Symptoms and Signs of Enlarged Spleen (Splenomegaly) Causes, Treatment, and Life Expectancy

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Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Doctor's Notes on Enlarged Spleen (Splenomegaly) Causes, Treatment, and Life Expectancy

The spleen is an organ in the upper left portion of the abdomen that serves as a filter for the bloodstream, stores red blood cells and platelets, and produces lymphocytes, part of the body’s immune system. Enlargement of the spleen is medically known as splenomegaly and occurs because of an underlying illness. Diseases and conditions that can cause an enlarged spleen are varied. Possible causes of splenomegaly include liver disease, certain cancers, infections, inflammatory conditions, and trauma.

An enlarged spleen itself typically does not cause signs or symptoms, but often, the presence of an enlarged spleen is associated with symptoms of the underlying disease that caused the enlargement. Some of the symptoms associated with the diseases that cause enlarged spleen can include weakness, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes), fever, weight loss, shortness of breath, easy bruising, or nausea and vomiting.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.