The abdomen is an area of the body that houses the stomach, liver, appendix, and some other important organs. It has the ribs on the top and the pelvis at the bottom. Abdominal pain is a common occurrence, and almost every individual suffers from it once in their lifetime. However, recurrent or acute pain should not be taken lightly, and immediate medical attention should be sought. Left side abdominal pain can occur due to a number of reasons. It could be triggered due to injury to the organs, like the spleen, stomach, blood vessels, and nerves on the left side of the abdomen, or the left component of paired organs, like the kidney, ureters, adrenal gland, ovary, etc. Alternatively, such pain could also indicate some serious disease or infection.
Connection to Colon Cancer
Pain in the left side of the abdomen, specially in older people, send many into panic. Could the pain indicate colon cancer? Persistent pain in the abdomen may or may not be a symptom of colon cancer. Nevertheless, if it persists for more than a week, it should definitely be referred to a doctor.
In case one is suffering from colon cancer, abdominal pain may be accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms:
- A change in the bowel movements that continues for 4 days or more for no apparent reason.
- Blood while passing stools.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Loss of appetite.
- Stomach cramps.
- Feeling of tiredness.
Other Causes of Pain
This refers to several conditions that may arise due to inflammation of the stomach lining. Besides abdominal discomfort, symptoms of gastritis include nausea, vomiting, and bloating.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
This is a prominent cause. This syndrome refers to the functional disorder caused when the bowels do not work properly. The symptoms include bloating, cramps, and alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation.
It could be caused due to inflammation of the diverticula (small pouches along the wall of the intestines). This condition is known as diverticulitis.
Once an egg is fertilized, it grows inside the uterus of the mother. However, in certain conditions, the embryo develops outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. Ectopic pregnancy could be one of the reasons for this pain.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pain in the left side of the abdomen in a woman could be caused due to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This disease refers to the inflammation of the uterus, ovary and/or the fallopian tube on the left side of the body.
This condition refers to formation of ulcers in the lining of the rectum and colon. The ulcers often lead to bleeding that is manifested as blood in the stool. Other symptoms of ulcerative colitis include diarrhea.
Ovarian cyst could be yet another cause. This is caused when a cyst, which is a fluid filled sac, is formed in the left ovary of a woman.
Beside all these medical reasons, the pain may be due to injury or an abdominal muscle strain due to strenuous activity, like heavy exercise or lifting up heavy objects. While conditions like gastritis or irritable bowel syndrome are not life-threatening, ectopic pregnancy or colon cancer surely requires immediate medical attention. It is always advisable to avoid self-diagnosis and get proper treatment done.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.