Spleen Pain, Causes and Treatment

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Spleen pain can be quiet uncomfortable but most of the time, it’s difficult to really point out the real location of this. If you don’t know where your spleen is, it is located under your rib cage in the upper left part of your abdomen. It is the organ responsible for the lymph system and acts as the drainage network which defends your body from infection.

The white blood cell which is produced in the spleen helps in destroying bacteria, foreign matter as well as dead tissues from the blood as it passes through. Basically, the spleen filters any harmful substance in the blood and at the same time keeps the red and white blood cells as well as the platelets healthy.

The spleen is about the size of your first but it cannot be felt during examinations. However it does swell when the body has a disease and since it swells, it can cause pain and discomfort to the body. The enlargement of the spleen is called splenomegaly and most of the time it is shows no sign of any problem. When the spleen is enlarged, it becomes overly active in removing foreign substances in the blood. This condition is known as hypersplenism and when this happens, it may cause serious damage to the body.


Splenomegaly can be caused by many reasons. It could be due to viral infections, parasites and bacterial infections. It can also be due to cancer like leukemia which affects the white blood cells or lymphoma which is a cancer of lymph tissue. Enlargement of the spleen can also be due to inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and the likes. It could also be due to trauma caused by injuries, a cyst, large abscess caused by bacterial infection and infiltrative diseases like Gaucher’s disease and the likes.

Signs and symptoms

Most of the time, an enlarged spleen is undetected as the symptoms are rare. It is usually discovered once the person undergoes physical exam. However there are signs and symptoms that can lead to an enlarged spleen. One of them is being unable to finish a large meal. The person usually feels full after a few bites. There’s a feeling of discomfort or fullness with pain on the upper left side of the abdomen that may spread on the left shoulders. This pain worsens when one is taking a deep breath; when this happens, it is best to consult a physician right away. Other symptoms may include weight loss, fatigue, frequent infections, easy bleeding, anemia and jaundice.


An enlarged spleen can be treated with the help of diagnostic tests. This will confirm the cause of the swelling. Blood tests, ultrasound and computerized tomography scans may also be needed.

Of course it is important to get a checkup as soon as the signs and symptoms come out. The earlier the diagnosis is, the better chances you have of treating it right away. So make sure that you watch out for the obvious symptoms and take note of it. Seek medical treatment as soon as possible to avoid further complications in the future.