Splenic Flexure Syndrome – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

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 pics

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.
Splenic Flexure Syndrome image

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.
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23 Responses to “Splenic Flexure Syndrome – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment”

  • s.k.verma says:

    I am suffering from dirrohea/constipation with a oily/greasy stool for a year taken following medicine 1] lebres 2] orbeto-L 3]montaz vial 1gm–5 days 4]oriflos 100mg –for four months but not got any remedies till now please tell me suitable medicine for being cure.

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  • Bruce says:

    I have suffered these symptoms all my life and its always been diagnosed as something different with many cures tried and failed. I have always told the doctors that with the bloating and constipation I suffer, I usually also feel a lump then eventually movement. In the exact location of the Splenic Flexure. Every six to seven weeks with occasional gaps of three months The constipation becomes chronic,Suddenly I will get extremely ill vomiting, diarrhea for about two to three hours. Then as suddenly as it appears its gone. I then feel fine for another six weeks then the cycle repeats. As I have aged its getting more frequent.Could the build up of fecal matter cause this and if so I wonder if using a mild laxative would help.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good to see this article. I too have suffered this my entire life, so for the last thirty years. It’s debilitating in its pain level, for me at least, ranging from mild discomfort to debilitating pain leaving me unable to walk or even move without nausea as a result of my pain level. The only thing that seems to help is heat and time. It almost always ends with diarrhea for me and happens anywhere from a few times a month to multiple times a week lasting anywhere from a few hours to days. Imaging (ultrasound) and colonoscopy and biopsies have come back all normal. My chiropractor who deals with holistic and herbal care suggested this as a possible cause and the symptoms fit perfectly for me. He recommended peppermint oil capsules and turmeric pills to help relieve the gas and decrease the smooth muscle contractions. It is good to see this is not “all in my head” as I have had other doctors assume when biopsies and tests come back negative for things like celiac and polyps. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who deals with this sudden onset, intense and debilitating pain.

    • Danielle says:

      I have always suffered with slow moving bowels and constipation.
      As I have got older and on a generally good healthy diet, It was only went dining out the pain under the left rib cage started and then I would get bloating and severe pain in the abdomen and left feeling so full I could hardly breathe.
      I went to the doctor who diagnosed Splenic flexure syndrome. I was given antibiotics to clear up the initial gas build up and also given mebeverine which is to be taken 20 mins before each meal…..the outcome has been life changing.
      My bowel movements are more natural and no more pain or bloating.
      There has been a period where I run out of my prescription and guess what returned…the pain and gas build up.
      I swear by Mebeverine. It really works.
      Laxatives will cause gas build up but solve the initial constipation so you just go round in circles, also your body will become immune to laxative and you will be required to take more to get any effect.
      I also drink detox/colon cleanse teas that ease gas. one after each meal and before bed….as they are herbal my sleep is fantastic.
      I hope this helps you all.

      • Chrissy says:

        What brand do you find best for detox/colon cleanse tea, please? Any on Amazon you can recommend?

    • arlene says:

      i’ve been suffering for years. many years ago i was diagnosed with a large colon. had constipation for years until i discovered aloe lax in the early 80s. all was well for years. about 6 years ago all this changed. i feel pressure in my left area. it’s like it’s pressing against my stomach and i feel nauseous. i also have scoliosis and thought when my back shifted it caused this.

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  • Daniel A. Shields, MD says:

    I was dissappointed to see your use of the term “client”, instead of “patient”. Are you that far politically correct that you can’t even tell if your in our world, healthcare, and not that parallel universe where lawyers live? I cannot consider your site credible if this is where your head is, and it has inspired me to take time out of my busy day for this rant. Get real folks. The world is cold enough.

    • Susannah says:

      I consider the expression ‘client’ as more respectful and on eyelevel as ‘patient’. ‘Client’ is also common use in Counselling or Psychotherapeutical settings. ‘Patient’, as the word literally means, requires somebody as patient and inactive instead of self-aware and attentive. So maybe the fault is on your side?

    • RealWorldCitizen says:

      I was disappointed to see an MD attacking another medical professional for referring to people as “clients” instead of “patients”. Are you that full of yourself that you squabble needlessly over the use of similar words? If that’s where your head is, then I would hate to be under your care if ever I found myself in an emergency situation in Kentucky. I’ll make sure my treatment comes from another medical professional. Or do you prefer doctor?

    • anschutz says:

      Dan, let’s be candid; we pull in 250% of what our european colleagues do, and for the same quality of work. That is because, to us, all clients are essentially regarded as marks. I find the sentimentalism expressed in your remark to be professionally disaffecting and highly suggestive of socialist affinities. Suggest a practice in Stockholm.

  • lori says:

    I have these symptoms at least twice a month and it last for several hours.happened 3 nights in a row last week.i almost always throw up.sunday i threw up so copiously it made tje pain worse instead of better.normally after vomiting,i go to sleep and in tje morning pain is totslly gone.

  • Laurel says:

    Look up the book ‘Great Taste No Pain!’. This worked instantly for me and all my symptoms went away so long as I ate this way. It is all about getting your gut balance right and quite simply not combining certain foods. The basics of it are – do not combine your protein and starches and eat fruit on an empty stomach. I also think I am somewhat gluten sensitive, any time I eat bread or pasta (even on it’s own) I have instant bloating. I hope this helps!

  • Randy says:

    I have found out that a good raw honey say 2 tblspn’s mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon in an 8 oz. of warm water helps to relieve the gas build up. Also, as stated above watching the diet & food combinations.

  • Sophia says:

    I was diagnosed with this syndrome, finally after years of suffering. Yesterday I ended up in the ER for excruciating pain. They found nothing wrong. If a person is in that much internal pain something is wrong! I told the Dr. about the splenic lecture. He blew me off. He seemed not to take me seriously about the chest,abdominal or back pain. I was furious. “

  • Sharon says:

    What I thought was back and rib pain seems to be referred pain from my stomach and intestines.

  • Sheri Massey says:

    I too have suffered with severe abdominal on the left side. I have had numerous tests which did not provide a diagnosis.
    I’m tired of living like this. It’s been going on for 4 years and I can not take it anymore.

  • Susan Benjamin says:

    I have been going from one GI doc to the next for nearly 10 years describing exactly this pain in exactly this spot and 0% of the 20 plus doctors I have been to have suggested Splenic-Flexure Syndrome. How is that even possible!? I have to find this on the Internet and then try to treat myself?? How can I find a doctor who can help me when I’ve gone through every GI doctor within a 20 mile radius?? I appreciate all the advice here …. but I would appreciate even more advice. If anyone has any suggestions I will gladly provide an email address. This pain is at times unbelievably excruciating and I’ve lost countless hours of work (and leisure time) to it. My abdomen in scarred by burns from using heating pads at the highest termperature possible for hours and days on end because the pain of the burns is nothing compared to this pain. Can somebody help me? I’m open to anything – traditional medicine, alternative medicine, energy, herbal, surgical, anything would be better than living with this pain. I’ll watch this page and if anyone thinks they can help, I’ll share my contact info. Thank you for providing a forum for my rant. Susan I Benjamin, Chesapeake, VA

  • Rashi says:

    Thank you for the article, I am going crazy because of tge same symptoms and no doctor was able to give a reason. I am so glad to hear from you, can’t thank you enough. I definitely going to try diet alteration and antacids.

  • Rashi says:

    Here is what worked for me – drinking 1 cup warm water after everymeal and lowering consumption of on hot n spicy stuff. Resulted within a week with less and almost no bloating n reduced frequency of pain. Do try!

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