Pain in the upper left side of the abdomen, also known as upper left quadrant, is a symptom that something is wrong with the organs and structures that are located there. It consists of the spleen, a part of the bowel, end part of the pancreas, left side of the kidneys, a part of stomach, lower ribs, left part of the liver, part of the ureter, left adrenal gland, part of the left lung, aorta, muscles, and the skin. The heart is located just above this quadrant. Thus, discomfort in this area, can be caused due to any discrepancy or condition, experienced in any of these structures. Mentioned below are some of the causes for the same.
Pain in the upper quadrant, on the left side of the abdomen could be due to the enlargement of the spleen, a condition known as splenomegaly. The size of the spleen is usually the same as that of a fist, but due to certain infections or a liver disease, or cancer, it increases in size, thereby producing symptoms, such as, anemia, fatigue, easy bleeding, besides pain in the left quadrant on the upper side of the abdomen.
This condition occurs due to the consumption of contaminated food and water. It may also occur due to coming in contact with a person already suffering from this condition. Viral gastroenteritis is an infection of the intestine, and it produces symptoms, such as, pain, diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea or vomiting, and in some cases, even fever.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome is a disorder of the large intestine or colon. It does not cause any damage to the colon, but can produce symptoms, such as, abdominal cramps, pain in the quadrant, bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea.
Pancreatitis resulting from gallstones or alcohol abuse can cause this condition, accompanied by other acute symptoms, such as, abdominal swelling, fever, chills, nausea, rapid heartbeat, low blood pressure, fatigue, irritability, and headaches. Long-term pancreatitis or chronic pancreatitis can lead to serious conditions, such as, diabetes, jaundice, and liver diseases.
Polycystic Kidney Disease
It is a condition, in which, a number of cysts develop in the kidneys. This condition may lead to serious conditions, such as high blood pressure and renal kidney failure. Apart from pain in the quadrant, the symptoms of polycystic kidney disease include, enlarged abdomen, blood in urine, increase in urination, headaches, kidney stones, and kidney infections.
Aorta is the body's largest artery, which supplies blood from the heart to the chest, abdomen, and finally the legs. Aortic aneurysm is the abnormal bulging out of the wall of the aorta. When aortic aneurysm occurs in the wall, near the abdomen, it causes immense pain in the upper left quadrant. Other symptoms include, a severe pain in the back and chest, chills, numbness, and sometimes, even a heart stroke.
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs caused by a virus, bacteria, or fungus. It may cause swelling in the lower, left part of the lungs resulting in upper left quadrant pain. Other symptoms of pneumonia include, high fever, cough with yellow or brown sputum, chills, and sometimes chest pain.
Other conditions such as shingles in the skin above the upper left abdomen, infection in the left ribs known as Tietze syndrome, can also cause abdominal pain in the upper left side. Treatment for this condition will depend upon the cause of pain, thus, proper diagnosis by a doctor is recommended.