Splenomegaly ( enlarged spleen) is a condition that occurs when your spleen becomes enlarged. It is also commonly referred to as enlarged spleen or spleen enlargement.
The spleen is a part of your lymphatic system. It helps the immune system by storing white blood cells and helping in the creation of antibodies.
The organ is found on the left side of your body, below your rib cage. It is responsible for-
• filtering antibody- coated bacteria
• reprocessing old red blood cells
• recycling iron in haemoglobin
The spleen is extremely important in body’s fight against infection because it is the source of two types of white blood cells –
• B cells
• T cells
White blood cells protect our body from bacteria and infections.
The spleen is usually about the size of your fist but when enlarged, it can become much bigger.
An enlarged spleen (Splenomegaly) may cause-
• No symptoms in some cases
• Pain or fullness in the left upper abdomen that may spread to the left shoulder
• Feeling full on pressing on your stomach at enlarged spleen area without eating or after eating only a small amount
• Easy bleeding
• Frequent infections
• Discomfort or pain around the left ribs
• Abdominal bloating
Some of the most common causes of enlarged spleen (splenomegaly) include-
• Blood-related disorders-
Conditions such as leukemia, lymphoma or myeloproliferative conditions can cause cancer cells to invade the spleen and multiply rapidly, thereby increasing the spleen’s size.
• Liver diseases-
Liver diseases such as cirrhosis or hepatitis can cause increased pressure in the liver that backs up to the spleen.
• Spleen infections –
Because the spleen is part of the immune system, infections such as mononucleosis, tuberculosis, bacterial endocarditis or HIV can cause the spleen to enlarge.
Some less common causes of Splenomegaly include-
• Connective tissue disorders , including systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis
• Cytopenias, such as autoimmune hemolytic anaemia or immune thrombocytopenia purpura
• Infiltrative disorders, such as amyloidosis or sarcoidosis
• Splenic congestion, including congestive heart failure and portal hypertension
• Venous thrombosis, such as hepatic or portal vein thrombosis
Anyone can develop an enlarged spleen at any age, but certain groups are at higher risk, including –
• Children and young adults with infections, such as mononucleosis
• People who have Gaucher’s disease, Niemann Pick disease, and several other inherited metabolic disorders affecting the Iiver and spleen.
• People who live in or travel to areas where malaria is common
An enlarged spleen can reduce the number of healthy red blood cells, platelets and white blood cells in your bloodstream, leading to more frequent infections. Anaemia and increased bleeding are also possible.
• Ruptured spleen-
Even healthy spleens are soft and easily damaged, especially in car crashes. The possibility of rupture is much greater when your spleen is enlarged. A ruptured spleen can cause life-threatening bleeding into your abdominal cavity.
An enlarged spleen is usually detected during a physical exam. Your doctor may confirm the diagnosis with one or more of these tests –
• Blood tests such as complete blood count
• Scans such as ultrasound,CT scan and MRI
If the infection is the cause of your enlarged spleen,your doctor will treat you according to infection.In the cause of infection is bacteria, antibiotics may help. If a virus causes infection, as in the case with mononucleosis, antibiotics won’t give any help.
In serious cases, your doctor might suggest to remove your spleen, which is called Splenectomy. It is entirely possible to live a normal, healthy life after having your spleen removed but your risk of developing infections throughout your life may increase.But you can reduce risk of getting infections by getting the appropriate vaccinations.
In Ayurveda enlarged spleen is termed as Plihodar. It is one of the eight types of Udara Roga i.e. abdominal enlargement.
• Sharpunkha –
• Vidanga –
• Aloe Vera-
• Pipplyadi churna
• Sharpunkha Churna
• Rohitak Ghrita
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