Why Do I Have Pain In Spleen After Eating?

Why Do I Have Pain In Spleen After Eating?

pain in spleen after eating

Have you ever had pain or a feeling of fullness in the left side of the abdomen after eating? If you are wondering why then it could be if you have been over-eating or if your spleen is enlarged. The stomach is a hollow organ which lies in the upper half of the abdomen, slightly toward the left. When the stomach is distended with food, it tends to expand in all directions except backwards.

On the left side of the abdomen, the stomach lies in contact with the pancreas, left kidney, spleen and diaphragm. At the lower side, it comes in contact with transverse part of the colon and some parts of small intestine.

Spleen, on the other hand, is an organ belonging to the reticuloendothelial system or the immune system of the body. It is located in the left side of the abdomen and lies in close relation with the stomach, kidney, pancreas and the large intestine.

Spleen Is Responsible For The Following Functions

  1. Activating the immune system against antigens
  2. Removal of microorganisms and antigens
  3. Filtering the blood
  4. Clearing damaged blood cells
  5. Storage of red blood cells and platelets.
  6. Synthesis of Immunoglobulins (IgG)

What Does Pain in Spleen After Eating Mean?

Pain in spleen after eating means that you either have had a full meal (this is often transient) or your spleen may be enlarged due to some reason. An enlargement of spleen by weight or size is called Splenomegaly in medical terms.

Massive Splenomegaly
11 cm
11 – 20 cm
More than 20 cm
70 – 200 grams
400 – 500 grams
More than 1000 grams

In certain conditions, the liver is also enlarged along with the spleen. This condition is called Hepato Splenomegaly.

What Causes Pain in Spleen After Eating?

Causes for pain in spleen region after eating are

Sr. No.

Infections which can cause enlargement of the spleen are

  • Hepatitis Virus
  • Epstein Barr Virus
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Malarial Parasite
  • Leishmaniasis (Massive Splenomegaly)
  • Salmonellac
  • Tuberculosis
  • Brucellosis
  • Bacterial Endocarditis



(pooling of blood)

Certain conditions of circulation which can cause enlargement of the spleen are

  • Liver Cirrhosis
  • Hepatic Vein Occlusion
  • Portal Hypertension
  • Splenic Vein Thrombosis
  • Constrictive Pericarditis
  • Congestive Cardiac Failure


Inflammatory conditions responsible for an enlarged spleen are

  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Felty’s Syndrome in Rheumatoid Arthritis


Blood disorders causing enlargement of the spleen are

  • Megaloblastic Anemia
  • Abnormalities of Hemoglobin (Haemoglobinopathies)
  • Autoimmune Haemolytic Anemia
  • Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (Massive Splenomegaly)
  • Myelofibrosis (Massive Spleen Enlargement)
  • Polycythemia Rubra Vera
  • Essential Thrombocythemia
  • Lymphomas
  • Leukemias (Massive Spleen Enlargement)

5.Lysosomal Storage Disease
  • Gaucher’s Syndrome – From deficiency of the enzyme glucocerebrosidase
  • Niemann Pick Disease – Accumulation of fatty substances in the spleen, liver, bone marrow and brain. 
  • Metastasis of Cancer – Rarely causes splenomegaly
  • Presence of Cysts
  • Trauma
  • Rare Drug Reactions
  • Thyrotoxicosis – An excess of thyroid hormones in the blood. Low TSH count. 

Enlargement of the spleen can be acute, as in infections where the spleen is working to clear all antigens, increases the number of reticuloendothelial cells and secreting large amounts of antibodies, as a result of trauma, injury or an abscess or it can be chronic in Gaucher’s disease.

Pain in Spleen After Eating Signs and Symptoms

An enlarged spleen can cause abdominal pain, discomfort, fullness or bloating after eating as it compresses the stomach. Patients generally present with signs and symptoms of the underlying disease conditions which guide to a diagnosis.

Signs and Symptoms Associated with an Enlarged Spleen are

  1. Vague abdominal discomfort
  2. There may be a pain in the left side of the abdomen, radiating to the left shoulder or back.
  3. Distended abdomen
  4. Loss of appetite due to abdominal fullness and constant bloating
  5. Constitutional symptoms like weight loss, loss of appetite and night sweats can be present in infections or malignancies.
  6. Enlarged spleen due to acute infections will also present with fever with chills, rigours, loss of appetite, generalized weakness and localized symptoms relating to the infection.
  7. Splenomegaly due to blood disorders will have a presentation of anemia, bleeding or easy bruising.
  8. Patients may have a palpable spleen on physical examination.
  9. Other examination findings will be consistent with that of the underlying disease condition.

Presence of severe abdominal pain, bleeding, is a warning sign and requires immediate medical attention.

Where is Spleen Pain after Eating Felt?

The abdomen is divided into 9 quadrants for the purpose of differentiation. Spleen lies in the left lumbar region of the abdomen. Consequently, pain in the spleen is felt in the left, middle portion of the abdomen. The pain can also radiate to the back or to the left shoulder. Often, patients present with a feeling of abdominal discomfort after eating.

Diagnosis For Spleen Pain

Investigation for pain in spleen will focus on the suspected cause.

  • Variation in blood cell counts will depend on the underlying cause like infections and blood disorders.
  • Blood tests to detect abnormal liver function tests, RA factor and infectious disease-specific tests are done to screen for liver disorder and infections.
  • Imaging studies include ultrasound and CT scan to detect variations in size and weight of spleen.
  • An abdominal CT can also detect tumors, cysts, abscesses, inflammatory changes, liver and vascular abnormalities and abdominal lymph node enlargement.
  • A biopsy may be indicated in certain cases.

Pain in Spleen after Eating Treatment

Treatment for pain in the spleen is directed towards the underlying cause and to prevent the development of complications. Avoidance of abdominal injury in a patient with splenomegaly is the primary aim. Any kind of injury to the abdomen, heavy physical activity or contact sports an cause splenic rupture. This is a medical emergency.

Partial or complete removal of the spleen is advised in conditions where there is massive enlargement of the spleen. These patients are at high risk for developing an infection from Haemophilus Influenza, Streptococcus Pneumonia and Neisseria Meningitides vaccinations against these organisms are required to prevent illnesses.

Home Remedies For Pain in Spleen after Eating

  1. Daily intake of plenty of water to prevent dehydration and help the body to get rid of toxins.
  2. A balanced diet including vitamin, antioxidant and protein supplements to prevent oxidative damage.
  3. Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption.
  4. Avoid intake of fatty, oily food or sugary snacks.
  5. Anti-inflammatory foods like fresh fruits and green vegetables, herbs and spices like ginger, capsicum, turmeric, garlic, etc.

It is advisable to not substitute any of the above natural ways to conventional medical care. They can be used along with regular medications. Enlargement of the spleen is a serious health issue which needs immediate medical attention because the underlying causes are often serious and can have life threatening complications.

Reviewed By:

Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)

Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad