6 Causes of Pain Under Left Rib Cage and What to Do?

6 Causes of Pain Under the Left Rib Cage and What to Do
6 Causes of Pain Under the Left Rib Cage and What to Do

A stomach infection, stomach inflammation, or damage to any other organs on the left side of the body are the usual causes of pain under left rib cage (like the heart, spleen, pancreas, lung or left kidney). A less significant medical condition like costochondritis, gastritis, or kidney stones may be the cause of this pain.

Left-sided organ discomfort might come on suddenly and come with additional symptoms including nausea, vomiting, trouble breathing, or pain that gets worse when you move, cough, or sneeze.

This kind of pain may signal a respiratory problem or, in more extreme circumstances, a heart attack. As a result, it is advised that you seek medical assistance if your pain is really severe or persists for more than two days so that you may be evaluated and start the right therapy, if necessary.


The following are the most typical reasons for discomfort under the left rib cage:

1. Costochondritis

An infection of the cartilage that links the sternum to the ribs is known as costochondritis. The bone that supports the clavicles and rib cage is called the sternum, and it is situated in the center of the chest.

The cause of this inflammation may be an infection, a physical injury, or arthritis. A left-sided chest discomfort that feels like a heart attack, pressure beneath the ribs, pain that is restricted to one or more ribs, and pain that worsens with breathing or coughing are all possible symptoms.

Reduce your activity and take some time to rest. Any sore spots should be treated with a warm compress, and sports or activities that involve lifting heavy objects or other strenuous activity should be avoided. It is crucial to seek medical counsel, as they could suggest stretching and physiotherapy as well as anti-inflammatory drugs like naproxen. You should get medical assistance right away if you also have any shortness of breath, discomfort in your neck or arm, or any other symptoms that might indicate a heart attack.

2. Pericarditis

The pericardium, a sac filled with fluid that surrounds the heart, becomes inflamed when it develops pericarditis. Under the left rib cage discomfort might be brought on by an irritated pericardium. Laying down generally makes this ache worse.

Infections (such as pneumonia or TB), lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, radiation therapy in the thorax, or usage of drugs like phenytoin, hydralazine, or phenylbutazone can all cause pericarditis.

What to do: Consult a cardiologist if you experience any symptoms that could point to pericarditis. Pain and inflammation can be reduced with the aid of drugs like corticosteroids, colchicine, and anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. Antibiotics like ciprofloxacin and amoxicillin can also be used to treat pericarditis brought on by an infection. In more severe situations, surgery may be required, such as a pericardiocentesis (to remove extra fluid) or a pericardiectomy (to remove the sac or a piece of it).

3. Pancreatitis

An inflammation of the pancreas, an organ beneath the stomach that makes hormones including insulin, glucagon, and somatostatin as well as digestive enzymes, causes pancreatitis. An excruciating pain that radiates to the back might be brought on by an inflammation under the left rib cage. Pancreatitis also causes nausea, vomiting, and fever.

Excessive alcohol use is typically the leading factor in pancreatitis, although other factors include viral infections (such as measles or mumps), gallstones, cystic fibrosis, and the use of certain drugs (like liraglutide, losartan, or corticosteroids).

What to do: Visit a general practitioner or gastroenterologist who may advise hospital admission for IV hydration therapy and analgesic medicines. In more severe circumstances, surgery can be required. Dietary adjustments, such as cutting less on fatty meals, can lower the incidence of pancreatitis flare-ups. Your doctor can also suggest taking supplements like oral enzymes.

4. Pleurisy

The inflammation of the pleura, the membrane that surrounds your lungs, causes pleurisy, also known as pleuritis. Pain under the left rib cage may result from this inflammation, and it gets worse when you breathe, cough, or sneeze. Breathing issues, fever, and shortness of breath are further symptoms.

Lung cancer, a pulmonary embolism, or any one of these infections can result in plerisy.

What to do: For treatment, consult a pulmonologist or general physician. Anti-inflammatories to reduce swelling (such as ibuprofen or naproxen), antibiotics to treat pneumonia, or anticoagulants to treat a pulmonary embolism may be used as part of this therapy. To aid with breathing, the doctor may also recommend bronchodilators.

5. Kidney stones

Calcium and salt deposits that solidify and form stone-like lumps in the kidneys are known as kidney stones. Urinary flow may get obstructed as a consequence, which may cause severe back discomfort that radiates to the front and up into the ribs on the affected side.

Other symptoms may also appear, including blood in the urine, nausea, vomiting, a temperature of above 38oC (100.4oF), and burning while urinating. Although they can affect women and children, kidney stones are more frequent in adult males. Low fluid intake is one of the key contributors of kidney stones.

What to do: Go to a hospital and get aid, since IV analgesics can help to rapidly ease pain. In other circumstances, the physician can decide to undertake a technique like lithotripsy, ureteroscopy, or nephrolithotomy to remove or break up any kidney stones that are obstructing the urinary tract. Increase your fluid intake to promote frequent urination because doing so will aid in preventing kidney stone development.

6. Gastritis

Gastritis can produce severe discomfort under the left rib cage and is an inflammation of the stomach’s lining. A burning sensation in the oesophagus, nausea, sluggish digestion or a feeling of fullness, and frequent burping are further signs of gastritis.

Alcohol consumption that is too much, H. pylori infection, or drugs that irritate the stomach lining can all contribute to this inflammation.

Maintain a general light diet of cooked fruits, fresh vegetables, and lean meats with few spices or sauces. Drink plenty of water and stay away from anything that can irritate your stomach’s lining, such as coffee, chocolate, alcohol, and other carbonated drinks. You should also speak with a gastroenterologist, who can suggest an endoscopy to confirm a diagnosis of gastritis. If H. pylori is found, treatment options may include prescriptions for stomach protectors (such as omeprazole, lansoprazole, or pantoprazole) or antibiotics.



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