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Splenomegaly

Spleen enlargement; Enlarged spleen; Spleen swelling

Splenomegaly is a larger-than-normal spleen. The spleen is an organ in the upper left part of the belly.

Considerations

The spleen is an organ that is a part of the lymph system. The spleen filters the blood and maintains healthy red and white blood cells and platelets. It also plays a role in immune function.

Many health conditions can affect the spleen. These include:

  • Diseases of the blood or lymph system
  • Infections
  • Cancer
  • Liver disease

Symptoms of splenomegaly include:

  • Hiccups
  • Inability to eat a large meal
  • Pain in the upper left side of the belly

Causes

Splenomegaly can be caused by any of the following:

  • Infections
  • Liver diseases
  • Blood diseases
  • Cancer

Home Care

In rare cases, an injury can rupture the spleen. If you have splenomegaly, your health care provider may advise you to avoid contact sports. Your provider will tell you what else you need to do to take care of yourself and any medical condition.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

There are usually no symptoms from an enlarged spleen. Seek medical help right away if pain in your belly is severe or gets worse when you take a deep breath.

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

Your provider will ask about your symptoms and medical history.

A physical exam will be done. Your provider will feel and tap along the upper left part of your belly, especially just under the rib cage.

Tests that may be done include:

The treatment depends on the cause of splenomegaly.

References

Wall DJ. The spleen. In: Rumack CM, Levine D, eds. Diagnostic Ultrasound. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2024:chap 5.

Winter JN. Approach to the patient with lymphadenopathy or splenomegaly. In: Goldman L, Cooney KA, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 27th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2024:chap 154.

Wood VH, Cooperberg PL, Vos PM. Benign and malignant lesions of the spleen. In: Gore RM, ed. Textbook of Gastrointestinal Radiology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 62.

Text only

  • Splenomegaly - illustration

    Splenomegaly is an enlargement of the spleen.

    Splenomegaly

    illustration

  • Enlarged spleen - illustration

    Because of its wide variety of functions, the spleen may be affected by many conditions involving the blood or lymph system, and by infection, malignancies, liver disease, and parasites.

    Enlarged spleen

    illustration

  • Splenomegaly - illustration

    Splenomegaly is an enlargement of the spleen.

    Splenomegaly

    illustration

  • Enlarged spleen - illustration

    Because of its wide variety of functions, the spleen may be affected by many conditions involving the blood or lymph system, and by infection, malignancies, liver disease, and parasites.

    Enlarged spleen

    illustration


 

Review Date: 3/31/2024

Reviewed By: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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