What are the complications of glandular fever?

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Glandular fever or infectious mononucleosis is a viral infection that causes sore throat, fever, swollen glands and fatigue. Most cases of glandular fever are triggered by the Epstein-Barr virus. It is important to note that this virus is considered common and spreads via any form of direct contact such as coughing, kissing, sneezing and sharing of utensils.


Many adults acquire glandular fever on a yearly basis. Even today, there is no specific treatment for glandular fever. Even though complications are uncommon with this condition, it is vital that you are well aware of the potential risks.

Liver problems

Some individuals might develop liver problems after acquiring glandular fever. A serious but rare complication linked with glandular fever is hepatitis. Some individuals might develop hepatitis or jaundice which is a condition that triggers yellowing of the skin and eyes once the Epstein-Barr virus attacks and irritates the liver.

Glandular fever
It is important to note that this virus is considered common and spreads via any form of direct contact such as coughing, kissing, sneezing and sharing of utensils.

Some might not have any symptoms of hepatitis but others can experience nausea, vomiting, appetite loss, diarrhea, pale bowel movements, dark-colored urine as well as jaundice and stomach pain. In most cases, hepatitis subsides without the help of medication but medical care is oftentimes required to minimize the inflammation.

Secondary infections

Secondary infections are considered as rare complications of glandular fever. Some individuals might end up with this infection once the Epstein-Barr virus spreads to other parts of the body such as the lungs and the heart.

The secondary infections that develop from glandular fever include pneumonia, inflammation of the heart and even meningitis. The secondary infections usually occur among individuals who have weakened immune systems. Those who have autoimmune disorders or those who are undergoing chemotherapy treatment are at high risk for developing infections. Individuals at risk for the complications might be hospitalized for close monitoring so that secondary infections can be treated promptly if any develop.

Ruptured spleen

Many individuals who develop glandular fever might end up with an inflamed spleen. It is important to note that a swollen spleen does not cause immediate health issues but increases the risk for a ruptured spleen.

A ruptured spleen is uncommon. Those who are recovering from glandular fever might experience a ruptured spleen once they engage in physical activities or sports before fully healed. The indications of a ruptured spleen might include piercing pain in the left upper part of the abdomen, blurry vision, confusion and fainting. The individual should avoid any physical activity for at least a month after developing glandular fever to avoid life-threatening complications such as internal bleeding. Seek emergency care if severe abdominal pain abruptly occurs.

Once an individual develops glandular fever, it is best to consult a doctor for proper assessment of the condition as well as start the right treatment. The individual should follow the instructions provided by the doctor to ensure that the risk for developing any of the complications is minimized.

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