Upper left abdominal pain

Pain present in the upper left side of the abdomen is also referred to as upper left quadrant pain. This can be an indication that something is wrong with the vital organs and structures which are situated there. This area is composed of the end of the pancreas, left part of the liver, aorta, skin, spleen, left side of the kidneys, lower ribs, a portion of the bowel, part of the ureter, part of the left lung, part of the stomach, left adrenal gland and muscles. The heart is situated just over the upper left quadrant as well. Therefore, discomfort in the upper left quadrant could be because of any discrepancy or condition which occurs in any of these structures. Given below are a few causes.

The following are several causes of upper left quadrant pain in the abdomen.

Splenomegaly – Enlargement of the spleen or otherwise known as splenomegaly can result to pain in the upper left quadrant. Usually, the size of the spleen bears a resemblance to that of a fist. Yet, because of some infections or a liver disease or malignancy, the spleen can increase in its size. Hence, symptoms such as fatigue, full stomach, anemia and easy bleeding can be produced aside from the pain in the upper left quadrant.

Viral Gastroenteritis – Stomach flu or viral gastroenteritis is another cause of left upper quadrant pain. This condition takes place when a person consumes contaminated food and water. Also, this can occur when an individual comes in contact with a person who is already suffering from this condition.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome – This is a disorder of the colon or large intestine. Even if this will not result to any damage to the colon, this can produce symptoms like constipation, pain in the upper left quadrant, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, gas and bloating.

Acute Pancreatitis – Pancreatitis which results from alcohol abuse or gallstones can cause upper left quadrant pain. This is accompanied with other acute symptoms like irritability, chills, rapid heartbeat, headaches, swelling of the abdomen, low blood pressure, fever, fatigue and nausea.

Polycystic Kidney Disease – This is a condition wherein several cysts will develop in the kidneys. Such condition can cause serious conditions like renal kidney failure and high blood pressure. Aside from the upper left quadrant pain, the indications of polycystic kidney disease are kidney stones, blood in urine, increase in urination, enlarged abdomen, kidney infections and headaches.

Aortic Aneurysm – The aorta is the largest artery of the body that supplies blood from the heart to the abdomen, chest and then to the legs. Aortic aneurysm is the abnormal protrusion of the wall of the aorta. If this condition occurs in the wall close to the abdomen, it will result to severe pain in the upper left quadrant.

Pneumonia – This is a lung infection due to bacteria, fungus or virus. Pneumonia can result to swelling of the left lower area of the lungs producing pain in the upper left quadrant. Other indications of pneumonia are chills, sometimes pain in the chest, high fever and cough with yellow or brown sputum.

Abdominal pain in the upper left side can also be felt due to conditions like infection in the left ribs called Tietze syndrome and shingles in the skin over the upper left abdomen.

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