Understanding The Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis And Treatment Of Spleen Pain
The spleen is a crescent shaped organ like a segment of a tangerine or orange, located in the left upper abdomen, just under the left rib cage, between the tenth and eleventh ribs.
It is the largest solid organ in the body that help defends us against infection and maintains our immune system, apart from the skin. The spleen has been described as a very large lymph node, which it actually is, to some extent.
The spleen is like a large filter. It has two parts - the white pulp, which contains mainly white blood cells, and the red pulp, which contains a network of veins filled with red blood cells. About 300mls of blood passes through the spleen every minute.
The white blood cells in the white pulp of the spleen actively and efficiently look out for bacteria and other dangerous organisms, encircle these and kill them off from our blood system. It also removes debris, like dead cells and tissues from our blood, including foreign materials that might have slipped into us.
Other vital functions of the spleen include:
The spleen is not often an organ that gets caught up in a disease process. When it becomes infected, leading to enlargement, or gets damaged from direct impact, or indeed from poor blood supply to it, this could lead to pain in the spleen.
Spleen pain typically is:
Let's take a look at common conditions that could lead to spleen pain.
The common conditions that affects the spleen leading to the pain described, include:
It is important to be sure that a pain under the left rib cage is coming from the spleen, rather than from other causes of pain in the spleen area. In other to do so, the following test may be necessary:
The treatment option for spleen pain will depend on the cause. if the pain is due to stretching of the covering of the spleen from enlargement, it is important to find the cause of the enlarged spleen and treated -e.g, antimalarial medication if malaria is suspected, or antibiotics for scarlet fever (penicillin V).
Also care should be taken to avoid contact sports so as not to cause rupture of the spleen.
For cases of ruptured spleen, doctors evaluate the severity and decide whether to operate or not. It is important to conserve the spleen whenevr possible, bt obviously, no to the detriment of or threat to life.
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