Enlarged Spleen Symptoms: Diagnosis and Treatment for Splenomegaly

Spleen is a small organ situated below the left side of the rib cage and adjacent to stomach. It regulates and maintains the formation of white cells, red cells and platelets; platelets help the blood to clot.

Enlargement of spleen is called splenomegaly. An enlarged spleen, even though slight, warrants attention.

The spleen in normal circumstances is about the size of a fist.

Doctors cannot feel a normal spleen during the examination. But it can be palpated when it is enlarged. Enlarged spleen results from many underlying conditions. The list of diseases associated with splenomegaly is exhaustive

Type of Enlargement

Slight Enlargement (0-4cm)

  • Typhoid fever.
  • Bacterial endocarditis.
  • Acute malaria.
  • Viral infection.
  • Congestive heart failure.
  • AIDS
  • SLE

Moderate Enlargement: (4-8cm)

  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Infectious mononucleosis
  • Chronic hepatitis.
  • Acute leukemia.
  • Lymphoma.
  • Chronic lymphatic leukemia.

Massive Enlargement (More Than 8 Cm)

  • Chronic malaria
  • Chronic myeloid leukemia.
  • Polycythemia vera.
  • Thalassaemia major.
  • Myelofibrosis.

Symptoms of Spleen Enlargement

  • If the enlargement of spleen is massive, it will cause pain in the left upper side of abdomen and in the back.
  • Fullness of stomach even if you eat a small meal. This Is Due To Its Pressure On The Stomach.
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue.
  • Bleeding on slightest injury.
  • Anemia.

Enlarged Spleen Diagnosis

  • Mild splenomegaly is missed if the patient is obese.
  • Ultra sonogram of abdomen and CT imaging will confirm the enlargement of spleen.
  • Imaging techniques are useful in differentiating various conditions such as splenic hematoma, cysts, tumors and infarction

Enlarged Spleen Treatment

  • Treating the underlying cause will reduce the enlarged spleen in many cases.
  • Patient should take care not to hurt spleen or else it will bleed. This condition if occurs is sometimes life threatening.
  • Splenectomy is advised in some cases. The spleen is removed by laparoscopic surgery.
  • The dangers of post splenectomy infections, though small, are real. Pneumococcal vaccination before planned spleen surgery is useful, especially in children.