What Side Is Your Spleen Located On – You can go your whole life and not even think about your spleen. If it is not damaged, the spleen will filter blood and produce white blood cells without any problems. Hidden under the chest, the spleen is well protected. However, this does not mean that the spleen cannot be damaged and potentially become a serious problem.

An enlarged spleen is the result of damage or injury to the spleen caused by any of several different conditions, diseases, or types of physical trauma. Infections, liver problems, blood cancers, and metabolic disorders can cause an enlarged spleen, a condition called splenomegaly.

What Side Is Your Spleen Located On

What Side Is Your Spleen Located On

When the spleen is enlarged, there is an increased risk of it rupturing. A ruptured spleen or even severe damage to the spleen can cause massive internal bleeding that requires immediate medical attention.

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Your spleen is a small, orange-sized organ located in the upper left part of your abdomen. Hidden behind the ninth, tenth, and eleventh ribs, just below the left lung, the spleen is an organ that has a role to play in not just one, but two major body systems.

The spleen consists of two different types of tissue, each with its own purpose. The spleen’s first role is to filter the blood. One type of tissue in the spleen, called red parenchyma, helps remove damaged blood cells and other cellular waste from the blood supply. Your spleen is also responsible for maintaining a reserve of platelets to help with clotting when you are injured. The spleen also helps maintain the proper number of red blood cells in the blood, which allows the blood to carry oxygen effectively.

The second important function of the spleen, which is part of the lymphatic system, is to help maintain the proper functioning of the immune system. The second type of tissue in the spleen, the white pulp, is responsible for storing lymphocytes. These cells, also called white blood cells, are the body’s main line of defense against infections. When you are sick, the spleen releases these white blood cells into the bloodstream to attack any invaders, such as bacteria or viruses, in an attempt to destroy them and keep you healthy.

You might think that the enlargement of any organ would cause pain, but surprisingly, an enlarged spleen may not give many signals that something is wrong.

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Unlike many other diseases, spleen problems often do not cause many symptoms. It takes a serious case of spleen enlargement to start experiencing spleen pain. If your spleen becomes significantly enlarged, you may feel pain in your upper abdomen or even in your left arm.

The pressure that an enlarged spleen can place on surrounding organs can sometimes be felt if the swelling has become severe enough. If you experience sharp pain in your upper left abdomen when you take a deep breath, it may be time to talk to your doctor and find out if you have splenomegaly.

Due to its role in cleansing and maintaining blood supply, the spleen can be susceptible to many different conditions that affect the blood. This may include inherited diseases and blood cancers such as Hodgkin’s disease (a form of lymphoma) and leukemia. Your eating habits and lifestyle can cause your spleen to become enlarged. Liver diseases, such as cirrhosis caused by chronic alcoholism, can affect the spleen. Some forms of heart disease, which can be influenced by diet and exercise, can also interfere with blood flow to the spleen.

What Side Is Your Spleen Located On

Blood disorders are a significant source of spleen problems. Because the spleen spends all day filtering and cleaning the blood supply, any blood-related disorders, especially those affecting red blood cells, can pose a challenge to the spleen. Several blood diseases that are common causes of splenomegaly involve the spleen working too hard to remove damaged blood cells. These conditions include hemolytic anemia, sickle cell disease, thalassemia, and spherocytosis.

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The blood disorders listed above aren’t the only reason your spleen may be working overtime trying to target and filter damaged cells from your blood. Cancers such as leukemia and Hodgkin’s disease can both cause damage to blood cells and cause improper filtration by the spleen. It is also possible that other types of cancer can metastasize to the spleen tissue.

There are many metabolic and genetic disorders that can affect the spleen. These conditions focus less on damage to the blood itself, but damage to other tissues in the body can still cause the spleen to work extra hard. The more common causes of this type of spleen damage include:

Infections of various types are also a possible cause of spleen enlargement. This can include viral, bacterial and even parasitic infections. These infections cover a spectrum of serious, life-threatening infections, from HIV/AIDS and malaria to tuberculosis and viral hepatitis. Other, lesser-known infections, such as anaplasmosis and cytomegalovirus, can also cause damage to the immune system, including the spleen.

Most organs in the body have a way of letting you know that something is wrong. Chronic cough and runny nose may indicate that something is wrong with your respiratory system. Blood in the stool is a clear sign that you need to see a doctor because there may be something seriously wrong with your digestive tract. On the other hand, spleen problems have few of these characteristic symptoms.

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If you leave the table feeling full before you’ve eaten a full meal, the first thing that comes to mind is probably a problem with your spleen. In fact, an unexplained feeling of fullness is sometimes a sign that the spleen is enlarged and the stomach is constricting.

Other symptoms of splenomegaly are more closely related to the underlying ailments that damaged the spleen in the first place. These can run the gamut from symptoms of infections such as HIV/AIDS to liver disorders and malaria. Listed below are some common symptoms that are closely related to spleen problems:

It’s unlikely you’ll ever go to the doctor just to have your enlarged spleen checked out. Typically, symptoms of the underlying cause of an enlarged spleen will be the reason to seek medical attention.

What Side Is Your Spleen Located On

Diagnosing your condition will likely start with a physical examination and blood tests to see what’s going on. If your doctor thinks your spleen may be enlarged, he or she may recommend further imaging tests, such as an X-ray or CT scan, to better assess the condition of the spleen.

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From this point on, the course of treatment will depend on the identified causes of spleen enlargement. For some common causes, drug treatments, lifestyle and dietary changes may begin to provide relief. In the case of other genetic diseases, cancers, or if the spleen has simply been damaged too badly, it may be necessary to completely remove the spleen.

The good news is that there is no need to worry about having your spleen removed. There are many organs you can’t live without, but the spleen is different. You can lead a very full, normal life without your spleen, although there will be some negative effects. Due to the important role the spleen plays in maintaining the body’s reserve of white blood cells, removal of the spleen makes you more susceptible to infections for the rest of your life.

Regardless of the cause of splenomegaly, caution should be exercised if the spleen is enlarged. The risk of spleen damage or rupture is very real, especially if the spleen is enlarged. This is especially true for contact sports or outdoor competitive sports such as skiing or mountain biking.

Normally, the rib cage protects the spleen, but when it is damaged or irritated, the spleen can enlarge beyond the rib cage, making it easier to damage on impact. Therefore, strange as it may seem, avoiding contact sports for a period of time after certain illnesses, such as infectious mononucleosis, will likely be recommended by your doctor.

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If abdominal pain or discomfort persists for more than a few days, it may be time to talk to your doctor. This is especially true if you’re experiencing more concerning symptoms, such as unexplained bleeding or sharp pain when breathing. If you are concerned that you may be experiencing symptoms of an enlarged spleen or one of the serious conditions that can cause it, schedule an appointment with Cary Gastroenterology Associates today. We will help you sort through your symptoms and understand the risks and available treatments for an enlarged spleen.

Book an appointment today at one of our offices throughout the Cary, Raleigh, Holly Springs and Triangle areas. We are committed to providing you with the most comprehensive quality of gastroenterological care. Your spleen is the organ located in the upper left corner

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