Digestive system

Left Side Abdominal Pain: 13 Causes, Signs & Symptoms And Treatments

Left side abdominal pain is experienced and seen in the people of all age groups from childhood to adulthood.

The left side abdominal pain occurs mostly due to the organs present on the left side of the abdomen or stomach. If the left side abdominal pain continues for a longer duration of time, then proper medical help should be taken immediately.

Organs present on left side of abdomen:

Many organs are found on the left side of the abdomen, and any problem occurring in them can lead to the left side abdominal pain.  Organs present on the left side of abdomen are:

  • Spleen
  • Pancreas
  • Left kidney
  • The lower part of the left lung
  • Left adrenal gland
  • Left ureter
  • Part of the colon
  • Sigmoid colon
  • Part of the bladder
  • Large blood vessels, and nerves.
  • The left fallopian tube
  • Left Ovary

Some of the organs are present outside the abdomen and can cause pain in lower left abdomen. These organs are the heart, lower part of the left lung and the left side of the diaphragm.

Causes of lower left side abdominal pain:

left side abdominal pain
Left side abdominal pain
Image source: dianagutierrez.es

Various reasons are responsible for the left side abdominal pain, and they are:

  1. Diverticulitis:

It is one of the leading cause responsible for lower left side abdominal pain. Diverticula are pouch-like structures found in the large intestine called colon.

Some facts about diverticulitis:
  • Small pouches protrude out through the large intestine called diverticula.
  • These diverticula can become infected and swelled leading to diverticulitis.
  • The number of diverticula increases with the age
Symptoms are:
  • Left side stomach pain
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
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Treatment required:

Liquid diet, antibiotics, rest are suggested by the doctor in this condition. Surgery is necessary for diverticulitis when pus in tissues, fistula and small holes are found in the intestine region.

  1. Constipation:

Constipation is a most found problem affecting the large intestine due to which left side abdominal pain originates.In this condition difficulty in expelling stool is felt.

Causes are:
  • Not drinking water correctly, causes the stools to become dry and hard.
  • Constipation is caused due to not doing exercise and a poor diet.
  • Constipation is linked to not eating fibre adequately found in fruits and vegetables.
Symptoms are:
  • Left side abdominal pain
  • Pain occurs while passing stools
  • Need to apply pressure to the abdomen in pushing out a stool
  • Very hard stool
Treatment required:

Improving diet, and increasing exercise are effective treatments in this condition.

  1. Gas:

When air gets collected in the digestive system, it is called as Gas and cause left side abdominal pain. The gas passes through the rectum or oesophagus to outside the body. Gas trapped in the digestive system causes dull pain on left side of abdomen and discomfort unless it moves out of the system.

Causes are:
  • Eating foods that release gas
  • Smoking
  • Undigested foods
 Symptoms are:
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Heartburn
Treatment required:

Gas is not a severe problem. Talk with the doctor if gas is permanently occurring for the longer duration of time.

  1. Intestinal obstruction:

When intestine gets blocked, food is not able to move through the digestive system.

Intestinal obstructions are mostly seen in older adults.

 Causes are:
  • Diverticulitis
  • Colon cancer.
  • Increase in age
Symptoms are:
  • Severe Left abdominal pain
  • Dilatation
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
Treatment required:

Consult a doctor for abdominal pain which is severe and occurring frequently.

  1. Crohn’s disease:

Crohn’s disease is a severe condition that causes pain and swelling in the digestive system. It is an inflammatory bowel disease of the small intestine.

Causes are:
  • Hereditary factors
  • Immune system
  • Environmental factors
Symptoms are:
  • Pain in lower left abdomen
  • Ulcers in the gut
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Severe Diarrhea
 Treatment required:

Consult a gastroenterologist due to the danger of severe illness as cancer of the colon.

  1. Kidney stones:

A kidney stone present in kidney causes a severe left side abdominal pain when it moves around inside the kidney or into the ureter, the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder.

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The stone causes sharp pain in the side and back and below the ribs. The pain increases or decreases, as the stone moves in the urinary system.

Most stones are formed in the right or left kidney.

Causes are:
  • Lack of water
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
  • Animal protein
Symptoms are:
  • Urination is painful and occurring frequently
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever or chills
Treatment required:

Consult the doctor if you have symptoms involving a sharp and severe pain.

  1. Celiac disease:

Celiac disease occurs in the digestive system and is a severe condition in which a person is not able to digest gluten due to which left side abdominal pain occurs.Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other foods products.

Causes are:
  • Pregnancy or childbirth
  • Bacterial gastroenteritis
  • Viral infection
Symptoms are:
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhoea
  • Children suffer from malnourishment and growth
Treatment required:

Consult a doctor before starting a diet without gluten.

Some causes of lower left side abdominal pain are found in women only. These conditions require medical attention being severe. Some such diseases are-

  1. Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea):

Pains on the left side of the abdomen are felt before and during your menstrual period which is called Dysmenorrhea.

There are two types of dysmenorrhea:

Primary dysmenorrhea –  It is a menstrual pain or left side pain in stomach that occurs as a normal process of menstruation.

Secondary dysmenorrhea- It is a menstrual pain related to the gynecologic disorder. These disorders can be easily cured with medications or surgery.

Causes are:
  • Fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Ovarian cyst
Symptoms are:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • A headache or fatigue
Treatment required:
  • Place hot water bottle on your stomach or lower side of the back to reduce left side pain
  • Take warm bath
  • Doing exercises like stretching, walking or biking
  • Getting rest and avoiding stressful situations.
  1. Endometriosis:

The tissue in endometriosis forms a lining inside the uterus and also grows outside the uterus leading to left side abdominal pain and infertility.

The cause of endometriosis is not known, but there are many explanations connected with the cause of endometriosis.

Causes are:
  • During menstruation blood in the endometrial cells moves back into the fallopian tubes.The cells grow there and form a new lining. Another cause is that the blood carries endometrial cells all over the body.
  • Immune system
  • Hereditary factors
Symptoms are:
  • Painful menstrual cramps
  • Painful bowel or urination
  • Heavy menstrual periods
  • Staining between periods
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Treatment required:

Exercise like walking reduces the pain slows the progress of the condition.

Consult a doctor after observing the symptoms.

  1. Ovarian cyst:

An ovarian cyst is a body filled with fluid found inside or on the surface of an ovary.

Most cysts do not produce symptoms and disappear on their own without treatment in a few months. But a large cyst can cause discomfort and presses the bladder causing to urinate leading to a sharp left side abdominal pain.

When a cyst breaks open causes some serious problems, such as severe pain or internal bleeding.

Causes are:
  • Polycystic ovary (PCOS)
  • Follicular cyst or dermoid cyst
  • Tubo ovarian abscess is a condition in which infections in the pelvic organ occurs.
Symptoms are:
  • Sudden and severe left side stomach pain
  • Pain with fever or vomiting
  • Signs of shock, such as cold and wet skin, rapid breathing,
  • Weakness
Treatment required:

Talk to your doctor to get medical help in this condition. Most surgery is prescribed for removal of large cysts in severe cases.

  1. Ovarian torsion:

Large ovarian cysts cause the ovary to change its position. Due to this ovarian bending takes place affecting the fallopian tubes.

Causes are:
  • Ovarian mass
  • Cysts such as dermoid cysts and para ovarian cysts are common causes
  • Sudden turning and bending of the ovary
Symptoms are:
  • Pain in lower left abdomen and pelvic region
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
Treatment required:

Consult a doctor if you feel a sudden left side abdominal pain with vomiting. Surgery is sometimes needed to unbend the ovary or remove it.

  1. Ectopic pregnancy:

When a fertilised egg gets implanted before reaching the uterus, then this condition leads to ectopic surgery, and it also causes severe left side abdominal pain. It occurs inside the fallopian tubes joining the ovary to the uterus.

Causes are :
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Sexually transmitted diseases(STD)
  • Fertility drugs.
Symptoms are:
  • Missed period and pregnancy signs
  • Bleeding
  • Water like discharge
  • Discomfort during urination or bowel

If fallopian tube in ectopic pregnancy breaks open, then this condition can be severe and needs surgery to repair the fallopian tube. Talk to your doctor about the disease.

  1. Appendicitis:

A small, tube-shaped structure situated near the large intestine having no known function is called as Appendix. When this appendix gets blocked, then it leads to the condition called as appendicitis.  If the obstruction in the appendix remains untreated, the appendix can be burst suddenly spreading infection inside the stomach.

Causes are:
  • Appendix becomes blocked
  • Obstruction of a stool, an external body or cancer.

The blockage also occurs from the infection in the body.

Symptoms are:
  • Left side abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Pelvis pain
  • Loss of hunger
Treatment required:

What the therapy involves in appendicitis is surgery suggested by the doctor.


  1. http://www.healthline.com/health/pain-in-lower-left-abdomen
  2. http://www.livestrong.com/article/249031-causes-of-a-sudden-sharp-pain-in-the-lower-left-abdomen/
  3. http://www.medicinenet.com/abdominal_pain_causes/views.htm

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