Pain in the left flank

pain in the left flank is common, especially in women and the elderly; the pain may radiate to the back and be accompanied by bloating.
If pain occurs in the left abdominal region, various structures may be responsible, such as the left kidney, ureter, stomach, descending colon, sigmoid colon, left side of the bladder, part of the abdominal aorta and the left part of the peritoneum.In women, there are also the left ovary, fallopian tubes and part of the uterus.


Causes of left flank pain

Pain in the left upper abdomen can be provoked by various causes.
Sometimes the causes can not be localized exactly, the pain can occur away from the pain-inducing organ.

Below are the most common triggers for pain in the upper left abdomen.
1. Causes that arise in the chest area are caused by heart and/or respiratory disorders.
2. Causes located in the abdominal region are aortic tear, disorders or abnormalities of the spleen, stomach ulcer, kidney disease, intestinal diseases, problems of the pancreas, spasm of the diaphragm or peritonitis.
3. Organic causes also include: diabetic ketoacidosis, blood poisoning, hypercalcemia, Schönlein-Henoch purpura and porphyria.

The above diseases can not be cured with home remedies; here it is necessary to visit the doctor, who will prescribe the necessary examinations and therapeutic measures.

Common causes of left abdominal pain
Since there are numerous organs in the left-sided abdomen, there are many diseases and injuries that can cause pain in this region.
Here is some information about the most common causes:

Acute pancreatitis means inflammation of the pancreas (pancreas), which is mainly caused by excessive alcohol consumption.
Also, taking certain medications and trauma can provoke pancreatitis. Typical symptoms are abdominal pain, vomitingdiarrhoea, fever and nausea.

Splenomegaly. Pain in the left abdominal region may indicate splenomegaly, which is the medical term for an enlarged spleen.
Infections caused by viruses, bacteria and parasites are common causes, but leukemia and cirrhosis of the liver can also be responsible for the enlargement of the spleen.

Gastroenteritis is another common cause of left-sided abdominal pain. This gastrointestinal inflammation is also known as gastrointestinal flu or vomiting diarrhea and is caused by a viral or bacterial infection.
The pathogens are usually ingested through food or water.
In addition to abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, dehydration, diarrhea and loss of appetite occur.

Gastroesophageal reflux causes heartburn or discomfort after eating, especially when lying down or bending forward.
You can wake up at night from chest pain, the symptoms sometimes resemble those of a heart attack.

Irritable bowel syndrome hits the lower digestive tract and provokes intestinal pain.
It can manifest itself by severe attacks of diarrhea or constipation and affects people of all ages, but increasingly girls and young women.

Pyelonephritis is an inflammation of the kidneys caused by a bacterial infection.
The abdominal pain is accompanied by fever, chills and vomiting.
Kidney inflammation is not to be confused with kidney stones, because they differ in cause and treatment.

Pneumonia is also a common cause of abdominal pain; it is caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi.
The swelling occurs in the lower, left lung region and causes pain and difficulty breathing.
Other typical symptoms include chest pain, fever, chills and cough.

polycystic kidney, in which painful kidney cysts form, can provoke serious abdominal pain.
As a result, serious health problems can occur, such as high blood pressure and renal insufficiency.

Food poisoning is triggered by the consumption of contaminated food or beverages. Within 48 hours of admission, abdominal pain occurs.
Symptoms include vomiting, nausea and fever.

flatulence. The excessive accumulation of gases in the colon or stomach can cause abdominal pain and discomfort. Concomitant symptoms are cramps and bloating of the abdomen.
When the intestinal gases leave, the pain subsides.

Organs that provoke left-sided abdominal pain


The stomach is a hollow organ located between the lower end of the esophagus and the initial section of the small intestine, the duodenum. He can be affected by various diseases, which are often related to the stomach acid formed there.

Stomach diseases that can provoke left-sided abdominal pain include:

The spleen is the largest lymph node of the body, it filters the blood and eliminates cell residues and foreign microorganisms.
Although the spleen can be removed without life-threatening consequences, it still performs important functions in the human body.
Diseases of the spleen that can cause pain in the left abdominal region:

  • Splenic infarction
  • Splenic rupture, common as a result of traffic accidents
  • Enlargement of the spleen (splenomegaly)

Diaphragm The diaphragm
is the most important respiratory muscle and separates the chest and abdominal cavities from each other.
When inhaled, it pushes down the abdominal contents and the chest cavity expands.
On the left side is the esophageal slit, which allows the connection of the esophagus to the stomach.
Diseases of the diaphragm include the subphrenic abscess, an accumulation of pus under the diaphragm.
The diaphragm can contract or shorten and exert tension on the abdominal organs, for example on the stomach and liver.
In this case, digestive problems and discomfort may occur.

Diseases of the male reproductive organs

  1. Testicular diseases
  2. Gonorrhea (gonorrhea))

Female reproductive problems
Gynecological problems are a common cause of left lower abdominal pain in women, especially if it is related to ovulation and menstruation.
Pregnancy can cause pain due to the stretching of the uterus and from uterine contractions.
The causes of left-sided abdominal pain in women are:
ovulation (Mittelschmerz) Gonorrhea) Bursting of an ovarian cyst
Ectopic pregnancy (extrauterine gravidity)

Inflammation of the organs in the small pelvis
Polycystic ovary syndrome
Uterine fibroids

Blood vessels in the abdominal cavity In the abdominal cavity run a piece of the abdominal
aorta (aorta abdominalis) and the inferior vena cava (inferior vena cava), which carry the blood to and from the heart.
Possible diseases are:

  • Aneurysm of the abdominal aorta
  • Arteriosclerosis or embolism of the mesenteric arteries
  • Hereditary angioedema
  • Purpura Schönlein-Henoch

Blood diseases

  • Porphyria
  • Sickle-cell anemia

Most skin diseases cause itching; Pain, on the other hand, can be caused by the following diseases:

  • Shingles (herpes zoster)
  • Dermatitis, exacerbated by infection or abscess formation.

Left upper abdominal pain after eating

Heartburn After meals, heartburn can be a possible cause of pain, blame here is the stomach acid.

Foods with a high acidity, such as tomatoes or Mexican food, can cause heartburn. The symptoms can be alleviated by abstaining from these foods or taking a stomach acid neutralizing agent (antacid).

Stomach ulcer
A peptic ulcer is a violation of the gastric mucosa; typical is a burning pain, especially between meals.
Belching, vomiting and fatigue are other symptoms. Among the complications of a peptic ulcer is perforation of the stomach wall, because the contents of the stomach can get into the abdominal cavity.

Diverticulosis and diverticulitis
In the so-called diverticulosis, pain can arise in the lower abdominal region, which is caused by stomach cramps. Diverticulitis is present when the bulges (diverticula) of the colon become inflamed, perforation is possible; the pain occurs exactly at the affected area of the intestine.

Stomach cancer An unusual feeling of fullness after eating may indicate stomach cancer. The pain can occur anywhere in the stomach and also migrate.
Excessive belching and flatulence are further indications of this serious disease. Persistent or unexplained stomach pain should be evaluated by a doctor to rule out a serious cause.

Left abdominal pain when running or walking fast

Severe pain or stitches on the left side of the abdomen, just below the ribs, are often noticeable in runners.

Side stitches are common, but the exact cause has not yet been scientifically proven.
According to a study conducted by D.P. Morton, the most conclusive explanations are “diaphragmatic ischemia” and “visceral ligament stress.”
That is, the side stitches probably occur because the blood supply to the diaphragm (large muscle between the lungs and stomach) is reduced when running. In addition, the repeated rotational tension of the upper body stresses the smooth muscles of the internal organs.

The left-sided side stitches can be so intense that the runner is forced to interrupt the run.
Experienced runners report that pain relief can be achieved by applying direct pressure to the affected area without having to stop completely; by temporarily reducing the speed and pressing the hands firmly on the pain site, the pain can immediately subside and the run can thus be continued.

Treatment of left-sided abdominal pain

Since the pain in the left abdomen may have serious underlying causes, a doctor or the emergency room should first be consulted.
The doctor will palpate the site and determine the exact location and intensity of the pain.
In acute pain, image diagnostics can be used to examine the stomach and intestines for tumors and occlusions.
If there is diverticulitis, the doctor prescribes liquid food and antibiotics, the patient must remain in the hospital for a few days for observation.
Ulcers are usually treated with medication or by changing diet, but in severe cases surgery is required.
If cysts or tumors are discovered on the ovaries or fallopian tubes, a biopsy is usually performed to rule out cancer.
In some cases, the uterus must be removed (hysterectomy) if the tumor threatens life.

Natural remedies

Useful tips to relieve the pain:
1. Place a hot water bottle or a low-set heating pad on the painful area.
2. Relax – with a comfortable posture.
3. Take over-the-counter painkillers that do not have an irritating effect on the stomach.
4. Refrain from restrictive garments.
5. Avoid heavy physical exertion.
6. Only eat what is painless.

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