What is Splenic Flexure Syndrome?
Splenic flexure syndrome is a condition basically characterized by pain and discomfort of the upper abdomen. Muscle spasms and abdominal distention are considered as causative of the syndrome. The spasms are located in the splenic flexure, which is found in the colon that runs in between the transverse colon and the descending colon. The condition is known for the discomfort that it emits. This may be identified as an irritable bowel syndrome and should be taken as a sub type of the disease. This is also identified as a chronic gastric disorder that is known for causing pain when trapped gas is present in the splenic flexure.
Anatomy of the Colon Showing the Splenic Fissure
Those who suffer from this condition are most likely to complain of abdominal discomfort. The pain is basically located at the upper area of our abdomen. The following are the accompanying signs and symptoms of the syndrome:
- Abdominal distention. This is primarily caused by the increased amount of gas in the splenic flexure. The bloating is also noted as the most sign of splenic flexure syndrome. This is also triggered by the increase intake of gas-forming foods and fatty foods.
- Abdominal spasm. This is a common manifestation and a source of discomfort of the client. This is likely precipitated by the formation or the trapping of gas in the gastric system.
- Left upper abdominal discomfort. This is usually identified under the client ribs with possible radiation towards the shoulders. This is truly prominent that the pain may even last for a minute or more.
- Constipation or diarrhea. The two won’t work together but does not manifest in a tandem. The two come about as soon the syndrome becomes uncontrolled.
- Flatulence. This is characterized by the increase in frequency of gas passing through the rectum.
Abdominal Distention and Pain as Common Symptom of Splenic Flexure Syndrome
The following are the common causes of splenic flexure syndrome:
- Increased gas accumulation in the gastric system is considered as the most common cause of the syndrome. When gas is trapped in the gastrointestinal tract, this shall then become the source of discomfort for the client. Passing or relief from gas is a difficult task for this condition.
- Distended abdomen. When too much space has been accumulated in the gastric area, it is expected that one shall suffer from discomfort. Eating foods that are gas-forming and are fatty can result to such state.
- Intake of certain foods. There are gas-forming foods known to cause splenic flexure. Intake of beans, broccoli, lactose, peas, potatoes, sodas, soy beans and wheat can increase gas formation. Complex sugars such as fructose and raffinose are highly causative of the syndrome. Alcohol can also increase the chances of gas trapping in the colon. Chewing of gums can also increase gas contents in the gastric area.
A definitive diagnostic examination of splenic flexure is not available in the medical field. The following diagnostic steps may help in the process of attaining the cause of the problem:
- Collecting the client’s medical history can help in the diagnosis of splenic flexure syndrome. Reviewing the client’s clinical data can help rule out other possible conditions that involve the gastrointestinal system.
- Physical examination. This can point out significant presenting symptoms of the client which is related to the disease. This may not be definitive, but it can assist in the process of identifying the cause.
- Twenty-four hour diet recall. This can help us note the diet regimen of the client. It shall assist us in determining if their diet has caused the presenting symptoms of the client.
- Gastrointestinal series. This can help rule out the possibility of an underlying GI problems. When it comes to a point that no other possible diagnosis is found, this test is done to rule out other conditions.
- X-ray. This can view any form of obstruction found in the GI tract (if present).
There is no direct treatment of the syndrome. The aim of the treatment course for splenic flexure syndrome is to manage the presenting symptoms. The following are the proposed remedies for splenic flexure syndrome:
- Diet modification is essential in the treatment process. Avoid foods that are gas-forming. One should limit intake of high-fat containing foods and those which contain lactose, fructose and raffinose. Drinking of lactose-reduced milk is preferable than the common milk in the market.
- Provide antacids as this can relieve the discomfort that the client is experiencing. Abdominal bloating can also be relieved through this drug. Antacids that contain simethicone and activated charcoal are usually prescribed by doctors. Some antacids are much more recommended such as Maalox and Di-Gel. There are also activated charcoal tablets which can provide instant relief from gas formation.
- Beano. This is said to be a good digestive aid drug. This is said to contain a sugar-containing enzyme that eases digestion.
- In order to promote motility and ease abdominal discomfort, a client is prescribed with metoclopramide.