Left Side Pain: Diagnosing and Treating

Left Side Pain: Diagnosing and Treating


When to Seek Medical Attention

Left side pain is a complaint that can be indicative of numerous injuries or disorders. In general, any pain that exists on the size of the torso between the armpit and hip bone is classed as side pain. Some sources of pain may be serious or even life-threatening while others are insignificant. Because numerous potential problems may cause pain in the side of the abdomen, it is necessary to seek medical attention for the pain that is severe or will not go away. 

Digestive System Issues

Pain in the left side of the abdomen can be an indicator of problems in many parts of the abdomen. In many cases, left side pain is caused by a disorder of the digestive system. Patients may be suffering from a simple case of gas or a chronic condition like diverticulitis or irritable bowel syndrome. Renal problems affecting the left kidney, colitis, pancreatitis, and indigestion can also cause patients to feel pain in the left side of their abdomen.

Reproductive System Issues

In addition to digestive problems, female patients may also experience left side pain as the result of problems in the reproductive system. A condition known as endometriosis can cause chronic pain anywhere in the abdomen. Women who develop an ectopic pregnancy in the left fallopian tube may also feel the pain that radiates to the upper left side of the abdomen.

Diagnosing Left Side Pain

Doctors may utilize various methods in determining the source of pain in the left side. Because the abdomen is such a large cavity, numerous organs can be responsible for pain. The first step in reaching a diagnosis is generally a complete physical examination. The doctor will also ask questions regarding where exactly the pain seems to originate, what it feels like, and anything that seems to make it better or worse. In many cases, additional testing is necessary to pinpoint the exact cause. Ultrasounds are commonly used to examine the internal organs when searching for a potential cause of pain.

Treatment Options

In many cases, left side pain does not lead to major complications if it is addressed right away. Untreated pain may allow a disease to worsen or spread. Many sources of pain can be managed through prescription medications, but sometimes surgical intervention is necessary. Some problems, such as cancer, may not be treatable. The prognosis for left side pain can vary greatly depending upon the exact cause. Seeking prompt medical attention is the only way to ensure the best possible prognosis.

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