The area between the breastbone or thorax and the pelvic bone is called abdomen. The part above the navel is referred to as upper abdomen and the one below it is called lower abdomen. It is the largest cavity in the human body. The abdomen contains many important body structures, like the kidneys, liver, pancreas, etc. A problem in any of them may lead to abdominal pain. There can be a number of factors that can lead to left side abdominal pain. Sometimes, pain due to a particular disorder on the right side of the abdomen, radiates to the left side. It makes the detection of the correct reason behind abdominal pain a tough task. Some important ones are mentioned here:
Here is a short list of the probable causes of this condition:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome is a common gastrointestinal tract problem that is marked by abnormal gut contraction. The characteristic symptoms are pain in the abdomen, passage of mucus-coated stools, flatulence, abdominal cramping, and irregular bowel movements with alternating constipation and diarrhea.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
In case the left side abdominal pain is accompanied with the frequent urge to urinate and urination is often painful, then urinary tract infection may be a possible reason behind it. UTI includes microbial infection of any of the structures that form a part of the excretory system. Some of them are kidneys, bladder, and ureter or urethra.
Sometimes, minerals and acid salts start depositing on the inner surface of the kidneys. These deposits are in the form of small and hard stones, hence known as kidney stones. If they are present in the left kidney, then one may experience pain in the left side of the abdomen. The condition is noticed by symptoms like decrease in the amount of urine formed and increase in the concentration of substances like calcium, oxalate, cystine, xanthine, and phosphate. Presence of kidney stones is one of the probable causes of upper left side abdominal pain.
In medicine, ulcers are defined as an area of tissue erosion. The causative agents are smoking, stress, and bacterial infection. They may occur in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. If the left side is affected, then it may lead to mild to severe left side abdominal pain. The region with the ulcer is usually concave in shape because of tissue erosion.
In older people, the wall of the colon gets weakened. This weakening of the colon wall results in the formation of small pouches that protrude outwards from the lining of the colon, known as diverticula. The condition of inflamed diverticula is known as diverticulitis. It is a common cause of left side lower abdominal pain in men and women, of more than 60 years of age.
Gastritis is a medical term that describes the inflammation of the lining of the stomach. This condition usually gives rise to a number of symptoms that include burning sensation and pain in either the left or right side of the abdomen, depending upon the side that is affected with gastritis.
Sometimes, cysts are formed in the ovaries in females, better known as ovarian cysts. Presence of cysts in the left ovary causes mild to severe left side abdominal pain. Many-a-times, surgery is performed to remove the cysts from the ovary. Ovarian cyst is one of the mot common cause of left side abdominal pain in females.
Pancreas is a tube-shaped organ, located behind the stomach. Its head lies on the right side while its tail extends towards the left side of the body. Conditions like long-term consumption of alcohol and gallstones causes the inflammation of pancreas. Such disorder is medically described by the term pancreatitis.
It is always good to consult a medical professional in case of abdominal pain, so that the correct diagnosis and treatment can be done to cure the same.
Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.