Skip to content
Font Size
A
A
A

Ruptured Spleen

The spleen is a delicate, fist-sized organ under your left rib cage near your stomach. It contains special white blood cells that destroy bacteria and help your body fight infections. The spleen also makes red blood cells and helps remove, or filter, old ones from the body's circulation.

A layer of tissue entirely covers the spleen in a capsule-like fashion, except where veins and arteries enter the organ. This tissue, called the splenic capsule, helps protect the spleen from direct injury.

Recommended Related to Digestive Disorders

Chronic Constipation: Facts vs. Myths

Constipation, the most common digestive complaint in the U.S. population, can make life miserable. Not only does constipation make you feel bloated, headachy, and irritable, but relieving constipation -- especially long-term or chronic constipation -- is time consuming and expensive. Each year in the U.S., chronic constipation leads to around 2.5 million doctor visits -- and medication costs of many hundreds of millions of dollars.

Read the Chronic Constipation: Facts vs. Myths article > >

What Is a Ruptured Spleen?

A ruptured spleen is an emergency medical condition that occurs when the capsule-like covering of the spleen breaks open, pouring blood into your abdominal area. Depending on the size of the rupture, a large amount of internal bleeding can occur.

Your doctor may refer to a ruptured spleen as a "splenic rupture."

What Causes a Ruptured Spleen?

The spleen can rupture when the abdomen suffers a severe direct blow or blunt trauma. The spleen is the most frequent organ to be damaged in blunt trauma injuries involving the abdomen. That's true regardless of your age.

The following are among the frequent causes of spleen injuries:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Injury during contact sports, such as football and hockey
  • Bicycle accidents, such as falling into your bicycle's handlebars
  • Domestic violence

Certain diseases and illnesses can also lead to a ruptured spleen. In such cases, the spleen becomes swollen and the capsule-like covering becomes thin. This makes the organ especially fragile and more likely to rupture if the abdomen receives a direct hit (such as forceful football tackle).

Diseases that increase the risk for a ruptured spleen include:

Recent studies have also linked colonoscopy, a procedure that looks at the large intestine, to an increased risk of a ruptured spleen.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Today on WebMD

man holding his stomach
Get the facts on common problems.
blueberries in a palm
Best and worst foods.
 
woman shopping
Learn what foods to avoid.
fresh and dried plums
Will it help constipation?
 
top foods for probiotics
Slideshow
couple eating at cafe
Article
 
sick child
Slideshow
Woman blowing bubble gum
Slideshow
 

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Woman with crohns in pain
Slideshow
Woman with stomach pain
Slideshow
 
diet for diverticulitis
Video
what causes diarrhea
Video