Unlike other organs of our body that we tend to be more present, such as in the case of liver or kidney, the spleen is likely to become one of the most “forgotten”. In fact, we do not usually remember it’s until there is any condition or health disorder that affects it. But although in general it usually does not cause problems, if we take into account what diseases or problems can influence its state. Moreover, one of the most common and usual is the enlarged spleen, which is medically known by the name of splenomegaly.
The spleen is an organ which is part of our lymphatic system. It is having an approximate size similar to the fist of one hand, and found on the left side, just below the ribs and above the stomach.
Among the main functions of the spleen we can mention its high content of white blood cells that fight against germs. In fact, as we indicated above, is part of the lymphatic system, as surely you know combat infections, while maintaining the balance of fluids in our body. In addition, it destroyed those damaged or aged cells; it helps control the amount of blood in our body and keeps both red blood cells and the healthy platelets.
What are the symptoms of enlarged spleen
Basically there are three signs that may indicate the presence of enlarged spleen, so in reality we are faced with a disorder that is not as easy to diagnose.
For example, we can feel some disability when eaten in large quantities, so we tend to fill more quickly and even with little food. That is, we satiated quickly, even when we eat small amounts of food.
We may feel pain that is situated in the upper left side of the abdomen, there are other problems that may affect its appearance, as in the case of pancreatitis, diverticulosis and diverticulitis and kidney stones. Among the reasons that appear abdominal pain not only because of the swelling itself, but the spleen tends to stretch as a result of inflammation. This pain tends to worsen when performing a deep breath, and may radiate to the left shoulder.
The hiccup is another usual signs of enlarged spleen, especially if it appears at any time, suddenly and often repeated several times in a single day.
Since the spleen is part of the lymphatic system and is responsible for filtering the blood and maintaining adequate levels in platelets and red and white blood cells, when the spleen is swollen may arise anemia caused by a lack of red blood cells. In turn, it may appear fatigue due to anemia.
The causes of enlarged spleen
There are several reasons that can cause the spleen to swell. The most common are:
- Infections: Bacterial infections, cat-scratch disease, infectious mononucleosis (whether by the Epstein-Barr virus or cytomegalovirus), parasitic infections or other viral infections.
- Liver disease: Cirrhosis, portal vein obstruction, cystic fibrosis or sclerosing cholangitis.
- Blood diseases: Hemoglobinopathies, hemolytic anemias.
- Cancer: Hodgkin’s disease, leukemia, lymphomas.
- Other diseases: Systemic lupus erythematosus, sarcoidosis and sickle cell splenic crisis.
Treatment of enlarged spleen
Clearly, the treatment of enlarged spleen is related to the cause that has caused such swelling but should establish a prompt medical treatment since an enlarged spleen can lead to chronic infection. In fact, long term, if it emerges infection can lead to the removal of the spleen.
For example, if the cause of inflammation is an infection, the antibiotic may be useful for the treatment of disease. Whereas if the cause of the enlarged spleen is due to Hodgkin’s disease or leukemia, medical treatment to follow is radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
Home remedy for enlarged spleen
Among the best natural remedies for the enlarged spleen, are the purifying infusions, which allow eliminating toxins from the body and leaving the organs free of waste accumulations that can end up damaging them. Many of these preparations, in addition, have very beneficial anti-inflammatory properties.
The best infusions to deflate the spleen are the following:
- Horsetail Infusion: Eliminates toxins, it is anti-inflammatory and relieves abdominal pain that can cause enlargement of the spleen.
- Dandelion Infusion: It is very diuretic and depurative, so it is very effective to eliminate all accumulated toxins and fights anemia, a condition associated with spleen inflammation.
- Nettle Infusion: It has very powerful anti-inflammatory properties, increases the segregation of gastric juices and promotes digestion.
- Apple tree tea: Helps cleanse the lymphatic system and, therefore, reduce enlarged spleen.
- Parsley Tea: Promotes the elimination of toxins through the urine and improves intestinal transit.
Take about 2 cups a day of some of these infusions to begin to notice the results and you will see how little by little the symptoms are reduced. It is important that before consuming them you are informed about their contraindications and side effects.
Cranberry juice is one of the most effective remedies for cleaning the spleen naturally and preventing and treating its inflammation. On the one hand, these small fruits have the property of fluidifying the blood and cleaning the lymphatic system and, on the other hand, it favors the cleaning of the organs through the urine, which is very important to prevent bacterial infections that can end up damaging the spleen and causing its enlargement.
To prepare a cranberry juice, just follow the steps listed below:
- Wash 2 cups of blueberries with cold water.
- In the blender, add cranberries, 1 cup of cold water and 1/2 freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Process at a medium power until the juice is obtained.
- Pour into a glass and take cold or at room temperature.
Drink 1 glass of cranberry juice twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening and do not forget to combine it with the abundant intake of water.
Oatmeal and apple smoothie
One of the main symptoms of the enlarged spleen is the loss of appetite and, for this; the liquefied oatmeal and apple can be very beneficial and restorative, since it provides many nutrients and helps to strengthen that organ naturally. But not only this, it is one of the best natural remedies for the enlarged spleen because it favors the purification of the liver and improve its functions, and is that in many cases the enlargement of the spleen occurs in consequence to liver diseases.
To prepare the oatmeal and apple smoothie, you have to follow the following steps:
- Cut 1 green apple into pieces, keeping it skin.
- In the blender, add 3 tablespoons of oatmeal, 1 glass of water, the apple and a few drops of lemon juice.
- Process all the ingredients until a homogeneous mixture is obtained.
Take this smoothie for about 10 days a month for breakfast so you can take advantage of all its benefits.
Good food for the spleen
In addition to the home remedies for the enlarged spleen, it is also essential to repair the diet when suffering from this condition and include those foods that favor the recovery of this organ. It is recommended to follow a balanced and healthy diet, which includes more vegetables and fresh fruit, especially foods that are rich in antioxidants, such as citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, blue fish, garlic, olive oil, tomato, avocado, ginger, etc.
On the contrary, you should avoid the consumption of foods that are very difficult to digest and process, such as dairy products, white bread, white pasta, foods rich in sugars and red meats.
Can we live without a spleen?
The quick answer is: Yes! You can live without this organ. When the spleen is removed for some reason, the person can live a normal life. Only that will be more likely to get infections than a person who has the defensive function of this body. When spleen removed, the liver will assume the part of the responsibility to fight infections and to coordinate the immune system, but cannot replace 100%.