An enlarged spleen is a sign that the immune system is fighting to remove threats from the body, but failing to do so. There are numerous causes for an enlarged spleen, but there are also natural treatments available to address this condition. Research has shown that around 3% of first-year college students have enlarged spleens. (1) The condition can be caused by alcohol or drug use, bacterial infections, viruses and other health issues. The trouble with this condition is that enlarged spleen symptoms often do not exist. A patient may have the condition and not even realize it. In cases where enlarged spleen symptoms do arise, they can include pain and tenderness, jaundice and fatigue. (2) Once the condition is detected, enlarged spleen treatment focuses on protecting the spleen by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Enlarged Spleen Causes
- Bacterial infections
- Alcohol or drug use
- Inflammation related to a diet high in chemicals, preservatives, pesticides and other toxins
- Cancer that has spread
- Liver disease or cirrhosis
- Blood diseases characterized by abnormal blood cells
- Disorders of the lymph system
- Autoimmune reactions and disorders such as arthritis
- Physical trauma to the spleen or an injury
Enlarged Spleen Symptoms
- Indigestion or feeling uncomfortable when eating, especially after a large meal
- Spleen pain and tenderness, usually on the upper left side of the abdomen
- Pain that has spread from the abdomen to the left shoulder
- Spleen pain when taking deep breaths or moving around
- Low energy levels, possibly chronic fatigue
- Symptoms of jaundice
- Symptoms of anemia
- Unexplained weight loss
- Frequent infections
- Bleeding and bruising easily
Enlarged Spleen Treatment
1. Protect the Spleen from Rupturing
If you have an enlarged spleen, one of the first things you need to do is keep the situation from worsening. That means taking steps to safeguard against your spleen rupturing. Protecting the spleen from rupturing is an absolutely crucial part of enlarged spleen treatment. A ruptured spleen is an emergency medical condition that can lead to many dangerous health issues. (3) While some exercise is good for spleen health, rough and tough activities or extreme exercise is not a good idea. A patient with an enlarged spleen should avoid contact sports and any type of physical activity where the spleen may become further damaged.
2. Eat a Nutritious Diet
When something has gone wrong with your body, often one of the best things you can do is to give it healing foods. Ideally, of course, we would all eat a diet full of nutritious food, all of the time. Doing so would help prevent several diseases, keep us full of energy, and maybe even extend our lifespan. But if you can’t stick to a healthy diet as part of your normal lifestyle, then at least give your body what it craves when it has some major healing to do.
The spleen helps turn nutrients from digested food into fuel that the body can use for energy. An unhealthy spleen is linked to many health conditions, including fatigue and anemia. To support the spleen and the lymphatic system, eat a diet high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to help lower inflammation and reduce free radical damage. Avoid eating foods that place added stress on your body such as common allergens, low-quality animal products, sugary foods and snacks, processed foods and refined vegetable oils. Load up on anti-inflammatory foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and spices. (4)
Enlarged spleen treatment includes exercise. In order for the lymphatic system to properly drain fluids, you need to move. Exercise promotes blood circulation and reduces inflammation. Regular workouts can help keep fluids moving throughout your body, which is an important factor in a healthy spleen. (5)
Now, that doesn’t mean go crazy, as too much physical exercise or contact sports can cause further damage to an enlarged spleen, such as a rupture, as outlined above. But that doesn’t mean you need to be immobile, either. Just do enough to keep your lymphatic system healthy and working properly. The spleen is responsible for filtering particles within lymph fluids. When the liver a the spleen are able to properly do their jobs, waste is filtered from the body efficiently. Speak to your doctor before starting a new exercise regime. He or she may be able to suggest physical activities or forms of exercise that will be beneficial, and not harmful to your spleen.
4. Reduce Stress
This item is something we could all work on diminishing. Stress is a normal, healthy part of life, of course. But our chaotic lifestyles and the demands we put on ourselves can quickly lead to an overabundance of stress. This can have horrible effects on not only our mental status, but our physical well-being, too. For example, chronic stress can weaken the immune system, leading to inflammation, digestive problems and other health issues. Stress can affect the lymphatic, immune and digestive systems and worsen enlarged spleen symptoms. (6)
Combat stress by exercising, participating in a relaxing hobby, walking in nature, taking warm baths and taking part in other stress-relieving activities. Life can be difficult, but it’s meant to be enjoyed! Do yourself and your body a huge favor by allowing yourself to enjoy the activities that will help reduce your stress levels.
5. Use Essential Oils and Supplements
Many essential oils can work for enlarged spleen treatment. Essential oils that reduce inflammation, fight infections, increase blood flow and reduce pain include lemon, myrrh, oregano, cypress and frankincense. Combine several drops of your chosen essential oil with a carrier oil, then massage the mixture over the spleen 2-3 times per day to help improve circulation and fight swelling. (7) The bonus is that this practice is also therapeutic, so you can help reduce stress, furthering the healing process. You can increase the stress-reduction component by playing relaxing music during this healing exercise. Keep the lights low and practice deep breathing while you massage the oil over the spleen.
Additionally, there several supplements that can help promote spleen health. These include turmeric, burdock root, digestive enzymes, activated charcoal and milk thistle. They are known for fighting inflammation as well as improving circulation.