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Blog / Spleen Health

Enlarged Spleen: Symptoms

Oct. 26 2019 by Sheherzad Raza Preisler Blog Editor, PR, & Social Media Coordinator
Enlarged Spleen: Symptoms

The spleen is an organ that filters the blood stream, identifying and disposing of flawed, old, or malformed blood cells. A number of primary conditions can cause splenomegaly, or a secondary condition in which the spleen grows to be larger than its normal size. These primary conditions include but aren’t limited to cirrhosis, liquid cancers like leukemia, certain metabolic disorders, and parasitic infections such as malaria. 

The treatment your physician may recommend if you have splenomegaly will depend on what the underlying root cause of the disorder is; your treatment plan will focus on that underlying issue. If your case, however, is causing dire complications, or if its underlying cause is untraceable or untreatable, your doctor may suggest a splenectomy, or spleen removal surgery. Depending on your case, this may be your best chance at recovering from your condition. 

An enlarged spleen is frequently discovered in the middle of a routine physical exam–especially in adults. This is because doctors can generally feel an enlarged spleen on the body’s surface. It’s likely, though, that if your doctor notices your spleen feels enlarged, that they will select from a handful of methods to confirm this diagnosis. These include:

  • Blood tests
  • MRIs
  • CT scans or ultrasounds

While physicians often find an enlarged spleen during a physical exam, what symptoms could the condition cause that may suggest something is wrong?

Splenomegaly is often asymptomatic, which might explain why doctors often find the condition by chance during physical exams. Other symptoms may include:

  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Bleeding easily
  • Frequent infections
  • Pain or fullness in the upper left part of the abdomen that could spread to the left shoulder
  • Feeling full after eating only a little, or without eating at all

The Mayo Clinic says that you should see a doctor if you experience pain in the upper left portion of your abdomen, particularly if it’s acute and the pain worsens if you take a deep breath. 

An Ezra scan could catch splenomegaly. If you’d like to learn more about our screening options and pricing plans, you may do so at the following link.