The spleen is a crucial part of the lymphatic system that provides aid to the immune system. Besides, it helps in storing the white blood cells and further creates an ample amount of antibodies. This organ typically sits below the left rib cage and is responsible for numerous functionalities.
And when the spleen becomes enlarged, this condition is typically known as Splenomegaly. The spleen provides aid to your body so that it is capable of fighting against all kinds of infections. It also works as the source of two types of white blood cells: B and T cells. The white blood cells also help in protecting your body from all sorts of infections and bacteria.
Spleen – How Does it Work?
The spleen remains tucked below the rib cage, right next to the stomach, on the left side of the belly. The spleen size usually relates to the person’s height, weight, and gender.
This organ is typically spongy and soft, and it is known to perform a plethora of critical jobs, including:
- It helps prevent any infection while producing lymphocytes – white blood cells. It also acts as the first line of defence against all disease-causing organisms.
- The spleen helps filter out and destroy very old and damaged blood cells.
- It deliberately helps in storing the platelets and red blood cells, thereby enabling your blood to clot.
An enlarged spleen essentially affects each of these jobs. And when your spleen becomes enlarged, it might not necessarily function as it does. However, the spleen usually has the size of your fist. But certain kinds of diseases cause the spleen to become more prominent. In the following section, we will take a quick look at the causes of Splenomegaly.
Splenomegaly – What are the Causes?
A plethora of diseases and infections can promote an enlarged spleen. However, the enlargement of the spleen might be a temporary condition, based on the treatment. Here, we have listed some of the significant factors that contribute to this disease:
- Bacterial infections, including syphilis or endocarditis, a prominent infections of your heart’s inner lining.
- Viral infections, including mononucleosis.
- Cirrhosis or any other severe diseases affecting the liver
- Parasitic infections like malaria
- Blood cancers, including myeloproliferative neoplasms and leukaemia, and lymphomas like Hodgkin’s disease
- Numerous types of hemolytic anaemia, a typical condition that is characterised by early destruction of the red blood cells
- Significant pressure on the veins of the spleen or liver or a typical blood clot within these veins
- Certain metabolic disorders like Niemann-Pick disease and Gaucher disease
- Severe autoimmune conditions, including sarcoidosis or lupus.
Splenomegaly – What are the Symptoms?
The symptoms of Splenomegaly are very rare, so most people are unaware that they have an enlarged spleen. However, people usually learn about this disease when they need a physical exam. Nonetheless, there are some typically common symptoms of an enlarged spleen:
- High level of discomfort
- Incapable of eating a large meal
- Feeling full always
- Pain on the upper left side of the abdomen. Here, this pain is very likely to spread to your left shoulder.
If you ever experience severe pain while breathing and it tends to get worse, you must consult with your doctor right away. And whenever you have an enlarged spleen, you are likely to develop other significant signs and symptoms too. The possible symptoms listed below are related to the underlying disease. They include:
- Weight loss
- Easy bleeding
- Frequent infections
Your doctor is very likely to ask you several questions and also ask you to get a physical exam done. This will help in diagnosing your enlarged painful spleen very closely.
Splenomegaly – What are the Possible Treatments?
First, it is very important to limit all the activities that can rupture your spleen. This is because a ruptured spleen can promote considerable amounts of blood loss. And eventually, it might become immensely life-threatening. You should never leave your enlarged spleen untreated since it can lead to serious complications.
The most common treatment for Splenomegaly is splenectomy, a surgical method where the spleen is cut and removed. Surgeons are very likely to remove the spleen through laparoscopy rather than open surgery. Since the surgery is performed through small incisions, the surgeons view the spleen through a laparoscope and remove it.
Once you remove your spleen, your body will become incapable of clearing certain bacteria. Thus, your body will become more vulnerable to numerous infections. This is why you will need to take certain medications and vaccines to prevent the infection.
Splenomegaly is the typical condition when the spleen becomes enlarged in both weight and size. There are certain medical conditions that might promote the chances of developing this disorder. So whenever you find out that you have an enlarged spleen, it is best to consult with the doctor’s of Apollo.