February 7, 2023
February 7, 2023

Can You Have an Enlarged Spleen with Cirrhosis?

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Can You Have an Enlarged Spleen with Cirrhosis?

Cirrhosis affects about 1 in 400 American adults. The condition, which is defined as the manifestation of late-stage scarring of the liver, finds its origins in various different types of other conditions and diseases, including but not limited to chronic viral hepatitis, chronic alcohol abuse, Cystic Fibrosis, and sometimes even certain medications.

Unfortunately, cirrhosis is generally asymptomatic until your liver has undergone extensive damage. However, once symptoms appear, they could include:

  • Itchy skin
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Appetite loss
  • Edema (swelling) in your legs, ankles, or feet
  • Easily bruising
  • Easily bleeding
  • Redness in the palms of your hands
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin)
  • Ascites (the accumulation of fluid in the abdomen)
  • Hepatic encephalopathy (confusion, drowsiness, and slurred speech)
  • Absent or loss of menstrual cycles, unrelated to menopause
  • Spider-like blood vessels in the skin
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Gynecomastia (breast enlargement), or testicular atrophy in men

There are also a host of potential complications that could arise if you have cirrhosis. If you have it, you could experience:

  • Splenomegaly (enlargement of the spleen)
  • Bleeding
  • Infections
  • Bone disease
  • Malnutrition
  • Portal hypertension
  • Increased risk of liver cancer
  • Acute-on-chronic cirrhosis

Splenomegaly, like cirrhosis, is also notoriously difficult to diagnose because it’s often asymptomatic. It’s often discovered by chance, in the middle of a routine physical exam, because physicians can generally feel an enlarged spleen from the outside. The condition has many other potential causes in addition to cirrhosis. They include:

  • Viral infections
  • Metabolic disorders like Gaucher’s disease
  • Certain liquid cancers, including Hodgkin’s lymphoma and leukemia
  • Pressure on certain veins in your spleen or liver
  • Blood clots in the spleen or liver
  • Bacterial infections such as syphilis
  • Parasitic infections like malaria
  • Various types of hemolytic anemia

Should you have an enlarged spleen, your treatment will vary depending on what the underlying cause behind it is.

An Ezra MRI could catch splenomegaly. If you’re interested in learning more, you may do so here.