What Causes Splenic Flexure Syndrome?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 February 2020
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Splenic flexure syndrome (SFS) is a health condition that involves severe discomfort in the upper area of the abdomen. Often exhibiting symptoms like bloating or cramps in the area of the colon, the illness is sometimes classed as a form of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). The pain can also be very similar to that of a heart attack, and may even be confused with the onset of a heart episode, owing to the closeness of the heart to the area of the discomfort. As with any other form of IBS, there is not always consensus on exactly what can cause these types of issues, although there are a few suspected causes for the condition that may be readily identifiable.

One of the more commonly accepted causes for splenic flexure syndrome is the development of excess gas in the gastrointestinal tract that will not go away. The trapped gas leads to significant upper abdominal discomfort as well as triggering muscle spasms in the colon itself. In some cases, treatment by a physician will be necessary to help release the trapped gas and provide the sufferer with a measure of relief.


At present, there is no consensus on what may cause the trapping of gas that in turn leads to the muscle spasms, bloating, and extreme pain that is part of splenic flexure syndrome. There are some theories that suggest that the spasms themselves trigger the trapping of gas in the colon, exacerbating the level of discomfort. Research into this and other health issues involving the colon are ongoing, even as various treatments are used to deal with the symptoms and bring a measure of relief to people with this condition.

To that end, people who suffer from splenic flexure syndrome may be placed on a special diet that excludes consumption of foods that tend to trigger the development of gas and bloating in the abdomen, especially in the colon. While foods that are considered gassy, such as beans, are either limited or excluded altogether, there are also sometimes limits on foods like dark green leafy vegetables. The patient may also find that some foods not excluded by the dietary plan must also be avoided, owing to the triggering of unpleasant effects on the weakened gastrointestinal system. For this reason, a person suffering from splenic flexure syndrome or any other form of IBS should work closely with a trained dietitian in order to come up with a plan that allows for the intake of essential nutrients while resulting in as little cramping and muscle spasms as possible. When combined with the right medication, this special diet can limit the number and severity of episodes, allowing the patient to enjoy a decent quality of life.


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