10 Common Causes of Pain under Left Rib Cage

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10 Common Causes of Pain under Left Rib CageOnce we feel sudden pain under the left rib cage, our reaction is panic as there is a common belief that it might suggest some heart problems. It’s only partially true because the area under the left rib cage has a bearing on so many internal organs of our body that heart-related problems are only one of the various possible causes of the pain.

What Are the Symptoms

Pain under the left rib cage seems to be the most obvious symptom. However, it’s not so simple as you need to realize that there are different types of pain depending on the causes. If you want to get the right diagnosis, you need to observe your pain and other, accompanying symptoms.

First of all, you must identify the exact place of your pain as sometimes only millimeters can decide on the cause. Treat your body as an integral unit with organs affecting one another. Therefore, despite the fact that you feel pain under your left rib cage, actually, all the organs that are on your left side of the body might be responsible.

Answer to yourself a question if you feel pain in the abdominal area or maybe more in your chest or between the ribs. What’s more, decide what kind of pain you’ve been feeling. It might be sudden, sharp pain that requires immediate consultation with a doctor or it may be not so much pain, but rather a burning feeling causing discomfort.

The pain may appear occasionally and be sudden and severe. Or, once it occurred, it stays with you for many days, causing a dull ache of a moderate degree. You may feel the pain only under your left rib cage or it can radiate to your shoulder, neck, or even jaw.

Some other symptoms you may experience are coughing, vomiting, or nausea. Go to the doctor immediately if apart from pain under your left rib cage, you also experience dizziness, fever or chills, and rapid breathing.

What Are the Causes of Pain under Left Rib Cage

Once you experience pain under your left rib cage, don’t ignore it, but also don’t panic. It might suggest something serious, but fortunately, in the majority of cases, the cause is minor and can be quickly treated. The organs which can be found close to your left rib cage are the heart, left lung, stomach, adrenal gland, pancreas, left kidney, or left ureter. Therefore, the pain under your left rib might be caused by something as trivial as a fatty dinner.

1.     Digestive Problems

What most of us eat on a daily basis leaves a lot to be desired. We consume too much fast food, we eat too much or irregularly and in result, millions of people suffer from some stomach-related issues.

One of the conditions that very often causes pain under your left rib cage is heartburn. In short, it occurs when the digestive acid from our stomach moves back to the esophagus. What we feel can be described as a burning sensation, sometimes so strong that it’s mistaken with a heart attack. Don’t ignore it, though, as there are rare cases when heartburn is actually one of the symptoms of a heart attack.

Other very common conditions of the contemporary world are known as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and irritable bowel disease (IBD). These are multifaceted diseases, which may have various causes, from a bad diet to a stressful lifestyle, and they may also be responsible for many different symptoms.

If you suffer from IBS or IBD, you may experience bouts of strong or dull pain under your left rib cage from time to time. It’s often accompanied by excess gas, which is actually the reason of your pain. It’s very difficult to fully treat IBS or IBD, however, there are ways to improve the symptoms and alleviate the pain.

Another reason for pain under the left rib cage is constipation, especially when it’s chronic. When hard stool accumulates in your colon, it will cause some pain under your ribs either on the left or right side. Apart from that, you can experience pain in the chest or abdomen and respiratory problems. Therefore, it’s extremely important to tell your doctor about your constipation.

A similar condition to constipation is gas stuck in your colon. It often happens after a fatty meal and it will cause pain and discomfort under your left rib cage or in the left part of your abdomen.

2.     Kidney Stones

If at least once in your life you experienced pain caused by kidney stones, you will probably never forget it. The stones which form in our kidneys are in fact deposits of mineral and salt. They can accumulate in either of your kidneys and they cause extremely intense and sharp pain.

If the left kidney is affected, you may experience pain under your left rib cage. Sometimes it spreads to the lower part of your abdomen, or even to the groin. Very often urinating will be very painful for you or your urine will have a cloudy color and smell bad. If because of kidney stones you stopped urinating at all, go to your doctor immediately.

10 Common Causes of Pain under Left Rib Cage
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  1. I want to add one more cause of under Left Rib Cage pain. I believe about 50% of adults have some benign tumor or cyst on one or both of the kidneys. I had small benign kidney growths called angiomyolipomas diagnosed 20 years ago. I failed to do periodic ultrasounds to monitor growth. One became 2 inches and bled last week. It happened to be on my left kidney. I had no other symptoms but pain. Cysts can rupture too. The pain will lessen but not go away for weeks if you bleed from a kidney growth. If your pain doesn’t move around and go away pretty quickly and is very localized go to an ER. You can bleed to death from an angiomyolipoma that hemorrhages. If the type of pain is unusual, the cause of it is probably unusual too.

    1. I have bad pain on MY left rib cage that goes around to my back . I’m prone to kidney stones but not sure what this could be feels different. I ate red meat thought that could be it since I also have endometriosis. I had coffee and I’m hurting?

    1. I was diagnosed many years ago with Splenic Flexure Syndrome. It is an accumulation of gas or stool at the top left curve of your large intestine. It hurts to press on the lowest left rib area. Otherwise painless. It is always with me but severity increases and decreases with time.

  2. Hi my name is Brandy I’m having pain under my left rib cage it hurts after eating full meal I can’t lay on my left side the pressure hurts it also radiates around to my back first it was coming and going now its constant.

    1. I am having the same symptoms, worse after I eat. The pain radiates so I feel it in my back under my left shoulder blade. Did yours go away or did you find out what was causing it?

    2. I get same same; it feel as if the tip of a sharp knife.
      I had Xrays and scan and the doctors found nothing – but the pain occurs at least one a week for a few seconds.

  3. It feels like a water balloon with an air bubble when I poke on my left side under rib cage!! Feels full I Guess!! Have had this on and off for a few years!!.. anyone know what’s up

  4. I first started about 6 months ago I had five hernias removed and Nash implant then I got five bleeding ulcers which I had to go in and receive blood because I was down to five units now I am still having some stomach pain and my stool is white and very I’m very dizzy can you please tell me what the cause could be

  5. Hi iam dorcas I have been feeling pain in the left side of the ribs for along time but on and off also feel like my muscles are tightened inwards what can be the problem.

    1. Hi, did you ever find out what your issue is? I have the same problem. I would surely appreciate a response. Thx

  6. Hi I’m having pain left size under rib cage when I breath it hurts I thought it might be gas pain I don’t know also feeling very bloated any suggestions

  7. I started having sharp pins under my left rib cage just occasionally at first. Now it’s a constant pain that never goes away. It doesn’t hurt more after I eat but I really have no appetite cause of the pain. I have to sleep on my right side or should I say lay because I barely sleep. I have had blood work, urinalysis, sonogram. ct and mri both with contrast. My pcp doesn’t have a diagnosis and if I go to the er they act like I’m making it up to get pain meds. I’m not like that but it gets so painful and I can’t see the dr right away so I go only to be treated like a druggy. I’m so tir s of tests and needles and drs that I’m at my wits end. My pain is just in the ribs and not my back or down my side. Someone please let me know that I am not alone and there is help cause I’m starting to lose hope. Thanks for reading this….

  8. I have been dealing with pain below my bottom left rib for years now. It doesn’t always hurt, but is mostly affected when I am sitting for long periods of time. It feels hot to the touch and a mix between a burning and muscular pain. Anyone experience this? Doctors have no idea what it is.

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