Splenic Flexure Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms & Management

Research Based
Medically reviewed by - Dr Lara Mokhtar, MD Written by - Dr. Diksha Sangle


Splenic Flexure Syndrome

Splenic flexure syndrome is a medical condition characterized by discomfort, pain, and bloating in the upper left abdomen, associated with the splenic flexure – a sharp blend in the colon near the spleen. This syndrome is considered a functional gastrointestinal disorder, which involves disturbances in bowel function without apparent structural or biochemical abnormalities. Its exact cause remains multifaceted, involving a combination of anatomical, physiological, and psychological factors. 1 Introduction | Researched based study from National Institutes of Health

Splenic flexure syndrome is a medical condition characterized by discomfort, pain, and bloating in the upper left abdomen, associated with the splenic flexure – a sharp blend in the colon near the spleen. This syndrome is considered a functional gastrointestinal disorder, which involves disturbances in bowel function without apparent structural or biochemical abnormalities.

In this article, we will explore the anatomy of splenic flexure, explore the potential causes behind the syndrome, discuss its symptoms, and diagnosis, examine various treatment options, and provide insights into managing and preventing this condition.


Symptoms of Splenic Flexure Syndrome

  • Left-sided abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Gas and flatulence
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Discomfort with movement

Common symptoms of splenic flexure syndrome include:

Left-sided abdominal pain

  • Discomfort or pain is often felt in the upper left quadrant of the abdomen, corresponding to the location of the splenic flexure.


  • Individuals with this syndrome experience abdominal bloating, contributing to a feeling of fullness and discomfort.

Gas and flatulence

  • A common symptom is an increase in gas production and a feeling of trapped gas in the upper left abdomen.

Changes in bowel habits

  • Constipation or diarrhea are two examples of abnormalities in bowel habits that some people may suffer.

Discomfort with movement

  • Pain or discomfort may be exacerbated by specific moves or positions, such as bending or stretching. 2 Symptoms | Researched based study from National Institutes of Health, 3 Symptoms | Researched based study from ScienceDirect

 Splenic flexure pain location

  • The pain associated is typically located in the upper left abdomen. More specifically, it is often felt around the area where the spleen is situated, beneath the left rib cage.
  • The splenic flexure is a sharp bend in the colon, and discomfort or pain related to this tends to be concentrated in this region.

What does splenic flexure pain feel like?

  • Patients with this syndrome may describe the pain as a dull ache, cramping, or a feeling of pressure.
  • Each person will experience pain differently, and it may be either intermittent or persistent.
  • Additionally, specific movements or positions might exacerbate pain in this area.


What Causes Splenic Flexure Syndrome?

  • Anatomical variations
  • Gastrointestinal motility issues
  • Psychological factors
  • Dietary factors
  • Functional abnormalities

It is categorized as a functional gastrointestinal condition because the precise causes are not entirely understood. The emergence of this illness may be influenced by a number of circumstances, including:

Anatomical variations

  • Differences in the anatomy of the colon, particularly around the splenic flexure, may play a role.
  • This can include variations in the positioning or mobility of the colon.

Gastrointestinal motility issues

  • Irregular contractions are spasms of the colon muscles, leading to changes in mortality could contribute to symptoms associated with splenic flexure syndrome.

Psychological factors

  • The gastrointestinal system can be affected by stress, worry, or other psychological problems, which may also affect symptoms.
  • The gut-brain connection plays a significant role in functional gastrointestinal disorders.

Dietary factors

  • Certain foods and nutritional habits may trigger or exacerbate symptoms.
  • For example, a diet high in gas-producing foods or inadequate fiber intake could contribute to abdominal discomfort.

Functional abnormalities

  • Receptors in the colon may lead to disturbances in the bowel function and contribute to the symptoms of the syndrome. 2 Causes | Researched based study from National Institutes of Health, 3 Causes | Researched based study from ScienceDirect


Diagnosis of Splenic Flexure Syndrome

The typical method for determining the presence of splenic flexure syndrome involves a combination of physical examination, evaluation of medical history, and, rarely, diagnostic tests.

Medical history

  • The healthcare professional will ask you about your symptoms, their length, and any circumstances that might make them better.
  • Your bowel habits, diet, and stress levels will be considered.

Physical examination

  • A thorough of physical examination, including palpation of the abdomen may be conducted to check for tenderness, bloating, or other signs associated.

Diagnostic Tests:


  • Through the rectum, a flexible tube equipped with a camera is inserted to inspect the whole colon, including the splenic flexure, for any abnormalities.

Imaging tests 

  • X-rays, CT scans, or other imaging tests may be used to see the colon and other structures, assisting in the exclusion of other possible causes.

Blood and stool tests

Elimination diet

  • An elimination diet may occasionally be suggested by a healthcare professional to find probable food triggers. 4 Diagnosis| Researched based study from National Institutes of Health, 5 Diagnosis | Researched based study from National Institutes of Health


Treatment for Splenic Flexure Syndrome

The medication controls the symptoms and elevates the patient’s quality of life. Specific approaches may vary based on the severity of symptoms and individual factors.

Lifestyle Changes:

Dietary modifications

  • Adjusting your diet to reduce gas-producing foods, incorporating more fiber and staying hydrated can be beneficial.

Regular exercise

  • Stress reduction and gastrointestinal motility can both be aided by exercise.


Antispasmodic medications

  • This can help relieve colon muscle puzzles and reduce pain.


  • Supplements containing beneficial bacteria may promote a healthier gut environment.

Dietary supplements

  • Healthcare professionals may advise taking supplements like fiber or other digestive assistance.

Psychological support

  • Stress management techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or counseling can help manage stress.

Prescription medications

  • Prescription drugs may be used in certain circumstances to treat particular symptoms like pain or bowel abnormalities.

Surgical interventions

  • Severe conditions that do not improve with other therapies are typically saved for surgical options. Some of the colon may need to be removed in order to do this. 4 Treatment | Researched based study from National Institutes of Health, 5 Treatment| Researched based study from National Institutes of Health

Does splenic flexure syndrome go away?

  • It is a chronic disorder, and while it may not be treated in the traditional sense, its symptoms can frequently be effectively managed with the right medications and lifestyle changes.
  • With the proper technique, many patients experience times of relief and lessen their symptoms.


Prevention of Splenic Flexure Syndrome

  • Keep up a healthy, fiber-rich diet composed of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Identifying limits or avoiding foods that trigger systems such as gas producing foods.
  • Make sure you’re adequately hydrated by drinking lots of water all day.
  • Regular physical activity to ease stress and support good bowel function.
  • Established regular vowel habits by setting a set time for bowel movements and avoiding unnecessary delays.
  • Moderate your intake of caffeine and alcohol, as these substances can sometimes exacerbate the symptoms.
  • Practice stress-reducing techniques like yoga.
  • Consider incorporating probiotics into your diet through foods like yogurt or as supplements to support a healthy balance of good bacteria. 5 Prevention | Researched based study from National Institutes of Health, 6 Prevention | Researched based study from ResearchGate,7 Prevention | Researched based study from ResearchGate


What Foods should you Avoid with Splenic Flexure Syndrome?

Individual response to force can vary, but some people find relief by avoiding or limiting certain foods that cause gas or bloating. Here are some of them:

Gas producing foods

  • Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage; beans and lentils.
  • Onions and garlic
  • Carbonated beverages

 High-fat foods

  • Fried foods
  • Fatty Cuts of meat
  • Full-fat dairy products

 Artificial sweeteners

  • Sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, and other sugar alcohols can cause digestive issues in some people.

 Spicy foods

  • Some people’s digestive tracts may become irritated by spices and hot peppers.

Items made from dairy

  • People who are lactose intolerant may get relief if they limit or avoid items made from dairy.  

Caffeine and alcohol

  • Coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages can sometimes contribute to the symptoms. 6 Foods to Avoid | Researched based study from ResearchGate


Exercises for Splenic Flexure Syndrome

While specific exercises may depend on individual preferences and tolerance, certain activities may help relieve them.

Cardiovascular exercises

  • Exercising regularly, such as by cycling, swimming, running, or walking. They can promote healthy digestion and reduce stress.


  • Gentle yoga poses, especially those focused on the abdomen, may help relieve tension and promote relaxation. Avoid intense or advanced yoga poses that could strain the abdominal region.

Deep breathing exercises

  • Practice deep breathing exercises to help relax the abdominal muscles and reduce stress. Incorporate slow, deep breaths into your daily routine.

Core strengthening

  • Gentle core exercises such as pelvic tilts and abdominal contractions can help strengthen the muscles in the abdominal region.

Pelvic floor exercises

  • They are also known as Kegel exercises, which can contribute to the overall health of the pelvic region and may benefit people with gastrointestinal symptoms. 7 Exercises | Researched based study from ResearchGate
Disclaimer: The user acknowledges that this article's information is being offered for informational purposes only. Every attempt has been made to guarantee that the article is informational and correct. If they have any doubts or questions about their health, we firmly advise our readers to visit a doctor or other healthcare professional.

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