The inflammation of the spleen


An inflammation of the spleen leads to inflammation of the spleen tissue. The causes of the inflammation can be very different. There are numerous infectious diseases that affect the spleen. Since the spleen contributes to the body's immune defense, its activity often increases with systemic infectious diseases. It reacts to the inflammation and the increased activity with a swelling, which is accompanied by pain. One speaks of a splenomegaly.

The reasons

Most often, the cause of inflammation of the spleen is a systemic infectious disease. These include various viral and bacterial pathogens. A classic infection that affects the spleen is Pfeiffer's glandular fever. But fungi can also cause inflammation of the spleen.

Furthermore, parasites can lead to inflammation of the spleen. This includes, for example, the causative agent of malaria. Malaria triggers a chronic inflammation of the spleen, which causes hardening of the organs. A fistula, a small duct between the spleen and large intestine, is rarely the cause of the inflammation of the spleen. In the spleen tissue, an abscess, i.e. a collection of pus, then forms due to the intestinal bacteria.

Find out all about the topic here: Malaria.

The symptoms

The inflammation leads to swelling of the spleen tissue. Since the soft spleen tissue is located in a hard capsule, the increase in size causes pain, which is localized in the left upper abdomen. Sometimes they can also radiate further into the abdomen or back. Different postures can make the pain worse. They can be perceived as a slight feeling of pressure or stinging.

A swelling of the spleen, which doctors call splenomegaly, is by no means specific to an inflammation of the spleen. It occurs in a variety of diseases, which is why it is very important to clarify the cause of splenomegaly. In addition to splenomegaly, there are other vague symptoms such as fatigue, fever and tiredness. The exhaustion becomes noticeable even with the slightest physical exertion.

Furthermore, there is an increased susceptibility to infection. Unfortunately, there are no typical symptoms that clearly indicate inflammation of the spleen. Other symptoms can occur depending on the cause of the inflammation. With chronic inflammation of the spleen, the symptoms are usually not as pronounced as with acute inflammation.

Further information on this topic can be found at: The swollen spleen.

The diagnosis

In any case, it is important to consult a doctor if there is pain in the spleen. The first thing to do is to talk to a doctor, followed by a physical examination. The examination of the abdomen is important here. As a rule, the spleen cannot be felt in the left upper abdomen. However, because of the swelling, the spleen is often palpable when it becomes infected.

Furthermore, a blood test and a test for pathogens that are suspected to be causing the symptoms are carried out. An ultrasound examination of the spleen can also follow. This is important in order to rule out other possible causes as well.

The blood values ​​for an inflammation of the spleen

When the spleen becomes inflamed, the CRP level increases. The CRP value describes a laboratory parameter that measures the concentration of the C-reactive protein. However, the increase is very unspecific, as the CRP value increases with numerous inflammations and infections.

In addition to the inflammation values ​​in the blood, the number of blood cells is also changed, since the spleen can no longer fulfill its task of filtering the blood. The result is anemia and a reduced number of blood platelets, which are important for blood clotting

The treatment

The therapy depends on the cause of the inflammation of the spleen. In the case of bacterial pathogens, an antibiotic must be taken. The doctor can prescribe a pain reliever for possible severe pain. In any case, it is important to take it easy and relax for a long enough time. Inflammation of the spleen is a serious condition that can also lead to complications. Therefore, physical protection should not be underestimated.

To support the immune system, you can drink a lot and eat a diet rich in vitamins. In severe cases, the spleen can be severely affected by the inflammation, so that there is a risk of organ breakdown. In this case, the spleen must be surgically removed. Even if an abscess, i.e. an accumulation of pus, has formed in the spleen tissue, it must be removed during an operation.

Also read the article: The removal of the spleen.

The duration

The time it takes to recover depends on how severe the inflammation of the spleen is. However, it often takes several weeks to fully recover from an inflammation of the spleen. The prognosis for an inflammation of the spleen is generally correct. However, complications are possible, which is why a doctor should always be consulted for treatment. If the disease progresses seriously and the spleen is removed by surgery, there is a lifelong increased risk of sepsis due to the lack of immune function of the spleen.

The course of the disease

In most cases, the inflammation of the spleen heals with sufficient physical rest and, if necessary, with the use of medication. However, after an inflammation of the spleen, the spleen can remain enlarged despite the disease healed. This is not a cause for concern

However, complications are possible during an inflammation of the spleen. Rarely, if the spleen is very inflamed, there is a risk of spleen disintegration or an abscess forming.