What does an enlarged spleen feel like? Are there any telltale feelings to it besides not feeling hungry?

I'm a 34 year old male, will be visiting my GP soon however I have a strange feeling in my upper left side and possibly some visible swelling at my left costal-margin. It's NOT at all painful but rather I get strange pressure sensations in my left-side chest whenever I place weight on my left side ribs (e.g. if I rest my arm on my left ribs).

I have no change in my appetite, as hungry as ever, can eat loads and I don't feel the 'strange sensations' any more or any less after eating a big meal. Essentially I feel 100% fine, active as ever, no problems with tiredness or sleep.

I just don't understand what could be causing the painless left costal-margin swelling and the strange pain-free pressure sensations in my left-side chest whenever I put some weight on my left-side ribs. Could be my spleen right? But if it was enlarged enough to cause visible rib bulging then surely I would have loss of appetite, no?

Speaking from personal experience what did/does your enlarged spleen feel like? And do you have any visible left-side rib bulging?

Many thanks

2 Replies

  • Hi

    Its a strange one indeed. I know mine spleen has been enlarged for circa 10 years. To me it feels almost like what hard muscle tone would feel like on the left side of my stomach extending down from my rib cage, infact when i went to the gp's years ago they told me just that that it was muscle tone.

    I get no pain, never have problems eating but have been told its 'one of the biggest they had seen'.

    With mine you wouldnt be able to tell visually, and im not a big person, wheras some people do have visible bulging in their stomach areas.

    An examination by someone at the hospital would be able to tell, followed by possible an ultrasound.

    I think we all are affected differently.


  • I had PVR which started in 1983. I didn't realise that I had a swollen spleen until I was given a thorough examination by the Haematologist on the first day of my diagnosis. I knew that if I slept on my left I could feel a bulge in the mattress, but I couldn't feel it with my hands. I was blaming the bed for the swollen spleen! It has always been swollen to some extent since the start of the PVR. Occasionally I got pain from it tangling with the ribs, but most often it was an awareness of my left side being a bit uncomfortable, especially riding my bicycle or heavy lifting.

    About 5 years ago the PVR changed to MF and now I am on Ruxolitinib which got rid of the spleen enlargement within a few days! I am very lucky because it doesn't always work as quickly as that.

    If you are tested for an enlarged spleen and it is proven, then your GP and heamatlogist will no doubt use you as a sample to student doctors who will want to have a feel of it.

    Best wishes and I hope everything is sorted for you.

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