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What are some symptoms of an enlarged spleen?

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Quick Answer

People with an enlarged spleen often experience fullness or pain in the left upper abdomen that spreads to the left shoulder, fatigue, anemia or frequent infections, explains Mayo Clinic. Some patients feel full after eating a small amount when the spleen is enlarged and pressing on the stomach.

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An enlarged spleen can cause patients to bleed easily, while others may not experience any symptoms at all, according to Mayo Clinic. Individuals who have severe pain that worsens in the left upper abdomen, making it difficult to take a deep breath, should consult with a medical professional immediately.

Enlarged spleens develop in people who have infections, blood diseases, problems with the lymph system, cirrhosis or certain liver diseases, explains WebMD. People with cancer that has spread to the spleen, inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or infiltrative diseases such as amyloidosis or Gaucher's disease are at risk for an enlarged spleen. Injury or trauma during contact sports as well as a noncancerous fluid-filled cyst or large abscess caused by a bacterial infection can cause the spleen to enlarge.

Treatment for an enlarged spleen is focused on treating the underlying cause, according to Mayo Clinic. Patients without symptoms may be under careful observation. In extreme cases, it may be necessary to surgically remove the spleen.

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