This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
Sallow countenance; paleness of the lips and gums; dyspepsia; emaciation; liability to hemorrhage; sense of weight and uneasiness on the left side. When great, the liver may be felt below the border of the ribs on the left side.
In cases in which enlargement of the spleen is slight, none of the above mentioned symptoms may be present.
Enlargement of the spleen is a frequent result of malarial poisoning. It generally occurs, to some extent at least, in all cases of malarial disease, and also in typhus and typhoid fevers, and varions. other acute diseases, especially those of an infectious character. Why this enlargement occurs is not understood, but the most recent view on the subject, as elucidated by Prof. Hosier in Ziemsons Encyclopedia, is that the spleen acts somewhat as a strainer for the blood, and gathers, to itself the disease germs and other morbid elements which are circulating in the vital fluid. Numerous experiments which have been made upon animals seem to confirm this view. It is thought by the distinguished author mentioned, that mercury and various other drugs are productive sources of disease of the spleen. It has also been observed as the result of disease of the heart, lungs, and liver.
Recent experiments made by Mosler, Fleury, and various eminent German authorities, have shown very clearly that the cold douche is one of the most effective of all remedies in the treatment of enlargement of the spleen. In cases in which the enlargement is very marked, it is frequently possible to demonstrate an actual decrease in size of the organ immediately after the application of a cold douche. We usually employ in such cases the alternate hot and cold douche, using temperatures as extreme as the patient can bear without great discomfort, and have obtained very excellent results. Various other means of applying heat and cold alternately are also useful. Another remedy of value is the abdominal bandage or wet girdle. It should be worn constantly for several weeks. If irritation of the skin is produced, the bandage may be left off during the day. Vapor and Turkish baths, wet-sheet packs, and other powerful derivative measures, are also useful in the treatment of this affection. There is also some evidence that electricity is a valuable remedy in these cases.