The abdominal area is prone to various types of pain because the digestive system and its many supporting organs are located within this region. These pains can affect the entire region or focus on certain areas of the abdomen. Pain on left side of the abdomen can be triggered by a number of reasons. Symptoms are more common in women and the elderly due to ailments that are specific to these categories of people. Some of the common reasons that cause pain in this region are the left ovarian diseases or problems with left fallopian tubes. Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, left ectopic pregnancy, diverticulitis, and left ulcerative colitis are the other more common causes of the left side abdominal pain.
Types of Abdominal Pain
Depending on the cause and the underlying illnesses, the pains in the abdomen can fall in to various types. These can be:
- Simple and mild pains
- Sever sharp pains that occur instantaneously
- Pains that materialize as mild pains and grow in intensity
- Prolonged pains that vary in intensity
- Chronic pains that lasts over many months or years
The above-mentioned types of pains are differentiated by their intensity and duration and these indications can be used in deciding the need for medical attention. The region or the location from which the pain originates, is the other primary factor that helps diagnose the causes of abdominal pain.
Areas Related with Pain in the Left Side
The left side of the abdomen contains a number of vital organs and some parts of the digestive system. It also contains nerves, arteries, muscles, and ribs which form the rest of the human structure. Any one of these can be inflamed, infected, injured, and potentially fail to function normally, thus trigger pain and other symptoms.
The following are some of the main organs or body parts associated with pain in left side of the abdomen.
- Nerves on the left side of the abdomen
- Left half of the large intestine
- The Spleen
- The Stomach
- Left Adrenal gland
- Left Ovary in women
- Left Fallopian tube in women
- Left edge of the Liver
- Left Urethra
- Left Kidney
- Skin covering the left side of the abdomen.
- The Descending Colon
- Body and Tail of the Pancreas
- Blood vessels and the aorta on the abdomen
- Sigmoid Colon
- Muscles of the wall of the left side of the abdomen
Illnesses in any of these structures can give rise to pain in left side of abdomen area.
Causes of Pain in Left Side
There are various causes of left side pain in the left abdominal area and the following are a list of the most common causes:
- Food poisoning: Consuming contaminated food can lead to food poisoning. This can result in vomiting and fever as well as severe pain in the left side to the abdomen.
- Constipation: When the bowel movements are affected, a feeling of heaviness is felt resulting in abdominal pain. Precaution can be taken in order to prevent constipation by eating a healthy diet that consist more fiber.
- Kidney stones: This is very common in both men and women. A severe pain erupts in the abdomen, as a result of the stone passing to the urethra. Difficulty in passing urine, swelling of body, and pain in back bone area and abdomen region are the symptoms.
- Hernia: Hernia is caused, when part of the bowel or gut projects out of an abnormal opening in the stomach wall. Hernia on the left side can lead to pain in the lower left abdomen.
- Psoas Abscess: Usually occurs due to an infection in the psoas muscle. When puss is collected in the psoas muscle, a swelling followed by left abdominal pain is experienced. This condition carries the added risk of developing tuberculosis.
- Endometriosis: This is diagnosed by a swelling in the left side of the area where menses occur. This is a common condition caused by the presence of womb tissues outside the womb.
- Pyelonephritis (kidney infection): Affected kidney on the left side can lead to pain in the left abdomen. The patient may suffer from difficulty in passing urine and experience fluid retention. The number of times the patient passes urine also increases.
- Bowel cancer: The affected area can cause pain in the left abdomen, which results in constipation, loss of appetite and feeling weak.
- Crohns disease: This can give rise to left abdominal pain, if it affects the sigmoid colon. Crohn’s disease is often confused with other abdominal pain. This is also another type of bowel disease.
- Ectopic pregnancy: This occurs at an early stage in pregnancy which occurs outside the womb. The affected tube triggers severe right or left side pain and vaginal bleeding. Common symptoms are feeling weak, dizzy, and experiencing pain in shoulder. If this condition is not treated at an early stage it can lead to severe blood loss resulting in death.
- Bowel Obstruction: If the bowel is obstructed in the left side, it can cause a severe pain on the left abdomen. If the obstruction is severe, there may be no way to pass feces. Symptoms are vomiting, cramping, and griping pain.
- Irritable bowel syndrome: This is a disorder caused by the malfunction of the gut. The condition is identified by bloating, passing of hard feces, excessive gas build up, followed by cramping abdominal pain.
- Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm: An illness caused by a distortion in the aorta which carry blood away from the heart along the abdomen, this can cause a drop in blood pressure. In some instances, the pain is severe in the lower left abdominal area.
- Ovarian cyst: This occurs at the side of the womb, close to the ovary. The pain spreads to other parts of the body like the thighs. The pain caused by the ovarian cyst is sudden and severe.
- Trapped wind: Additional gas in the stomach can cause left abdominal pain. The pain usually subsides by farting. The symptoms are loud bowel noises, bloating, and pain like cramps.
- Rectus sheath haematoma: This happens when one of the blood vessels from the groin leading to the abdomen is damaged. Blood accumulates under the muscles covering the affected area of the abdomen causing severe pain on left side of the abdomen.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Left Side Pain
Given the wide variety of reasons for pain in left side of the abdomen, the treatment can vary from simple remedies to major surgeries and prescription medications. To diagnose the cause, physical examinations, ultra sound scans, X-rays of the abdominal area, blood tests, stool and urine tests, and endoscopies may be required. Once the cause of the pain is properly diagnosed, appropriate remedial actions can be taken. Some disorders such as irritable bowel movement, crohns disease and constipation are treated with laxatives and changes in dietary habits. Plenty of fluid intake will benefit people suffering from these conditions as well as those with kidney stones. Hernia, sever kidney stones, ovarian cysts, rectus sheath hematoma, bowel cancer, and ectopic pregnancies will generally require surgical interventions. Other conditions which are resulting from inflammations and infections should be treated with proper antibiotics and other supplementary medications for achieving best results.
Pain on left side of the abdomen can be caused by many factors and having a proper understanding of the possible reasons can help you seek the appropriate medical assistance for the discomfort. Pain in the abdomen area is not to be ignored as it can be the symptom of a serious underlying illness.