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Left Side Pain Under Ribs

Pain under ribs on the left side, can be caused due to a variety of reasons, from flatulence to spleen damage. However, without a proper medical diagnosis, it may be unwise to jump to conclusions. Here we take a look at some of the probable causes of pain below ribs on the left side.
Rahul Thadani
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2018
A sudden bout of pain under the ribs can stem from a variety of causes. Some of these causes can be simple avoidable conditions, whereas other causes can signify something more dangerous. One needs to note the possible symptoms and effects of the pain, and then visit a doctor if the discomfort persists.
The accompanying symptoms should also be noted, so that the exact nature of the problem can be diagnosed. The doctor will carry out a thorough investigation and ascertain the exact cause of the affliction. Here are some possible causes for pain under ribs on the left side.
Possible Causes of Pain Under Ribs
Determining the cause of left side pain below the ribs is something that requires careful analysis. Every little detail, from the location of pain to the type and intensity of pain could prove vital in determining its cause. Here are some probable causes for pain under ribs on the left side.
Rib Damage
In case there is a fracture in one or more ribs, then the pain in that region will be unbearable, to say the least. Regular functions and movements of the body will be severely hindered, and the individual will find himself unable to move around, without a lot of discomfort and pain. Rib damage appears as a result of some external trauma, usually blunt force trauma, and it will also be accompanied by visible signs of bruising. So it should not be too difficult to pinpoint this as the sole cause of pain in left side under ribs.
Kidney Stones
This is a very common cause of pain below the ribs and many people suffer from this condition on a regular basis. As a matter of fact, kidney stones can originate in either kidney and cause pain in them. Pain in the left side usually signifies that the stones are present in the left kidney. The pain will usually begin in the back, and then shift to the front side. You must visit a doctor immediately, who will guide you on the method of treatment.
Spleen Damage
The spleen is an organ that is located in the upper region of the abdomen, and its primary task is to filtrate and regulate the red blood cells in the body. But, if there is some problem, such as an enlarged spleen or a ruptured spleen, then the person might experience some pain in the upper left side of the abdomen. This pain might radiate to the back and shoulders.
If people who are already suffering from asplenia, splenomegaly or leukemia have pain in the left side below the ribs, then they should visit a doctor immediately.
When there is formation of sacs in the intestinal walls it is known as diverticulosis. When these sacs or pouches become inflamed, it is known as diverticulitis. Left side pain under rib cage is a very common indicator of this illness, and a proper diet can remedy the situation pretty soon. If an elderly person is experiencing intense pain under the ribs and there is also tenderness in this region, in all likelihood it is diverticulitis.
When there is an inflammation in the pancreas, it is called pancreatitis. People suffering from pancreatitis complain of moderate to severe upper abdominal pain, that radiates to the back. Eating or drinking usually worsens the pain. If there are other symptoms, such as, nausea, vomiting and fever, then pancreatitis might be suspected as a cause of pain under ribs.
Bowel Obstruction
The intestines are intertwined inside the body, and even a slight obstruction in them can cause tremendous pain and discomfort to an individual. Pain on left side below ribs signifies that the part of the intestines passing through this area of abdomen is blocked, and something is obstructing it in some manner. If other symptoms like vomiting, constipation, abdominal distension and irregular stools are also present, it is probably a case of bowel obstruction.
The cartilage that connects the ribs to the inner chest can get inflamed due to several reasons, and this can cause intense pain under the ribs. This condition is known as costochondritis, and it is caused either by external trauma or through viral infection. In extreme cases, this condition is known as Tietze's Syndrome, and it can be noticed if you experience severe pain in the breastbone, especially after some physical activity.
Viral Hepatitis
Pain on the left side of the rib cage can also be an indicator of viral hepatitis. This is a very dangerous illness, and it requires immediate treatment. Dark urine, low-grade fever, tiredness, diarrhea, vomiting and yellowed skin and eyes accompanying rib pain is a clear indicator of viral hepatitis.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of the uterus or fallopian tubes. A dull nagging pain that refuses to go away is one of the main symptoms of this disease. The pain often shifts throughout the entire abdominal area and is also accompanied by a fever. Women experiencing left side pain below ribs must visit a gynecologist immediately.
Possibly one of the most common causes of left side pains is the presence of gas. If the gas is blocked in the left side loop of the intestines, or the colon, it can lead to a great amount of pain and discomfort, and this can seriously debilitate an individual. The effects are similar to that of bowel obstructions, and there are many cures that can provide instant relief. The sooner the problem is diagnosed, the quicker it can be treated. Another similar condition known as pneumothorax also causes rib pain. In this case, air gets trapped between the lungs and the ribs due to the collapsing of the lung. The collapsing of the lung may be caused due to a rupture in the lung membrane.
Besides these, there are a few other conditions that are known to cause similar discomfort:
  • Acid Reflux
  • Stomach Ulcers
  • Intestinal Infection
  • Pericarditis
  • Ectopic Pregnancy
  • Ulcerative Colitis
If you are regularly suffering from intense bouts of sudden pain under the ribs, especially on one side only, then you need to be aware of all the symptoms that are plaguing you. Without this knowledge it will be quite difficult to ascertain the cause of the pain. No doctor will prescribe any sort of medication without determining what the reason for your discomfort is.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.