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Enlarged Spleen

AMBULATORY CARE:

An enlarged spleen

is also called splenomegaly. Your spleen is in your left upper abdomen, just below your ribs. Your spleen is part of your lymph system and helps fight infection. It also helps control the amount of blood cells that flow through your body.

Abdominal Organs

Call your doctor if:

  • You have severe pain in your left upper abdomen.
  • You have a fever, chills, and body aches.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Symptoms of an enlarged spleen:

You may not have any signs or symptoms. You may instead have any of the following:

  • Hiccups
  • Pain in the upper left side of your abdomen
  • Feeling full without eating or after eating a small amount
  • Tiredness
  • Easily bruising or bleeding
  • Frequent infections

Treatment

depends on what is causing your enlarged spleen. For example, if a bacterial infection caused your enlarged spleen, you will receive antibiotics. If you have no symptoms and no cause, your provider may suggest watchful waiting. This means you return for another exam in 6 to 12 months or sooner if you develop symptoms. Surgery to remove the spleen may be needed if a cause cannot be found or your enlarged spleen is causing severe problems.

Self-care:

  • Avoid contact sports and limit activity as directed by your healthcare provider. This will help prevent an injury or rupture (tear) in your spleen.
  • Keep your annual vaccines current. This will help prevent infection and illness.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.