Tender Spleen Treatment Options: Causes Of Tender Splenomegaly

The spleen is a small sponge like organ located in left upper abdominal quadrant lying in the rib cage. The normal spleen weighs about 100-180gm and is approximately the size of a fist.

Spleen plays an important physiological role which includes removal of aging and defective red blood cells, antibody coated bacteria, clears foreign particulate matter etc. In fact it is a part of lymphatic system which manufactures white blood cells to fight infection.

Usually spleen is not palpable in normal adults. An enlarged spleen warrants attention as there are large numbers of diseases associated with splenomegaly.

In some cases an enlarged spleen is accompanied with pain and tenderness.

What Are The Causes Of Tender Spleen?

Being a spongy organ with various vital functions in the body, it is susceptible to damage. A damaged spleen usually enlarges in size. Spleen can become tender due to a direct injury or a blood disorder or a medical disease.

  • Injury to the spleen or a hard blow on stomach area can damage the spleen. It can be a minor damage to the spleen tissue or a major damage leading to intensive bleeding. When the blood clots to form a hematoma, pain and tenderness are the obvious symptoms.
  • Sickle cell disease is a hereditary hemoglobin disease characterized by transformation of red cells into sickle shape. It leads to sickle cell anemia. In this condition the red cells in the spleen gets sequestrated. As a result the blood flow to the vital organs such as heart and brain is hampered. The sequestered red blood cells can cause pain and enlargement of spleen.
  • Polycythemia vera is blood disorder in which one of the symptom is tenderness and pain in spleen. It is a disease where the bone marrow increases production of red blood cell. Splenomegaly of moderate size is common. The blood becomes thick increasing the chances of developing blood clots. The spleen is enormously enlarged in size. If it is not treated, there is risk of rupture of spleen.
  • Cirrhosis of liver is a chronic liver disorder in which the spleen can also be affected with enlargement in size. An enlarged spleen in cirrhosis of liver is painful.

Treatment Options For Tender Spleen

The treatment of pain in spleen will largely depend on the underlying cause. In case if the cause is rupture of spleen due to an injury, surgery may be required to remove the spleen.

With removal of spleen the risk of infection in the body increases. Therefore patients are recommended vaccines and antibiotic therapy after splenectomy to increase immunity of the body.

In case of polycythemia vera, blood is let out in fixed amount depending on the hemoglobin count. Frequent letting out of blood is the required to alleviate symptoms of polycythemia vera.