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Left Side Abdominal Pain: What Does It Mean?

Left Side Abdominal Pain

If you have been experiencing left side abdominal pain, there could be a handful of reasons as to why you have been feeling that way. Pain on the left side of the abdomen can sometimes be as simple as excess gas in the digestive tract, but it could also be a sign of something more serious. Keep reading to learn more about left side abdominal pain and what it could mean for you.

Causes of Left Side Abdominal Pain

Gastritis: Gastritis is a condition that causes inflammation of the stomach lining and can result in abdominal discomfort in the center or left side of the upper abdomen under the ribs. Gastritis can be caused by bacterial infections, chronic use of anti-inflammatory medications, excessive alcohol intake, or even stress.

Diverticulitis: Diverticulitis is a very common cause of pain in the lower left abdomen in both men and women. Diverticulitis occurs when the small pouches in the wall of the intestine become infected and inflamed. Pain associated with diverticulitis is usually sudden and severe and accompanied by diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever, and blood in the stool.

IBS: IBS, irritable bowel syndrome, is a chronic disorder of the GI tract that can cause left side abdominal pain, bloating, and bowel changes.

Ulcerative Colitis: Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that affects the colon. It can cause left lower abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, and bowel urgency.

Kidney Infection: An infection in the left kidney or even a kidney stone can cause pain in the upper left abdomen. People with kidney infections or kidney stones may also experience frequent urination, pain with urination, fever, nausea, or vomiting.

Enlarged Spleen: The spleen is an organ located in the left upper portion of the abdomen. Pain in this area could indicate that your spleen may be enlarged due to an infection or other conditions. People who experience pain in the left side of their abdomen due to a spleen problem may also experience fatigue, easy bleeding, frequent infections, or anemia.

Pancreatitis: The pancreas is an organ located just behind the stomach that helps with food digestion and blood sugar regulation. Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed and irritated. It often causes left side abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and fever.

Hernia: A hernia occurs when a spot in the abdominal muscle opens up, and intestines or other abdominal tissues stick through the hole. Depending on the hernia’s location, some people can experience pain in the left side of the abdomen and a lump or bulge of the skin.

Ovarian Cysts: Ovarian cysts are a very common cause of left-sided abdominal pain. They are fluid-filled sacs that develop on the ovaries and can cause abdominal pain if they become large enough.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: Pelvic inflammatory disease causes inflammation in the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries in response to an infection. Women with pelvic inflammatory disease often complain of lower abdominal pain, sometimes on the left side, as well as vaginal discharge, irregular periods, and painful intercourse.

When to See a Doctor for Left Side Abdominal Pain

Abdominal discomfort can be completely normal from time to time, but if it is accompanied by a fever, nausea, vomiting, blood in the stool, shortness of breath, or chest pain, you should seek medical care as soon as possible, as this could be a sign of something more serious.

A gastroenterologist can help you identify and treat chronic pain that may be caused by issues with the digestive system. If your pain has persisted for more than a few weeks or is disrupting your life, it’s time to see a doctor.

Don’t continue to live with left side abdominal pain – schedule an appointment today!

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