How does abdominal pain present in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Updated: Dec 11, 2019
  • Author: Jenifer K Lehrer, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Descriptions are protean. Pain frequently is diffuse without radiation. Common sites of pain include the lower abdomen, specifically the left lower quadrant. Acute episodes of sharp pain are often superimposed on a more constant dull ache. Meals may precipitate pain, and defecation commonly improves pain. Defecation may not fully relieve pain, however.

Pain from presumed gas pockets in the splenic flexure may masquerade as anterior chest pain or left upper quadrant abdominal pain. This splenic flexure syndrome is demonstrable by balloon inflation in the splenic flexure and should be considered in the differential of chest or left upper quadrant abdominal pain.

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