Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Are spleen problems the reason I'm having trouble fighting infections?"
I had my spleen removed and now I find myself getting sick more often. Are these two related?
As you probably already know, the spleen plays an important role in fighting off infections. More specifically, it helps prevent infections in the blood. While the majority of people that have their spleen removed do fine, some experience an occasional bacterial infection that they may not have had with a spleen. In addition, there are a few types of infections that are often fatal in people without a spleen that are not always fatal in people with a spleen. One such infection is called pneumococcal bacteremia. This is an infection in the blood with the bacteria streptococcus pneumoniae. This bacteria is a common cause of pneumonia. When it gets into the blood, the spleen plays a major part in protecting the body. For this reason, people without a spleen need to have the pneumonia vaccine. There are other precautions that you should discuss with your doctor. For the most part, if you get the vaccinations that you are supposed to get, you have done what you can to prevent these infections. In terms of the infections you are currently getting, they may or may not be related to your lack of a spleen. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. The two of you can discuss your vaccination record and make sure that you are doing everything you can to prevent infection.
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