Swollen spleen: symptoms, causes and treatment
Unlike other organs of our body that we tend to have more present, as for example is the case of liver or of the kidneys, the spleen It probably becomes one of the most "forgotten". In fact, we do not usually remember that it is there until there is a condition or health disorder that affects it. But although it usually does not cause problems, we must take into account which diseases or problems may influence your state. Moreover, one of the most common and habitual is the inflammation of the spleen, which is medically known by the name of splenomegaly.
The spleen consists of an organ that is part of our lymphatic system. It presents an approximate size similar to that of the fist of a hand, and we find it located on the left side, just below the ribs and above the stomach.
Among the main functions of the spleen We can mention its high content of white blood cells, which fight against germs. In fact, as indicated above, is part of the lymphatic system, which as you surely know fight infections, while maintaining the balance of our body fluids. In addition, it destroys damaged or aged cells, helps control the amount of blood in our body and keeps both red blood cells and healthy platelets.
Precisely when splenomegaly is diagnosed it means that there is a bigger spleen than normal.
What are the symptoms of an inflamed spleen?
Fundamentally there are three signs that can indicate the presence of an inflammation of the spleen, so in reality we are facing a disorder that is not so easy to diagnose.
For example, we can feel certain inability to eat in large quantities, so that we tend to fill up more quickly and even with little food. That is, we are satisfied quickly, even when we eat small amounts of food.
It can feel pain that is located in the upper left side of the abdomen, although as we discovered in a previous note in which we talked about the pain in the left part of the abdomen, there are other problems that can influence its appearance, such as pancreatitis, diverticulosis or diverticulitis and kidney stones. Among the reasons that abdominal pain appears is not only due to the swelling itself, but because the spleen tends to stretch as a result of inflammation. This pain tends to get worse when we take a deep breath, and it can radiate to the left shoulder.
The hiccup is another of the usual signs of spleen inflammation, especially if it appears at any time, suddenly and tends to repeat several times in a single day.
Since the spleen is part of the lymphatic system and is responsible for filtering blood and maintaining adequate levels of platelets and red and white blood cells, When the spleen is inflamed, anemia may develop, caused by the lack of red blood cells. In turn, it may appear fatigue as a result of anemia.
The causes of spleen inflammation
There are several causes that can cause the spleen to become inflamed. The most common are the following:
- Infections: bacterial infections, cat scratch disease, infectious mononucleosis (either due to Epstein-Barr virus or cytomegalovirus), parasitic infections or other viral infections.
- Liver diseases: cirrhosis, portal vein obstruction, cystic fibrosis or sclerosing cholangitis.
- Diseases of the blood: hemoglobinopathies, hemolytic anemias.
- Cancer: Hodgkin's disease, leukemias, lymphomas.
- Other diseases: systemic lupus erythematosus, sarcoidosis and splenic sclerocytic crisis.
Treatment of inflamed spleen
It is evident that the treatment of spleen inflammation It is related to the cause that caused the swelling, although a medical treatment must be established soon because an inflamed spleen can lead to a chronic infection. In fact, in the long term, if infection arises it can lead to the removal of the spleen.
For example, if the cause of the inflammation is an infection the antibiotics They can be useful for the treatment of the disease. While the cause of the spleen enlargement is due to Hodgkin's disease or leukemia, the medical treatment to be followed is radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
Images | ISTOCKPHOTO / THINKSTOCK This article is published for informational purposes only. It can not and should not replace the consultation with a Physician. We advise you to consult your Trusted Doctor.