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Splenomegaly – Symptoms And Causes

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Splenomegaly is defined as enlargement of the spleen, exceeding the limits of physiological variations. The spleen has an average weight of 180-250 g lower in women and older men than men with the physiological property to relax for blood storage and to contract, throwing blood rich in red blood cells into circulation in case of effort or major bleeding.  Splenomegaly must be distinguished from organ changes that occur in the same external region of the body in which the spleen is situated (enlarged left lobe of the liver, kidney tumors , splenic left angle tumors of the colon, pancreas tail tumors, spine tumors, uterine fibroids or cysts ovary.

Enlarged spleen

Enlarged spleen

Splenomegaly sometimes causes a feeling of heaviness in the left upper quadrant (upper left abdomen) and pain. Also, these changes should be considered when the cause of an illenes is not detected, the cause of splenomegaly must be found  eliminating infectious diseases, parasitic diseases, taking into account the physiology and functional links with other organs of the spleen, hematopoietic system diseases, liver diseases.

Splenomegaly symptoms

Splenomegaly symptoms include mild pain, sensation of weight in the spleen area, the spleen may be palpable, under ribs (normal spleen is not palpable, and increases its volume only in pathological conditions). Palpation along with imaging test are indispensable to diagnose splenomegaly.

Splenomegaly causes

Different diseases or infections can cause splenomegaly: liver disease as cirrhosis, bacterial infections: septicemia, typhoid and paratyphoid, brucellosis, tuberculosis, systemic diseases: lupus erythematosus, sarcoidosis or amyloidosis, haematological diseases: leukemia or myeloid splenomegaly, parasitic diseases like malaria, viral diseases: infectious mononucleosis. Splenomegaly may be caused by certain diseases such as blood diseases, viral diseases, liver diseases, parasites, bacteria, cysts and tumors.



Splenomegaly may be confused sometimes with a large left kidney, a tumor of the colon or left liver lobe hypertrophy. It can also be caused by infectious diseases such as typhoid fever, endocarditis, infectious mononucleosis, streptococcal septicemia and parasitic splenomegaly (malaria, spleen hydatid cyst), splenic tumors, hypersplenism (exaggerated destruction of red blood cells and platelets), cirrhosis, haemolytic anemia , septicemia, brucellosis, tuberculosis, lupus erythematosus, leukemia or myeloid splenomegaly, infectious mononucleosis. The diagnosis of splenomegaly is achieved by X-rays, echography, chest puncture, blood examination, splenic puncture, liver tests, etc..

Treatment depends on the disease that lead to splenomegaly. Chemotherapy in splenomegaly is used in the case of hematological malignancies, antibiotics in infections, and surgery in the case of splenic abscess. Voluminous spleen predisposes to a ruptured spleen by abdominal wounds or chest trauma. Morbidity and mortality in case of splenomegaly results from associated diseases and surgical procedures.