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  • Stomach Pain On Your Left Side? Here Are 8 Possible Reasons

    It also depends if the pain is in the upper or lower quadrant.
    by Jocelyn Valle .
Stomach Pain On Your Left Side? Here Are 8 Possible Reasons
PHOTO BY Shutterstock
  • Editor’s Note: This article is intended for information purposes only. It does not substitute a doctor. It is vital to always consult a medically trained professional for advice that suits your needs best.

    There are various reasons why your stomach aches, sometimes depending on which side it comes from. If it's stomach pain at the right side, the causes range from acute hepatitis and biliary colic to several other medical conditions. The stomach pain on the left side is another story.

    What is stomach pain?

    Generally speaking, stomach is mentioned interchangeable with abdomen. So anything involved around your mid-section, you'd say either stomach or abdomen. But strictly speaking, abdomen and stomach are not one and the same.

    Abdomen is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as "the part of the body between the thorax and the pelvis," and it contains many of the visceral organs and especially those involved in digestion. These body parts include the stomach, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and intestines.

    The abdomen is commonly divided into four quadrants, according to the medical paper published by the American College of Surgeons (ACS), and these are:

    • left upper quadrant
    • right upper quadrant
    • left lower quadrant
    • right upper quadrant

    The researchers point out that acute abdomen refers to "a sudden, severe abdominal pain that may indicate an emergency and urgent surgical intervention." But a thorough history and physical examination will lead to the proper diagnosis, or cause of the pain. That's why they recommend consulting with your doctor about your symptoms and for the corresponding stomach ache medicine.

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    Common causes of stomach pain on the left side

    If you feel pain specifically on the left side of your stomach or abdomen, experts point out, it may indicate different medical conditions but with similarities.

    Splenomegaly

    Splenomegaly refers to the enlargement of the spleen, which is an organ that sits just below your left rib cage. It's caused by several conditions, including infections, liver diseases, and some cancers.

    Symptoms include pain or discomfort around the left upper quadrant and on the left shoulder pain, as well as early satiety. It means you feel full after eating even just a small of food.

    Splenic infarction

    When the surface of your spleen gets injured, it leads to internal bleeding and you will feel severe pain, especially around the left upper quadrant. This leads to splenic infarction. Its possible causes include hematologic disorders, thromboembolic disease, vascular diseases, and trauma.

    Splenic abscess

    Splenic abscess refers to a painful collection of pus in the spleen. Almost all splenic abscesses develop as a result of bacteremia (or fungemia), according to infectious diseases experts, although a small percentage spread to the spleen from a contiguous site.

    They explain that endocarditis is the most classic underlying condition that results in splenic abscess. But they add that urinary tract infection (UTI), surgical wound infections, and gastrointestinal infections that result in bacteremia also lead to splenic abscess. Symptoms include fever and tenderness in the left upper quadrant.

    Splenic rupture

    Splenic rupture means your spleen has burst open. It's considered a medical emergency, according to Mayo Clinic, and can be life-threatening if the internal bleeding is not immediately addressed. This is usually caused by a forceful blow to your abdomen, for instance, during a sporting accident, a fistfight, or a car crash.

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    Another cause is an enlarged spleen due to viral or bacterial infections, as well as liver diseases or certain types of cancer, and others medical conditions. Syptoms include pain in the left upper quadrant and left shoulder, and a sudden drop in blood pressure (hypotension).

    Diverticulitis

    Diverticulosis happens, experts explain, when small, bulging pouches called diverticula develop in your digestive tract and become inflamed or infected. You will then have symptoms, such as fever, swelling around the left lower quadrant, lack of normal muscle contractions in the intestines (ileus), change in bowel habits, and having black stool (melena). 

    Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

    If you're suffering from PID, which is an infection of the female reproductive organs, a pocket of pus called tubo-ovarian abscess may form and cause stomach pain on the left side. Other syptoms include fever, malaise, and a thick, milky, and even pus-filled vaginal discharge.

    Hernia

    Hernia is a medical condition, in which the body's internal part bulges and protrudes through the wall of muscle or tissue. A lot of times, you will only feel the bulge and a slight pain when coughing hard or straining hard in the toilet.

    Constipation

    Probably the most common reason for your stomach pain on the left side is constipation. This can be readily addressed with a few changes in your lifestyle and eating habits. Try adding more fiber in your diet and getting more fluids, while avoiding stress.

    Read here on stomach ache causes among children and here about stomach ache in pregnancy.

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    What other parents are reading

    Diverticulosis occurs when small, bulging pouches (diverticula) develop in your digestive tract. When one or more of these pouches become inflamed or infected, the condition is called diverticulitis. Diverticula are small, bulging pouches that can form in the lining of your digestive system.7 May 2020

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