Left Side Abdominal Pain: Symptoms, Causes with Treatment

Left-side abdominal pain refers to the pain originating from the left side of the abdomen. It usually occurs between the lower chest and the top of the pelvic area. The left side of the abdomen contains many vital organs, such as the stomach, left kidney, pancreas, and part of the colon. These organ problems will cause abdominal pain on the left or right side.

Depending on the cause, the pain can be mild, dull, severe, intermittent, or continuous. It may also start in one place and radiate to another. Other common symptoms include bloating, cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and constipation.

Fortunately, abdominal pain on the left side usually lasts for a short time, and there is no need to worry about it. In most cases, the pain is caused by heartburn, indigestion, gas, anxiety, or poor eating habits.

If you experience severe pain, bloody stools, chest squeezing, or dull aching pain that doesn’t go away, seek medical help immediately. This could be a sign of a severe health condition. This article will discuss common causes of pain in your left abdomen with treatment.

organs on left side of body
organs on the left side of the body

Four Types of Abdominal Pain

There are four types of abdominal pain: localized, cramp-like, colicky, and diffuse. It’s important to distinguish between the common causes of abdominal pain and the more serious ones that may require immediate medical attention.

There are four main types of abdominal pain. Sharp abdominal pain acts like a stabbing sensation that can come and go quickly. It might make you sit up and take notice right away. Dull pain, on the other hand, is more of a constant ache where your stomach feels sore or tender to touch.

Cramp-like discomfort can feel like your belly is tightening up over and over again. This kind often comes with bloating and gas. Lastly, there’s colicky pain — this type feels like severe waves rolling through your stomach, coming in cycles.

Organs on the Left Side of the Abdomen

The left side of your abdomen contains some crucial organs. When looking for the cause of left-side abdominal pain, knowing which organs are located on the left side of the abdomen is essential. Some crucial organs on the left side of your abdomen include:

Left lung: It is located behind your heart. Some lung diseases may cause chest pain radiating to the left abdomen.

Part of the liver, spleen, and pancreas: Part of the liver is located below the left side of the chest cavity. The spleen and pancreas are part of the digestive system located on the left side of the abdomen.

Left kidney: The left kidney is located on the left side of the abdomen. Some kidney diseases, such as kidney stones, can cause severe pain in the left abdomen.

Part of the stomach and the end part of the esophagus: Part of the stomach is located on the left side of the abdomen. Stomach disease is the most common cause of pain on the left side of the abdomen.

Part of the small intestine and the left side of the colon: The back part of the small intestine and colon is located on the lower left side of the abdomen.

The left fallopian tube left ovary, and part of the uterus in women: Part of the female reproductive system is located on the left side of the abdomen. Menstruation is one of the most common causes of abdominal pain in women.

Left Side Abdominal Pain
Left Side Abdominal Pain: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Common Causes of Left-Sided Abdominal Pain

Common causes of left-sided abdominal pain can include appendicitis, diverticulitis, constipation, kidney stones, stomach ulcers, gastroenteritis, and inflammatory bowel diseases. These conditions can cause discomfort and require specific treatments for relief.


Appendicitis is a serious medical condition defined by inflammation of the appendix. It typically causes pain in the lower right abdomen, often starting as mild discomfort and intensifying over time.

If left untreated, it can lead to the appendix bursting, resulting in a potentially life-threatening infection within the abdominal cavity.

Symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, fever, and loss of appetite are common indicators of appendicitis. Immediate medical attention is crucial if these symptoms arise. Surgery to remove the inflamed appendix (appendectomy) is usually necessary for treatment.


Diverticulitis occurs when small pouches in the colon become infected or inflamed. Symptoms may include left lower abdominal pain, fever, nausea, and changes in bowel habits. Treatment involves antibiotics to clear the infection, a liquid diet to rest the colon, and sometimes over-the-counter pain relievers for discomfort management.

In severe cases or complications like abscesses or perforations, hospitalization, and surgery might be necessary. Prevention strategies often involve high-fiber diets and adequate hydration to maintain healthy bowel movements and prevent further flare-ups of diverticulitis.

If you experience persistent or worsening symptoms of left-side abdominal pain along with fever or blood in your stool, seek immediate medical attention.


Constipation can cause left-side abdominal discomfort. It is characterized by infrequent bowel movements or difficulty passing stool. Factors like diet, dehydration, and lack of physical activity can contribute to constipation.

When constipated, increasing fiber intake and staying hydrated can help alleviate the discomfort.

Constipation affects the digestive system and may lead to lower left abdominal pain. To relieve constipation, consuming fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is essential. In severe cases, laxatives or stool softeners may be necessary for treatment.

Kidney Stones

Kidney stone disease causes intense pain in the left lower quadrant of the abdomen. This condition results from mineral buildup in the urinary system, leading to severe abdominal cramping and discomfort.

Treatment may involve medication to manage symptoms or procedures to break up or remove the stones.

Moving on to “Stomach Ulcers,” which can also cause left-side abdominal pain.

Stomach Ulcers

Stomach ulcers are sores in the lining of the stomach or small intestine. They can cause left upper quadrant pain, abdominal tenderness, and discomfort. Common causes include bacterial infection and long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Treatment may involve medications to reduce stomach acid and antibiotics if there is an infection.

These ulcers can lead to serious complications if left untreated, such as bleeding or perforation of the stomach lining. If you experience persistent abdominal pain, especially after eating or at night, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.


Gastroenteritis, commonly known as the stomach flu, causes inflammation of the stomach and intestines. It leads to symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and cramps. The condition is often caused by a viral or bacterial infection and can also result from consuming contaminated food or water.

Gastroenteritis typically resolves on its own within a few days but may require medical attention if symptoms become severe or persistent. Treatment usually involves staying hydrated, resting the digestive system with gentle foods, and in some cases, medication to alleviate symptoms.

Stomach flu or gastroenteritis brings discomfort through diarrhea and vomiting due to stomach and intestinal inflammation resulting from viral or bacterial infections. This common condition often requires hydration restoration with restful dietary choices while occasionally needing symptom-alleviating medication.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis cause chronic inflammation in the digestive tract. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, and fatigue.

Treatment focuses on reducing inflammation and managing symptoms through medication, dietary changes, and sometimes surgery when complications arise. Regular monitoring by a healthcare provider is essential to prevent flare-ups and maintain the quality of life for individuals with IBD.

Both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis fall under the umbrella of IBD, affecting different areas of the gastrointestinal tract. Flare-ups can be unpredictable so it’s crucial to work closely with a healthcare team to find an individualized treatment plan that addresses both physical health and overall well-being.

Common Causes of Left Abdominal Pain in Women

Common causes of left abdominal pain in women include menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea), endometriosis, and ovarian cysts. These conditions can cause discomfort and require proper diagnosis and treatment.

Menstrual Cramps (dysmenorrhea)

Menstrual cramps, or dysmenorrhea, cause pain in the lower abdomen during menstruation. The discomfort can range from mild to severe and may also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Treatment options include over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, applying a heating pad to the abdomen, regular exercise, and relaxation techniques. For more severe cases of menstrual cramps, your doctor may recommend prescription medication or hormone therapy for relief.


Moving from the topic of “Menstrual Cramps (dysmenorrhea),” another possible cause of left abdominal pain in women is Endometriosis. This condition occurs when tissue similar to the lining inside the uterus grows outside it.

The displacement and growth of this tissue can result in severe pain, especially during menstruation, along with fertility problems.

Endometriosis causes distressing symptoms such as chronic pelvic pain and painful periods which may be managed through medications, hormone therapy, or surgery if necessary.

Being aware of these symptoms and seeking early medical attention can help in the timely diagnosis and management of endometriosis. Awareness regarding its signs and symptoms is crucial for early intervention.

Ovarian Cysts

Now moving on to another potential cause of left abdominal pain in women, let’s discuss ovarian cysts. Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that can form on the ovaries. Sometimes these cysts may cause pain or discomfort, especially if they rupture or become large.

Symptoms may include pelvic pain, bloating, and a feeling of fullness in the abdomen. In many cases, small ovarian cysts resolve on their own without treatment; however, larger or persistent cysts may require medical intervention such as medication or surgery.

Ovarian Cysts can lead to left lower quadrant discomfort and might be mistaken for other digestive system disorders if not properly diagnosed.

It’s essential for individuals experiencing persistent symptoms indicative of an ovarian cyst to seek prompt medical attention for proper evaluation and appropriate treatment options based on the severity of the condition.

Common Causes of Left Abdominal Pain in Men


A hernia occurs when an organ or fatty tissue squeezes through a weak spot in the surrounding muscle or connective tissue. It commonly appears as a bulge, especially during heavy lifting, coughing, or straining.

Although not always painful, it can cause discomfort and may require surgical intervention if severe.

Now let’s delve into the causes and treatments of inguinal hernias for a better understanding of this condition.

Inguinal Hernia

An inguinal hernia occurs when tissue, such as part of the intestine, protrudes through a weak spot in the abdominal muscles. This type of hernia commonly appears as a bulge on either side of the pubic bone and may be more noticeable when coughing or bending over.

If left untreated, an inguinal hernia can lead to complications such as pain, pressure, and even bowel obstruction. Fortunately, surgical repair is often recommended to alleviate discomfort and prevent further issues related to this condition.

Testicular Torsion

Testicular torsion occurs when the spermatic cord twists, cutting off blood supply to the testicle. This condition is a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment to restore blood flow and prevent permanent damage or loss of the testicle.

Symptoms include sudden and severe pain in the scrotum, swelling, nausea, vomiting, and an elevated testicle.

If you experience these symptoms, seek emergency medical attention right away to prevent complications. Surgery is often necessary to untwist the spermatic cord and secure both testicles in place to prevent recurrence.

When should you see a doctor?

In most cases, the left-side abdominal pain will not last long, and you don’t need to worry about it. However, seeing a doctor for abdominal pain is necessary when the pain is unexplainable or is accompanied by other symptoms. 

If the following symptoms occur, seek medical help immediately.

  • Unbearable severe abdominal pain
  • Nausea, vomiting, and high fever
  • Fast heartbeat and difficulty breathing
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Abdominal pain lasts more than two days
  • Dull pain extending to the back and arms

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