Spleen pain

Spleen pain is felt in the left side of the abdomen.
This organ is an important part of the immune system.
The spleen produces white blood cells (lymphocytes), which are a protection against microbes.
The spleen is a store of blood platelets (thrombocytes), filters the blood and destroys damaged or old blood cells.
You can live without a spleen, but the immune system then works less efficiently against diseases.
The functions of the spleen are impaired when it becomes infected.

Discomfort that occurs in the left side of the body when running is classic spleen pain.
These symptoms should not be confused with right-sided flank pain caused by the liver.
This sudden “spasm” causes a violent pain, especially when inhaling, but disappears after a few seconds or minutes when resting.
Children often suffer from side stitches as they run a lot, while trained runners do not feel these discomforts.
This symptom can also occur after a long-term effort, for example when walking fast for a long time or during swimming training.
Spleen pain, which occurs when you don’t run (at rest) or do any other sport, are the symptom of a disease.
You don’t see a distended abdomen on the left side, the swelling is inside the abdomen.

Spleen pain can be caused by:

  • infections (which also cause fever and other symptoms),
  • Cirrhosis
  • other liver diseases,
  • blood diseases,
  • problems of the lymphatic system,
  • Jogging, etc.


Most common causes of spleen enlargement

Some viral infections can cause splenomegaly (enlargement of the spleen), including:

  • mononucleosis (caused by the Epstein-Barr virus),
  • cytomegalovirus,
  • viral hepatitis,
  • Malaria
  • Tuberculosis.

Cirrhosis of the liver: the normal liver cells are replaced by fibrous tissue. This is a chronic and degenerative disease.

Leukemia: a tumor of the bone marrow that produces the blood cells.
Symptoms of leukemia include an enlarged spleen and enlarged lymph nodes.

Portal hypertension: increased blood pressure in the portal vein due to a blockage in the liver (cirrhosis due to alcohol abuse), which leads to swelling of the spleen.
In this case, the pain can be continuous or persistent.
The consequences of splenomegaly caused by portal hypertension include decreased platelets and decreased white blood cells trapped in the spleen.

Hodgkin’s lymphoma: a malignant but curable tumor. Lymphoma leads to enlargement of the lymph nodes, spleen and liver progressively enlarge.

Niemann-Pick disease: a genetic-metabolic disease of lipid synthesis that is recessively hereditary. It causes an enlargement of the spleen, liver, brain, as well as gastrointestinal disorders.

Gaucher disease: a genetic and very rare metabolic disease.
In this condition, deposits of fat molecules occur in various organs such as the spleen, bones, central nervous system (CNS) and liver.

Amyloidosis: a progressive, incurable metabolic disease in which the proteins are deposited in the organs or tissues.

Bile atresia: it is a disease in which the ducts that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder are blocked.

Cystic fibrosis: a genetic condition that affects the digestive system, lungs, and sweat glands. The pancreas is the organ most damaged by cystic fibrosis. Inside the pancreas, fibrous scar tissue develops.

Primary sclerosing cholangitis: this is a chronic disease of the liver in which the bile ducts in the liver are thickened, inflamed and blocked.

Felty syndrome: this syndrome is a combination of three diseases: enlargement of the spleen, decreased leukocyte count and rheumatoid arthritis.

Blood disorders that can cause splenomegaly

  • Autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) – The immune system attacks the red blood cells, resulting in a lowered erythrocyte count.
  • Anemia – It can cause discomfort to the spleen and is more common in pregnancy.
  • Hemoglobinopathy – This is a genetic blood disorder that occurs due to disorders of hemoglobin (protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen).
  • Polycythemia vera (PV) – This is a chronic disease of the blood in which the bone marrow produces too many cells (white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets).

Other causes of spleen enlargement include:

  • injuries caused by an accident or trauma,
  • cyst or abscess of the spleen,
  • Diseases in which red blood cells are destroyed.

Spleen pain when breathing or coughing

When a person takes a deep breath or coughs, he uses the intercostal muscles to do so.
In the case of intercostal neuralgia or posterior pain between the ribs (for example, after a cold), pain may be felt on the left side of the rib cage, i.e. at the level of the spleen.
The pain increases when the spine is stretched or when there is a contraction of the intercostal muscles (such as when breathing).

Localization of spleen pain
The spleen is located between the ninth and eleventh ribs. The organ is protected under the left-sided rib cage. It is found behind the middle axellar line near the dorsolateral abdominal wall.
If the spleen is normal in size, you don’t feel it when you feel it.
Spleen pain can radiate to the left shoulder, as well as to the left side of the chest and abdomen.
You have to be able to distinguish the spleen from the colon, which is located just below.
Sometimes, after a plentiful meal, the patient has left-sided pain, vomiting or diarrhea; in this case, the cause is probably colitis.

What happens if the spleen ruptures?
A rupture of the spleen is a medical emergency and occurs when the capsule that encloses the spleen ruptures: a bruise occurs in the abdomen. Depending on the extent of the lesion, internal bleeding may occur.

Symptoms of splenic rupture
A rupture of the spleen causes abdominal pain. The severity and localization of pain depend on how much blood comes out of the spleen. The pain is felt in the following areas:

  • left side of the abdomen (below the rib cage),
  • left shoulder – the nerves of the left shoulder and the left side of the diaphragm have the same course: blood loss can irritate these nerves.

The rupture of the spleen can lead to a drop in blood pressure. Possible consequences can be:

  • Hypotension
  • Confusion
  • Feeling of emptiness in the head
  • Shock signs
  • Excitement
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Paleness

Pain at the top of the left side of the abdomen is not always a symptom of a spleen problem. There are various other causes that can cause discomfort in this area.

  • Stomach pain is felt in the same area as spleen pain.
  • Left-sided pain in the upper abdomen.

In the syndrome of left colon flexure, pain is felt in the left abdomen. These are often caused by:

  • muscle spasms,
  • Colic
  • Flatulence.

In case of constipation with fecal stones (fecalomas) or tumors, a palpable mass can be felt in the left upper abdomen.
This palpation can be seen and felt as a coarse lump or a ball. This palpation is not the result of an enlargement of the spleen (splenomegaly).

What can be done? Therapy for spleen pain

Problems caused by the spleen must be treated by a doctor.
People with splenomegaly should not engage in contact sports because there is a high risk of rupturing the spleen.

Natural remedies for the treatment of problems of the lymphatic system
Several factors serve to maintain the health of the lymphatic system, and suitable dietary supplements also support a quick recovery.

Substances for the treatment of the spleen are:

  • Molasses
  • Ginger
    Ginger is a “medicine” that has various benefits. In the treatment of spleen complaints, ginger improves the absorption of nutrients in the organism. Compounds with ginger reduce inflammation and can help reduce the size of an enlarged spleen.
  • Vitamin C
    Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant and helps the immune system. A daily dose of vitamin C removes free radicals and other toxins from the body. The vitamins improve the effectiveness of the immune system and lymphatic system.
  • Field horsetail is indicated for anemia.

Diet and nutrition for spleen pain

There are two diets that have helped many people heal:

  1. According to the D’Adamo/Mozzi blood group diet, those responsible for leukemia are desserts, cereals, sugar in general, even fruit.
    In the case of anemia, in addition to cereals and sweets, dairy products and tea should also be avoided.
    Chewing gum, maltodextrin, medications and dietary supplements are also not recommended.
    Everyone should eliminate these foods from their diet, in addition, depending on their blood type, certain foods are allowed to avoid others.
  2. The vegan diet/raw food diet, recommended by natural medicine and hygienists, is based on fruits and raw vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and potatoes.
    All other foods are to be avoided; especially animal proteins (meat, fish, eggs; milk and dairy products), processed foods from the supermarket and desserts. Natural medicine is against drugs and dietary supplements, as they are inorganic substances that the body does not recognize and thus excretes without utilizing the substances they contain (e.g. iron).

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