What causes pain in the left side of the abdomen? What does it mean to have pain in the left side of the abdomen? Is lower left abdominal pain normal? Is left abdominal pain serious? When should you see a doctor? You can find the answers to all these questions and much more below.
What does it mean to have pain in the left side of the abdomen?
The left side of your abdomen is home to the last part of your colon. Minor pains felt in this area, such as pain on the left side of the abdomen , will usually be a concern. Sometimes you can feel the pain on the right and left side of the abdomen, and sometimes you may feel lower abdominal pain on the right side . Whether the abdominal pain is upper or lower, left abdominal pain is usually nothing to worry about and may resolve on its own in a day or two. However, if you experience pain in the left side of the abdomen after an accident or injury, it is a good idea to see a doctor. Also, if you feel pressure or pain in your chest and also have pain in the left side of the abdomen, you should also seek medical attention immediately.
Even if you are experiencing pain in the left side of the abdomen with the following conditions, you should go to the doctor without wasting time:
- High fever
- Severe tenderness in the affected area
- Abdominal bloating
- Bleeding from stool or rectum
- Persistent nausea and vomiting
- unexplained weight loss
- Skin that appears yellow (jaundice)
Read on to learn more about pain in the left side of the abdomen, what causes it, and when to see your doctor.
Most common cause of pain in the left side of the abdomen: Diverticulitis
Most often , pain in the lower left side of the abdomen is caused by diverticulitis . Diverticulum are small sacs formed by pressure on weak spots in the colon. Diverticulum is common and is even more common after the age of 50. When a sac ruptures, swelling and infection can cause diverticulitis.
Other than pain in the left side of the abdomen, other diverticulitis symptoms include:
- abdominal tenderness
- Constipation and diarrhea (these are less common)
For mild diverticulitis, most people respond well to rest, dietary change, and antibiotics. Some people may need surgery if the condition is severe or continues to return.
Pain on the left side of the abdomen: Other common causes
Some of the most common causes of pain felt as both right and left lower abdominal pain are listed below.
Gas formation and consequent gas formation is completely normal. Gas can be found throughout your digestive tract, from your stomach to your rectum. Gas is a normal consequence of swallowing air and digestion.
Gas can be caused by:
- swallowing more air than usual
- To smoke
- Chewing gum
- Inability to fully digest certain foods
- Consuming gas-producing foods
- Disruption of bacteria in the colon
Gas is usually not serious. If it persists or occurs with other symptoms such as:
- Right or left lower abdominal pain
- Unexplained weight loss
- Painful burning sensation in the chest
- blood in stool
Indigestion usually happens after eating. Your stomach produces acid when you eat. This acid can irritate your esophagus, stomach or intestines. The pain is usually in the upper abdomen, but in rare cases, it may manifest as right or left lower abdominal pain. Indigestion is usually mild. Most people have the discomfort, pain, or burning sensation that goes along with it.
Other symptoms of indigestion include:
- Painful burning sensation in the chest
- feeling full or bloated
- mouth gas (burping)
You should see your doctor if indigestion persists or worsens.
A hernia is when one of the internal organs is pushed out through a weak spot in the body. A lump or protrusion may appear in the abdomen or groin, along with some hernias.
Other hernia symptoms may include:
- Increasing size of swelling
- Increasing pain in the area
- pain when lifting weights
- a dull pain
- feeling of fullness
Each hernia type has different symptoms. For example, gastric hernias do not form a protrusion.
The specific cause of the hernia depends on the type of hernia. Hernias can cause serious problems, so you should see your doctor if you suspect you have them.
4. Kidney stone
Kidney stones usually cause problems and pain when they move through the kidney or ureter (the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder). The stone can cause severe pain in the sides and back, under your ribs. The pain may also come in waves, and the pain felt as the stone passes through your urinary tract may improve or worsen.
You may also experience the following if you have kidney stones:
- Pink, red, brown, cloudy, or smelly urine
- Painful or more frequent urination
- fever or chills
There is no single cause of kidney stone. Certain factors can increase your risk, such as if someone in your family has this problem. If you have symptoms that worry you, you should see your doctor.
Have you ever had chickenpox? If so, the varicella-zoster virus lurks quietly in your body. The virus can then reappear as shingles . Your risk of shingles generally increases with age. A shingles infection can cause a painful rash that looks like a stripe blister that covers one side of your body. Sometimes the rash appears on the neck or face. Some people have pain but no redness.
Other shingles symptoms include:
- burning, numbness or tingling
- touch sensitivity
- Blisters that burst and crust
The shingles vaccine reduces your risk of getting this condition. If you have shingles, you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Starting treatment early can shorten the infection and reduce your risk of further problems.
Pain in the left side of the abdomen in women: Causes
Some causes of left abdominal pain only affect women. These conditions may be more serious or need medical attention. In these cases, pain may also develop on the right side of the abdomen.
1. Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea)
Cramps usually occur before and during your period. Pain can range from a minor discomfort to something that interferes with your daily activities, but menstrual cramps are not usually serious. Menstrual cramps can also contribute to pain in both the right and left sides of the abdomen.
You should contact your doctor if:
- If your cramps interfere with your daily activities
- If your symptoms get worse over time
- If you are over 25 and your cramps are getting more severe
Endometriosis, also known as a chocolate cyst , puts the tissue that makes up the lining of the uterus in contact with other organs in your body. This is most often found in the lower abdomen or what we call the pelvis, but it can occur anywhere in the body. This cancause problems such as left abdominal pain or left abdominal pain .
Other endometriosis symptoms include:
- painful menstrual cramps that may worsen over time
- pain during sexual intercourse
- Pain after sexual intercourse
- Painful stool or urination
- heavy menstrual periods
- pain between periods
The cause of endometriosis is unknown. If you have such a condition, regular doctor control may be required.
3. Ovarian cysts
An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac inside or on the surface of an ovary. Most cysts are asymptomatic and disappear without treatment within a few months. A large cyst can cause discomfort. It can cause pain in the upper left side of the abdomen and pain in the lower side of the left side of the abdomen.
A right-sided ovarian cyst may cause pain in the right abdomen, while a left-sided ovarian cyst may cause pain in the left side of the abdomen . It can also put pressure on your bladder and cause you to urinate more often. A ruptured cyst can cause some serious problems, such as severe pain or internal bleeding.
You should see your doctor or seek medical advice right away if you experience:
- sudden, severe abdominal pain
- Pain with fever or vomiting
- signs of shock such as cold and clammy skin, rapid breathing, lightheadedness or weakness
4. Ovarian torsion
Large ovarian cysts can cause the ovaries to change position in the body. This increases the risk of ovarian torsion, in which case a painful bending of the ovary can cut off blood flow. Fallopian tubes can also be affected by this condition.
Ovarian torsion is more likely to occur during pregnancy or with the use of hormones to stimulate ovulation. Ovarian torsion is not common. Affected women are usually in their reproductive years when ovarian torsion occurs.
Ovarian torsion can cause pain on the left side of the abdomen. If you experience a sudden, severe pain in your stomach along with vomiting, you should see your doctor. Surgery is usually required to dissolve or remove the ovaries.
5. Ectopic pregnancy
Under normal conditions, the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus. An ectopic pregnancy is a condition that occurs when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus and begins to grow there. In an ectopic pregnancy , also known as an ectopic pregnancy, you may or may not have symptoms.
In addition to right or left abdominal pain, other symptoms may include:
- A missed period or other pregnancy symptoms
- vaginal bleeding
- Vaginal discharge
- Pain while urinating or defecating
- Pain in the shoulder ends
If you have these symptoms and think you may be pregnant, even if your pregnancy test is negative and it’s still too early, you should see your doctor. In some cases, an ectopic pregnancy is serious and requires surgery to repair the fallopian tube.
You should seek immediate medical attention if:
- if you feel sick
- If you experience dizziness
- If you feel unconscious
- If you look very pale
6. Pelvic inflammatory disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of the female reproductive system. It is usually caused by sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhea . But other types of infections can also lead to pelvic inflammatory disease. If you have such a disease, you may or may not have symptoms.
In addition to pain on the left side of the abdomen, other symptoms may include:
- High fever
- foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- Pain or bleeding during sexual intercourse
- burning sensation while urinating
- Bleeding between menstrual periods
You should contact your doctor if you think you or your partner has been exposed to an STD or if you have any genital symptoms such as an unusual sore or discharge.
Pain in the left side of the abdomen in men: Causes
Some causes of pain in the left side of the abdomen only affect men. These conditions may be more serious or need medical attention. In these cases, pain may also develop on the right side of the abdomen.
1. Inguinal hernia
Inguinal hernia is when organs in the abdomen (such as small intestines, intestinal fat) protrude from weak areas in the abdominal wall and form swelling under the skin. This type of hernia can also occur in women, but is much less common in women than men.
Some symptoms of inguinal hernia are:
- A small protrusion on the groin side that can grow over time and usually disappears when you lie down
- Pain in the groin that worsens when straining, lifting, coughing, or during physical activity
- Weakness, heaviness, burning or pain in the groin
- a swollen or enlarged scrotum
This type of hernia can cause serious problems. You should seek medical attention if:
- Extreme tenderness or redness at the swelling area
- Sudden pain that worsens and persists
- Gas and defecation problems
- Nausea and vomiting
- High fever
2. Testicular torsion
Testicular torsion is a condition in which the blood supply (spermatic cord) in a man’s testicles is twisted and cut off blood flow to the testicles. The cause of testicular torsion is unknown. Testicular torsion can cause severe pain in the abdomen and groin . Testicular torsion can happen at any age, but mostly occurs in boys under the age of 18.
Some symptoms of testicular torsion include:
- Sudden, severe scrotal pain and swelling
- groin pain
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- feeling pain while urinating
- High fever
Testicular torsion is very serious. If you have sudden or severe pain in your testicles, you should seek medical attention immediately. If the pain goes away on its own, you still need to see your doctor right away. Surgical treatment can prevent damage to the testis.
Pain on the left side of the abdomen: Check with the doctor
Worried about your stomachache? Did it take more than a few days? If you answered yes to both questions, it’s time to see your doctor. Until then, pay attention to your pain and see if there’s anything to alleviate it. If the pain continues, do not delay yourself and see your doctor as soon as possible.