- Health Library
- Research a Disease or Condition
- Lookup a Symptom
- Learn About a Test
- Prepare for a Surgery or Procedure
- What to do After Being Discharged
- Self-Care Instructions
- Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- Nutrition, Vitamins & Special Diets
|•||Memorial Cancer Institute|
|•||Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital|
|•||Find A Physician|
|•||Subscribe to our Health-e-News|
Splenomegaly is a larger-than-normal spleen.
Spleen enlargement; Enlarged spleen; Spleen swelling
The spleen is an organ that is a part of the lymph system. It filters the blood and maintains healthy red and white blood cells and platelets.
Many health conditions can affect the spleen. This includes:
- Diseases of the blood or lymph system
- Liver disease
Symptoms of splenomegaly include:
- Inability to eat a large meal
- Pain on the upper left side of the abdomen
- Diseases involving the liver
- Blood diseases
- Hodgkin's disease
- Other causes
- Felty syndrome
- Lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus)
- Sickle cell splenic crisis
It is important to prevent injury that might cause the spleen to rupture. You should avoid contact sports.
Your doctor or nurse will tell you what else you need to do to take care of yourself and any medical condition.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
There are usually no symptoms from an enlarged spleen. However, some people have pain in the left upper section of the belly area. You should medical help right away if it is severe or gets worse when you take a deep breath.
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
The health care provider will ask questions about your symptoms and medical history.
A physical exam will be done. This will include feeling your abdomen (belly area). The health care provider will tap (percuss) along the left upper part of your abdomen and feel (palpate) in that same area, especially just under the rib cage.
Tests that may be done include:
- Abdominal x-ray, ultrasound, or CT scan
- Blood tests such as a CBC and tests of your liver function
This list is not all-inclusive.
ReferencesArmitage JO. Approach to the patient with lymphadenopathy and splenomegaly. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 171.
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.