The primary symptoms of splenomegaly, or an enlarged spleen, include localized pain in the upper left part of the abdomen, which may radiate to the shoulder, and a feeling of fullness despite eating very little, according to Mayo Clinic. However, splenomegaly often develops with no discernible symptoms, notes WebMD.
Other symptoms, such as extreme tiredness, jaundice, greater infection susceptibility, unexplained weight loss and anemia, may also indicate splenomegaly, notes WebMD. However, these symptoms are not directly caused by the enlargement of the spleen. Instead, they result from the underlying condition behind the splenomegaly. There are numerous infections and disorders that can cause splenomegaly, including viral, bacterial and parasitic infections such as mononucleosis, toxoplasmosis and endocarditis; liver disease such as cirrhosis; and cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma, reports WebMD. Splenomegaly may result from a traumatic physical injury or an inflammatory disease such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Splenomegaly often goes unnoticed unless it is discovered during the course of a routine physical examination in which the doctor touches the abdomen, according to Mayo Clinic. Diagnostic exams such as blood tests, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or an ultrasound are necessary to confirm the presence of an enlarged spleen. Doctors may order additional tests to identify the underlying cause of the spleen enlargement, which is crucial for creating an effective treatment plan.