toxins when flushing out the body. It also helps to heal the spleen quickly. For best results, drink 1 glass of Aloe Vera juice daily till spleen is better.

Vitamin C is great at boosting your immune system as well as helping to keep you healthy. It also removes toxins and radicals that want to stay in the body. It also helps to maintain the spleen’s daily functions. It also restores a natural balance to the body so that illness does not occur. For best results, drink 1 glass of orange juice daily or add vitamin C supplement to your diet. Do this daily till spleen gets better.

By simply drinking 8 glasses of water a day can help to improve the spleen’s natural functions. It also helps to speed up the recovery process of a damaged or injured spleen.

Sleep is a great remedy for spleen problems. It gives your body a much-needed rest so that you can recover quickly. It also lets your body do its natural functions in a subdued state so that overactivity does not occur. For best results, sleep at least 8 hours daily so that your spleen can heal.

  1. Cranberry Juice

Cranberry juice contains antioxidants that help to fight off infections, bacteria, and diseases. It also contains proanthocyanidins that prevent bacteria and toxins from remaining within the body. It also helps to heal kidney defects by providing it with essential nutrients. It also helps to boost your immune system to better fight off foreign agents. For best results, drink 1 glass of cranberry juice daily for one week till symptoms are gone.