The spleen is an organ found beneath the left rib cage. Numerous conditions, including cancers, infections, and liver diseases, can cause splenomegaly or an enlarged spleen. An enlarged spleen does not cause symptoms but is discovered during a physical examination. Besides that, the doctors cannot feel the spleen in their patient until it’s enlarged. Blood tests and imaging can also detect an enlarged spleen in an individual.
Can Diet Cause Splenomegaly?
An unhealthy diet is not the cause of splenomegaly or enlarged spleen. But the lifestyle and diet of a person can increase the chances of numerous medical issues that can lead to an enlarged spleen. For instance, too much drinking will cause cirrhosis, a liver issue that causes an enlarged spleen.
NAFLD or Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which occurs when the liver contains excess fat, is also connected to Splenomegaly. Additionally, NAFLD has several risk factors, such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, obesity, and high blood fat levels. All these things are exacerbated or caused by a person’s lifestyle or diet.
Splenomegaly can also occur due to RA or rheumatoid arthritis and congestive heart failure. These two conditions are allied with dietary patterns, including a Western diet high in sugar and ultra-processed foods.
Enlarged Spleen: Food Products to Eat and Avoid
An enlarged spleen or splenomegaly causes fullness or pain in the upper left belly, which spreads to the shoulder. It can also cause the feeling of fullness even when you have eaten or eaten a small amount of food. Besides that, splenomegaly causes frequent infections and bleeding as well.
To avoid such problems from occurring, there are certain food items that you must eat and avoid eating. These are:
Food Items You Must Eat
- Herbs and Spices: Oregano, Turmeric, Basil, and Thyme
- Fruits: Apples, Berries, Bananas, Citrus Fruits, and Cherries
- Animal Proteins: Turkey, Chicken, Fish, Eggs, and Shellfish
- Vegetables: Peppers, Spinach, Asparagus, and Broccoli
- Legumes: Chickpeas, Lentils, and Black Beans.
- Whole Grains: Barley, Quinoa, Oats, and Brown Rice
- Nut Butters, Nuts and Seeds: Pumpkin Seeds, Almonds, and Cashews
- Healthy Fats: Unsweetened Coconut, Olive Oil, Full Fat Yogurt, and Avocados
- Starchy Vegetables: Butternut Squash and Sweet Potatoes
These food products will protect you against severe health conditions and improve your overall health. This will prevent Splenomegaly or enlarged spleen from occurring.
Food Items That You Must Avoid
- Processed Meat Items: Sausages, Salami, Bacon, and Tinned Ham
- Sweets: Ice Cream, Sugary Baked Products, and Candy
- Sugar-Sweetened Beverages: Energy Drinks, Milkshakes, Soda, and Ice Tea
- Fast Food: Chicken Nuggets, Burgers, Hot Dogs, French Fries, Pizzas, and Tacos
- Ultra-Processed Snack Foods: Pretzels, Chips, and Crackers
Limiting or cutting down on these drinks and food items can help you protect your health from unwanted diseases or conditions. It also includes all those conditions that are linked to an enlarged spleen.
Treatment For Enlarged Spleen
There are several ways through, which you can easily treat an enlarged spleen, and they are:
- Waiting Patiently
When you have an enlarged spleen but do not have any signs or symptoms and the cause cannot be found, the physician will recommend you to wait patiently. Visit the doctor for a re-evaluation within 6 to 12 months or before that if you develop some symptoms.
If you have an enlarged spleen that causes severe complications, splenectomy or surgically removing the spleen is the best option. Surgery is also an excellent option during critical or chronic cases. Proper spleen removal surgery needs careful consideration.
Even though you can live an active life after removing the spleen, you can get severe and life-threatening infections. Be sure to speak with the doctor before you opt for the surgery. The physician can tell you whether or not surgery is the best choice for you.
Lifestyle and Home Remedies for Enlarged Spleen
When you have an enlarged spleen, it will be much better to avoid playing contact sports like hockey, football, and soccer. Otherwise, you can limit all the other activities to lessen the chances of a ruptured spleen.
You must also wear a seat belt when you’re inside a vehicle. It’s because the seat belt protects the spleen when you’re in a car accident.
Lastly, always keep up with the vaccinations because the chances of infections can increase significantly. You must take tetanus, pertussis booster, annual flu shot, and diphtheria booster every 10 years. Be sure to speak with the physician if you require any other vaccine.
An enlarged spleen can cause numerous issues, such as bleeding, pain, fullness in the left side of the upper belly, and autoimmune conditions. The best way to avoid an enlarged spleen is by lessening the intake of food products like fast food, sugary baked goods, etc. You can increase the intake of food items like healthy fats, starchy vegetables, and animal proteins. This can improve your health and prevent conditions linked to an enlarged spleen from occurring.