Splenic flexure syndrome is a digestive disorder that causes gas to accumulate in your colon. While it’s not considered a life threatening condition, it can cause pain and discomfort if left untreated.

Splenic flexure syndrome is a condition that causes gas to become trapped inside flexures — or curves — within your colon. Your splenic flexure is in the sharp bend between your transverse colon and descending colon in your upper abdomen. It’s situated next to your spleen.

While gas is normal, splenic flexure syndrome can cause excessive gas and discomfort. This condition, considered a chronic digestive disorder, is thought to be a sub-type of irritable bowel syndrome.

General discomfort, specifically in your upper left abdominal area, is a common symptom of splenic flexure syndrome. But other symptoms you may experience with this condition include:

While symptoms from splenic flexure syndrome may not be life threatening, this condition can cause severe pain. If your symptoms become unbearable or worsen over time, seek immediate medical attention.

Splenic flexure syndrome occurs when gas builds up or becomes trapped in your colon. Thought to be the primary cause of this condition, gas accumulation causes trapped air to push on the inner lining of your stomach and digestive tract.

As a result, pressure can build on surrounding organs, causing pain and discomfort. Passing gas can help to relieve the pain, but that can become very difficult with this condition.

Other causes of splenic flexure syndrome include:

  • swallowing air
  • gas-forming foods
  • chewing gum
  • food poisoning
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • complications from abdominal surgery
  • infections
  • gastrointestinal disorders

Before recommending treatment, your doctor will rule out other cardiac and gastrointestinal conditions. Your physician will conduct a full examination of your symptoms and review your current diet and medical history.

There’s no specific test used to diagnose splenic flexure syndrome. But there are a number of diagnostic procedures doctors can use to find the source of your pain. Some of the more common diagnostic tests include:

There’s no specific treatment for this condition. But with lifestyle changes and a balanced diet, you can improve and resolve your symptoms. In some cases, splenic flexure syndrome improves and goes away on its own from flatulence or consistent bowel movements.

Your doctor may recommend laxatives and other digestive aids to reduce constipation and improve digestion.

An active lifestyle can be helpful to aid digestion.

Modifying your diet can prevent symptoms of splenic flexure syndrome. People living with from this digestive disorder follow a diet excluding foods that may trigger gas and bloating. A low-FODMAP diet is recommended for reducing gas.

Common gas-inducing foods to avoid include:

Learn more about a low-FODMAP diet.

Splenic flexure syndrome is a digestive disorder that causes gas to accumulate in your colon. While it’s not considered a life threatening condition, splenic flexure syndrome can cause severe pain and discomfort if left untreated.

Though there’s no specific treatment plan to prevent or cure this condition, lifestyle and diet changes, and increased awareness can improve your symptoms.

If your symptoms worsen or don’t improve over an extended period of time, talk with your doctor. This may indicate a more serious digestive disorder or illness.