Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Risk Factors Symptoms Treatment Complications Underlying Cause Anatomy

Splenomegaly Overview

What is splenomegaly?
A person with splenomegaly has an enlarged spleen. The spleen is normally the size of a fist. It removes old red blood cells from the bloodstream and produces white blood cells, which fight infection. Splenomegaly is not a disease, but may be a sign of an underlying disease that causes inflammation of the spleen. A common cause of splenomegaly is mononucleosis.

What are the symptoms of splenomegaly?
Usually, a person with a mild to moderate splenomegaly does not have symptoms. Symptoms of severe splenomegaly may include nausea, vomiting, left upper abdominal pain, left shoulder pain, bleeding gums, fatigue, pale skin, difficulty breathing, nosebleeds, and excessive bruising.

How does the doctor treat splenomegaly?
Treatment for splenomegaly depends on the underlying cause. Treatment may include antibiotics, medications that suppress the immune system, chemotherapy, or surgery to remove the spleen.

Continue to Splenomegaly Risk Factors

Last Updated: Oct 1, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Splenomegaly References
  1. Hilmes MA, Strouse PJ. The pediatric spleen. Semin Ultrasound CT MR. 2007 Feb;28(1):3-11. [17366703]
  2. Kinderknecht JJ. Infectious mononucleosis and the spleen. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2002 Apr;1(2):116-20. [12831720]
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