Is Your Spleen Healthy?
The spleen is just one of those organs that you know you have, but do you know its function?
Another question to ask yourself – do you know whether or not your spleen is healthy? It’s actually more important than you think it is; an enlarged spleen can be a sign that your health is in danger.
What is the spleen & its function?
Your spleen is a vital part of your lymphatic system which is responsible for filtering out infections, viruses, bacteria, and other dangerous pathogens from your blood.
Now, raise your hand if you know exactly where your spleen is located? Luckily this isn’t biology class and I’m going to give you the answer – your spleen is in the upper far left part of your abdomen. It’s about 4 inches long, shaped like a fist and is actually purple. Don’t try to feel for it, it’s protected by your rib cage.
Enlarged Spleen Symptoms and Causes
An enlarged spleen is called a “splenomegaly” and this happens when your body is fighting too hard to remove something dangerous, like an infection. While an enlarged spleen isn’t always a major health concern, it does mean that you are sick and your immune system is working overtime. So it may be a good idea to figure out what’s wrong before it becomes a bigger health problem.
Enlarged spleen symptoms:
- Abdominal tenderness
- Pain when taking deep breaths
- Yellowing of the skin
- Ear, urinary tract, respiratory, or sinus infections
Severe infections that can cause an enlarged spleen (and lead to more damage) include mononucleosis, parasitic infections, or bacterial infections.
Other causes of an enlarged spleen:
- Alcohol or drug use
- Diet high in chemicals, preservatives, and other toxins
- Blood diseases
- Lymph system disorders
- Liver disease
It’s important to treat the root cause of an enlarged spleen because if left unmanaged, it can become very serious.
Cancer and your spleen
Viruses and infections can lead to certain types of cancers, and properly treating both can decrease your chances of developing a cancer that affects your lymphatic system and spleen.
Leukemia is cancer of white blood cells and lymphoma is cancer of lymph tissue. An enlarged spleen can be a symptom of both of these cancers. And other cancers, such as breast, melanoma, and lung cancer can spread to the spleen.
While not everyone who experiences an enlarged spleen will be diagnosed with cancer, supporting your spleen can help to avoid a health crisis.
Foods to detox your spleen
To keep your spleen nice and healthy, it’s vital to avoid eating inflammatory foods, such as dairy, low-quality meat, soy, sugary snacks, and refined oils.
A healthy diet (as well as drinking lots of water) enables the spleen to efficiently carry blood cells and nutrients to tissue. Here are some nutrient-dense foods that will support your spleen and lymphatic system:
- Green leafy vegetables
- Lean proteins, such as salmon and wild seafood
- Nuts and seeds
- Unrefined oils, such as extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil
Natural Treatments for an Enlarged Spleen
Besides a nutrient-dense diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, here are ways you can naturally treat an enlarged spleen:
- Exercise – regular exercise keeps blood flowing and fluids moving throughout your body. This is important for your overall health, but especially your spleen since it’s job is to filter your blood.
- Manage stress – chronic stress is known to weaken the immune system. This can lead to health conditions, such as inflammation, digestive issues, ulcers, and much more. I recommend taking time for yourself, whether that’s taking a nice bath, going for a nature walk, or simply enjoying a hobby. Breathing exercises are also very effective.
- Supplements – the supplements I recommend to support a healthy immune function, are omega-3 fish oils, turmeric, digestive enzymes, and milk thistle. Activated charcoal can also be a great detox supplement (read more here).
- Use a sauna – an infrared sauna is a beneficial treatment to detox and support the lymphatic system. Read why an infrared sauna is my number one recommendation for detoxing to strengthen your immune and lymphatic systems.
Here are my recommendations for essential oils that can be additional tools to support your lymphatic system, as well as your digestive system:
Lymphatic System Support Blend: 5 drops each of cypress, lemon, lemongrass, helichysym in a 10ml roller bottle then fill the rest with fractionated coconut oil. Roll onto spleen and lymphatic areas of concern.
Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.