Enlarged Spleen (Splenomegaly): Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 11/30/2020

The spleen is an organ in the upper left quadrant of the abdomen that is responsible for filtering blood. Enlargement of the spleen is medically known as splenomegaly.

An enlarged spleen may not cause any symptoms. When the enlargement is severe, pressure from the organ can cause

  • an inability to eat a large meal or
  • a feeling of discomfort, fullness, or pain on the upper left side of the abdomen.

The pain may spread to the left shoulder or back. Hiccups may be present due to irritation of the diaphragm.

Causes of an enlarged spleen (splenomegaly)

Many different types of conditions, including infections, cancers, inflammatory diseases, blood disorders, trauma, or diseases in which abnormal proteins or other substances accumulate in body cells can cause splenomegaly.

Other enlarged spleen (splenomegaly) symptoms and signs

  • Feeling of Discomfort, Fullness, or Pain on the Upper Left Side of the Abdomen
  • Inability to Eat a Large Meal


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.