Splenic flexure syndrome describes a digestive disorder characterized by gas becoming trapped inside of flexures located inside the colon. While gas symptoms are normal in humans, this particular digestive disorder produces excessive gas and other symptoms considered to be abnormal. Such causes a great deal of discomfort and irritation to individuals afflicted with this condition. Splenic flexure syndrome is at times classified as a subtype of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and, in some, the symptoms that characterize splenic flexure syndrome is actually caused by IBS.
The splenic flexure is an area of the large intestine located right next to the spleen. When this digestive disorder flares up, a person experiences pain in the upper left side of the abdomen. Due to the close proximity of the splenic flexure to the heart, the painful symptoms of splenic flexure syndrome may cause some to believe that a heart attack is occurring.
Symptoms of splenic flexure syndrome include bloating, colon spasms and uncomfortable gas pains from air being trapped in the colon’s flexure. Air finds its way and becomes trapped in the splenic flexure due to swallowing air while talking, eating or drinking, or by consuming foods that do not digest well. When food is not digested or is not properly absorbed, it travels to the large intestine and is broken down by bacteria that are naturally present there. During this process, gas is created.
Abdominal bloating is the most commonly occurring symptom of splenic flexure syndrome. While an excessive amount of fatty foods can cause temporary abdominal bloating, individuals with gastroenterology problems experience it more often due to increased movement and abnormal contractions, which occur in the intestinal muscles as the result of a digestive disorder. Normally, bloating is relieved by a bowel movement or by passing gas through the rectum or through the mouth. In cases of splenic flexure syndrome, however, gas does not pass as easily, which causes varying levels of pain and discomfort in individual sufferers.
In order to reduce gas associated with splenic flexure syndrome, health experts recommend avoiding foods naturally known to cause excessive amounts of gas. A few of these foods are Brussels sprouts, beans, broccoli, cabbage, dairy products, prunes, apples, corn, peas, processed breads and cereals, and potatoes. Certain medications commonly used to treat IBS may also be prescribed for relief from gas that accompanies this syndrome.