Understanding MALS: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Do you have nausea and vomiting along with chronic stomach pain? These could be signs of an uncommon disorder called Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome (MALS).

MALS (medial arcuate ligament syndrome) is a rare disorder that causes chronic and intense abdominal pain, usually with eating or exercising. The condition arises when the median arcuate ligament, an elastic band connecting the diaphragm to the spine, compresses the celiac artery, restricting blood flow to digestive organs. MALS can present with various symptoms and long-lasting discomfort, making eating and exercising difficult for sufferers.

Navigating MALS

This section will outline the symptoms of MALS, its diagnosis, and the treatment options available.


The symptoms of MALS can range widely and be mistaken for other medical conditions. Prevalent signs include chronic abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and diarrhea that worsen after eating or during physical activity. These debilitating symptoms may worsen with exercise or after consuming certain types of food or drinks, significantly reducing the quality of life.


Diagnosing MALS can be tricky since the symptoms may overlap with other gastrointestinal conditions. Various tests can be requested to help determine if you have MALS; these may include imaging with ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, and angiogram. 

During an angiogram, your doctor injects dye into your bloodstream so they can visualize blood flow in your abdomen and identify any blockages or narrowing of arteries supplying your digestive organs. You can click here and connect with a reputable expert in MALS surgery for diagnosis and treatment.

Treatment Options

Based on the severity of your condition, a treatment plan will be established by your doctor once you are diagnosed with MALS. Treatment option for MALS can range from lifestyle modifications to surgery; here are some of the more common ones:

  • Lifestyle Changes – Some individuals with MALS may experience relief from their symptoms by making lifestyle modifications such as maintaining a nutritious diet, avoiding trigger foods, and adding exercise to their daily regimen.
  • Medications – To help manage symptoms associated with MALS, pain relievers and anti-nausea drugs may be given.
  • Celiac Block Injection – Celiac block injections involve administering a local anesthetic and steroid into the area surrounding the celiac artery to alleviate pain and improve blood flow.
  • Endovascular Treatment – Endovascular treatment involves inserting a catheter to access the affected artery and widening it with either a balloon or stent. This minimally invasive procedure provides temporary relief for some individuals suffering from MALS.
  • Surgery – Surgery may be necessary when lifestyle changes, medications, and endovascular treatment fail to improve the condition. During this procedure, the ligament causing the compression is either cut away or removed, allowing blood to flow back to your digestive organs. You can consult a gastroenterologist in Los Angeles and inquire about possible surgical procedures to address the disorder.


MALS is an often misdiagnosed rare condition that can cause chronic abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and diarrhea. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, seeking medical help to rule out MALS is essential. While there is no one-size-fits-all cure for MALS, several options are available such as lifestyle changes, medication administration, celiac block injection, or surgery. 

By understanding the signs, diagnoses, and treatments associated with MALS, you take control of your health and get the help necessary to live a painless life. Schedule an appointment now to start your journey towards living a healthier tomorrow.