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Pain in the upper left abdomen

Abdomen is a part of the body where many organs are situated. Therefore, when pain in the abdomen occurs, it indicates that some of these organs or structures are affected by some disorder or disease. Upper left abdominal pain is also called upper left quadrant abdominal pain. In this part of the abdomen several organs such as the spleen, tail end of the pancreas, left kidney, left lower ribs and part of the intestines and stomach are located.

Causes of upper left abdominal pain

  • One of the causes for the appearance of the severe pain in the upper left abdomen is kidney stones, particularly when the stone is in the upper part of the left ureter. Ureters are tubes that connect the kidneys with the bladder. Another cause for upper left abdominal pain is pyelonephritis, which is the medical term for the kidney infection.
  • Pancreatitis or the inflammation of the pancreas is also responsible for the pain in the upper left abdomen. Since the tail of the pancreas is found in the upper left abdomen, therefore, when the inflammation affects the tail of the pancreas, then the pain in the upper left abdomen occurs. Pancreatitis is usually caused due to excessive consumption of alcohol.
  • When one suffers from pancreatic cancer, the pain in the upper left abdomen may occur along with some other symptoms, such as jaundice, weight loss, pale stool and loss of appetite.
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm is the condition when the aorta being distended ruptures and starts to leak. When one suffers from leaking or ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm, the pain in the central abdomen easily spreads to the left abdominal area. This pain is accompanied by sudden drop in the blood pressure and the person collapses.
  • When the cancer affects the left side of the bowel, the pain in this region occurs.
  • Furthermore, food poisoning can also lead to the appearance of pain in the upper left abdomen. The person who got poisoned may also experience nausea, vomiting and fever.
  • The inflammation of the lower part of the left lung or lower left pneumonia is also responsible for the upper left abdominal pain. Other symptoms of this lung disease include cough, fever and yellowish or brown sputum or mucus.

Other medical conditions that are potential causes for the pain in the upper left abdomen are gastric volvulus, Henoch-Schönlein-purpura, transverse colon volvulus and trapped wind, as well as skin disorders in this area.

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