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An inflamed and swollen spleen is given a stare-down by the surrounding organs it is pressing up against.

Bloating from an Enlarged Spleen

The spleen is a purple colored organ that sits on your left side, under the rib cage. It’s usually about 4 to 8 inches long and is shaped like a fist. A person who has hep C, and is living with liver inflammation, may have an enlarged spleen. If you are bloated from an enlarged spleen, it can cause discomfort.

The role of the spleen

Working side by side with your liver, the spleen has multiple roles. One is to act as a filter. Another is for storing any worn out red blood cells and white blood cells. It’s a warehouse for blood, and also works to detect immune problems. The spleen even acts as a storehouse for immune cells: Sometimes called killer T cells and B cells, they move into action when bacteria or inflammation is in your body.

If you are fighting hep C, the red blood cells may become wounded and lose their shape. Seriously. The spleen takes them in and tries to recycle them, along with your platelets and white blood cells.

Causes of spleen trouble

When your red blood cells are not healthy, they get hung up in your spleen. Because they are out of shape, they won’t flow through the spleen easily. Your spleen goes to work, eventually breaking them all down. Then your spleen pulls out iron, and passes it onto your bone marrow to build strength.

Your spleen also warehouses blood. Picture a big sign on the spleen saying “In Case of Emergency” and you know that your spleen will release lots of blood into your body in an instant. It can affect your platelets also. If you have thrombocytopenia, talk to your doctor about getting your liver calmed down with Hep C treatment.

Diagnosis

During a regular ultrasound, the technician takes exact measurements of your spleen, liver, and your portal vein area. Their report will show exactly how big your spleen is. I remember when mine went down a couple of inches within a year after getting rid of hepatitis. It was an exciting day for me!

Cure

Doctors don’t have a cure for bloating from a swollen spleen. They will try to help cure the cause of the liver disease.

Pain

Even though the bloating isn’t really harmful, it can cause discomfort. Much like the liver, the spleen supposedly cannot feel pain. It has a protective sac surrounding it. However, it can press upon other organs, or your ribs, causing tenderness in your tummy area. It’s no wonder that you feel pain when your spleen or liver is swollen.

Treating hep C

When you get rid of the Hep C virus, your whole body can gradually return to a healthier state. My spleen size went from over 11 inches down to about 9. When I got my liver transplant, my spleen looked so good that the surgeons chose to leave it there.

While you’re healing from cirrhosis, or after hep C treatment, be patient with your body. Some of the old feelings of pain and swelling may still be there for a while. Watch for signs that they are getting better. Looking at your blood lab and ultrasound records can help to cheer you up. When your red blood count, white blood count, and platelet count all have a chance to get better, your spleen can heal too.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The HepatitisC.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Alistair
    4 weeks ago

    Is that it?
    How about drinking beetroot juice?

  • Karen Hoyt moderator author
    4 weeks ago

    So glad you asked. It’s a smart question. Are you having problems with your spleen? Beetroot has always been associated with healthy blood. It’s packed vitamins and minerals. Many athletes drink beet “shots” to help increase oxygen in their blood to enhance their performance.
    Talk to your doctor about how beetroot juice or cooked beets can help you with general health and platelets too.
    Thanks for the reminder about beets! Karen

  • Sligogirl
    1 month ago

    I am so glad to see some info about bloating. I just started Mavyret a week ago. I feel better already…but my facial skin still is so blotchy, colorless and drab…hair is dry and scalp itches. I am 66 yrs old and have been losing height for years due to broken back & pelvis years ago. I use to be 5’3″ . ..now? 4’11″….and i weigh 170 lbs. Normally im at 140-145. I dont have ascites just tons of bloating. Being short in the waist line…talk about discomfort. Its been hard on every part of my body…heart, feet, knees, hips, you name it. I have seriously been thinking IF this belly doesnt go down i am going to have it frozen off..haha. There isnt much pain but there are days when its sore, achy, touchy feeling. The liver especially. Thank you for writing about this, you sure gave me more hope. I will say one thing about taking Mavyret, it dries you out SERIOUSLY BAD. I thought the 2nd day i had a urinary infection. I drink 70-80oz of water anyways . I was told “double it”. Thank you!

  • Karen Hoyt moderator author
    3 weeks ago

    I’m so sorry to hear about the bloating. I’m short waisted too and it makes it so hard to get the pressure off. It sounds like you’re having extra pain from your back too. Can you get someone to give you a back rub?
    All of the body aches and pains are part of Hep C and you will notice a difference once it’s gone for a while.
    Please keep your doctor informed about your bloating. There are many causes, including spleen problems. Are your bowels moving regularly?
    All the extra water your drinking will help that.
    You sound like a tough cookie and my heart is sure with you. Stick around for support while you finish treatment. We’re in this together. XO Karen

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