What is the spleen?

The spleen is an organ that is located in the upper abdomen. The spleen is normally about the size of a fist. The spleen is important because it helps filter the blood.

What is an enlarged spleen?

An enlarged spleen, a condition known as splenomegaly, is not in itself a disease. It is usually a symptom of another problem.

What are the symptoms of an enlarged spleen?

You may not have any symptoms from an enlarged spleen. However, you may:

  • Feel a kind of dull pain on the left side of the abdomen or in your back.
  • Feel full early, so that you can eat only small amounts.
  • Become anemic (and with that, be tired and/or short of breath).

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/16/2018.


  • Henry PH, Longo DL. Henry P.H., Longo D.L. Henry, Patrick H., and Dan L. Longo.Enlargement of Lymph Nodes and Spleen. In: Kasper D, Fauci A, Hauser S, Longo D, Jameson J, Loscalzo J. Kasper D, Fauci A, Hauser S, Longo D, Jameson J, Loscalzo J Eds. Dennis Kasper, et al.eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19e New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2014.
  • Merck Manuals Consumer Version. Enlarged Spleen. Accessed 7/24/2018.


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