What is swollen spleen?

A swollen spleen is an abnormally enlarged spleen. The spleen is an organ located in your abdomen on the left side. As part of the lymph system, it participates in fighting infection, as it houses numerous white blood cells. It is responsible for getting rid of old and damaged blood cells and filtering the blood in your body.

The medical term for a swollen spleen is splenomegaly. Common signs of a swollen spleen are hiccups, a loss of appetite, and pain in your abdomen on the upper left side. In some cases, there may be no symptoms of a swollen spleen.

There are many causes of a swollen spleen. A swollen spleen may be caused by viral, parasitic, or bacterial infections, such as mononucleosis. Vascular abnormalities as well as some blood and liver diseases are also known to cause swollen spleen. Cancers may also involve the spleen, causing enlargement.

A swollen spleen may be a symptom of a serious or life-threatening condition, such as sepsis (life-threatening bacterial blood infection) or liver failure. Seek prompt medical care if you suspect you have a swollen spleen and experience serious symptoms such as high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit) or severe abdominal pain.

If your swollen spleen is persistent or causes you concern, seek prompt medical care.


SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with swollen spleen?

Swollen spleen may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms that frequently affect the spleen may also involve other body systems.

Common symptoms that may occur along with swollen spleen

Swollen spleen may accompany symptoms related to other body systems including:

CAUSES

What causes swollen spleen?

There are many causes of a swollen spleen. Infections such as mononucleosis are a common cause of swollen spleen. Some blood and liver diseases are also known to cause swollen spleens. A swollen spleen may also be the result of a serious condition such as leukemia (blood cancer).

Infectious causes of sw... Read more about swollen spleencauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: May 7, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Infections and Contagious Diseases


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