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Can polycythemia vera affect my spleen?

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One of your spleen's main jobs is to recycle old red blood cells. Polycythemia vera causes your body to make too many red blood cells. That means your spleen works harder to remove all the extra blood cells. All that added work makes it grow bigger. About three out of four people with polycythemia vera have an enlarged spleen. Doctors call this splenomegaly. If your spleen is getting larger, you might notice:

  • A feeling of fullness
  • Swelling in your belly
  • Weight loss
  • Stomach pain

If your enlarged spleen causes problems, you may need to take medicine for it, or you may need surgery to remove it.

SOURCES:

American College of Gastroenterology: "Peptic Ulcer Disease."

Cancer Care: "Managing Symptoms of Polycythemia Vera (PV)."

Khan, F. Anaesthesia, Pain & Intensive Care, 2012.

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society: "Myelofibrosis Facts."

Medscape: "Polycythemia Vera Clinical Presentation," "Polycythemia Vera Treatment & Management."

MPN Research Foundation: "What is Primary Myelofibrosis (MF)?"

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "How Is Polycythemia Vera Treated?" "What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Polycythemia Vera?"

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: "Questions and Answers About Gout."

National Organization for Rare Disorders: "Polycythemia Vera."

News release, FDA.

Patrono, C. Blood, 2013.

The Myeloproliferative Disorders Research Consortium: "FAQ: About Polycythemia Vera."

University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics: "Polycythemia Vera."

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario on October 19, 2020

SOURCES:

American College of Gastroenterology: "Peptic Ulcer Disease."

Cancer Care: "Managing Symptoms of Polycythemia Vera (PV)."

Khan, F. Anaesthesia, Pain & Intensive Care, 2012.

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society: "Myelofibrosis Facts."

Medscape: "Polycythemia Vera Clinical Presentation," "Polycythemia Vera Treatment & Management."

MPN Research Foundation: "What is Primary Myelofibrosis (MF)?"

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "How Is Polycythemia Vera Treated?" "What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Polycythemia Vera?"

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: "Questions and Answers About Gout."

National Organization for Rare Disorders: "Polycythemia Vera."

News release, FDA.

Patrono, C. Blood, 2013.

The Myeloproliferative Disorders Research Consortium: "FAQ: About Polycythemia Vera."

University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics: "Polycythemia Vera."

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario on October 19, 2020

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What are the symptoms of an enlarged spleen because of polycythemia vera?

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