Pain Under Left Rib Cage
The rib cage, also known as the thoracic cage, is one of the core and most delicate parts of the human skeletal system. 24 bony structures called ribs, costal cartilages, 12 thoracic vertebrae and the breast bone, all are parts that consist of the chest. A part of the human respiratory system, this bony and cartilaginous structure surrounds the thoracic cavity, which contains the lungs. It is a vital part of the human body and any pain in this area can be of serious issue, as it may indicate some serious medical condition or injury.
Factors for Discomfort Under the Left Rib
Injured/cracked or Fractured Rib.
- Cracked or fractured rib caused by accidents or severe blow/impact in that area, is one of the major reasons for pain under the left rib cage.
- It causes excruciating pain that worsens with deep breathing.
- Such a serious injury needs immediate medical intervention.
- If you are experiencing such pain, it is always a good idea to get an x-ray done to determine the state.
Treatment: If identified with a serious cracked or broken rib, it is a good idea to speak with a doctor instantly and get a surgical treatment scheduled. You must also get a CT or MRI scan done to rule out any nerve damage. If the crack is minor, it usually heals on its own in a month or two. You can use pain killers to relieve the pain. In any case, it is necessary to consult your doctor first.
- Hemorrhoids: It is a condition characterized by inflamed veins in the anal region.
- Hemorrhoids or piles can be internal or external, and can be painful.
- Hiatal Hernia: It happens when a part of stomach protrudes upwards through the diaphragm.
- It is commonly observed in older people.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): It is defined by a wide variety of symptoms like abdominal pain, abdominal cramps, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, etc.
- Indigestion: Also known as dyspepsia, it is a condition caused due to difficulty in digesting food.
- It is a symptom of a number of other diseases.
- Inguinal Hernia: It takes place when a part of the stomach cavity protrudes through the inguinal canal.
- It causes a bulge in the area which can be painful.
- Jaundice: It is caused due to excessive building up of bilirubin in blood.
- It is quickly identified as the skin turns visibly yellowish.
- Liver Abscesses: It is formation of pus in the liver.
- It can be a potentially life-threatening condition.
- Liver Cirrhosis: It is caused when healthy tissues of the liver are replaced by scar tissues.
- Scarring is a gradual non-reversible condition.
- Liver Cancer: It is cancer that originates in the liver or spreads from other parts to the liver.
- It is also known as hepatic cancer.
Liver Failure: Liver failure, or hepatic failure, is the damage of liver caused due to hepatitis, cirrhosis, use of certain drugs and medication, etc. It can be severe or chronic.
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- Meckel's Diverticulum: This is a hereditary abnormality.
- It is a small bulge at the lower portion of the small intestine.
- It can lead to symptoms like abdominal pain, gastrointestinal bleeding, etc
Treatment: In case of a mild costochondritis, non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or aspirin can help. If the condition in chronic or extreme, then opioid drugs like hydrocodone or oxycodone, or antidepressant medication like amitriptyline, might be used. It is suggested to take plentiful of rest and restrain from any difficult activity while recovering from this condition.
Heartburn or Acid Reflux
Another common but less severe cause of pain under the left rib cage is heartburn or acid reflux. It is often caused when you take in excessive acidic food or drinks. It often gives a bloated sensation and a sharp pain that feels like chest ache.
- Treatment: This condition can be dealt with by medications like Lansoprazole, Esomeprazole or Dexlansoprazole.
- It is also wise to avoid food that causes heartburn or heartburn.
Sometimes, pain under the left rib cage might be caused due to tear or rupture of the spleen. Pain in the extreme ends of the shoulders may also be a sign of spleen rupture.
- Treatment: It is very important to seek advice from a doctor if you experience such symptoms.
- Medication may help in the condition, but if left untreated for long, it might need surgical intervention.
Gas in the Colon
Also called the splenic flexure syndrome, it is another reason for pain under the left rib cage. Excessive gas gets caught in the colon and it causes pain and discomfort.
- Treatment: Avoiding food that causes indigestion is suggested.
- You can also try leaning on the back of a chair to get rid of the trapped gases.
- Antacid tablets, along with dietary changes, will help in the condition.
Pneumothorax is a condition where the lung ruptures due to a tear in the lung membrane, and air leaks out and fills the cavity between the lungs and the rib cage.
- Treatment: This condition requires immediate medical intervention.
- Usually, surgery is the only option.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome is a common cause of discomfort under the left rib cage. It is caused by overeating or lack of fiber-rich foods, and enough water in the diet. In this condition, the digestive organs are affected as they are not able to produce digestive enzymes that assist in the breaking down of food into basic substances. It disrupts the typical bowel movement by causing constipation or diarrhea. Other signs of this condition are bloating and cramps in the intestinal tract.
So, we see that pain under the left rib cage can be caused due to various factors, from gastric problems to inflammation of cartilage or other serious medical conditions. Depending on the cause, the treatment will vary. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you need to consult a doctor immediately. A timely diagnosis will help you to exact the cause, get effective treatment and avoid future complications.
Treatment: Antibiotics prescribed by a physician can heal the ulcer and help to get relieved of the signs.
Constipation and Indigestion
Constipation is characterized by hardening of stools. As a result, more pressure and effort needs to be put in, to pass stools. It leads to irritating pain in the stomach, more so under the rib cage. Indigestion is also another common reason for the pain. A pain that starts suddenly can be linked to indigestion. It is usually preceded by constant burping.
- Treatment: Proper diet and preventing food that causes indigestion and constipation would help in relieving the pain.
- High fiber diet is recommended if you are suffering from constipation.
Kidney stones can come from either of the kidneys and cause pain in them. Discomfort in the left one signifies stone in the left kidney. The pain generally starts from the back and spreads to the front.
This is Not an Exhaustive List).
Appendicitis: It is the swelling of the appendix. It is a serious condition, which needs immediate surgical removal of the appendix.
- Alcoholic Liver Disease: As the name suggests, it is caused due to excess consumption of alcohol.
- The different types of alcoholic liver disease are alcoholic cirrhosis, alcoholic fatty liver disease, and alcoholic hepatitis.
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- Treatment: Taking antacids and other drugs to reduce stomach acid can be of help.
- Avoiding hot and spicy food is a must.
Diverticulitis is characterized by small, bulging sacs or pouches of the inner lining of the intestine (diverticulosis) that end up being infected. It generally affects elderly people, about the age of 60. People dealing with it experience bloating, constipation and pain under the lower rib cage.
There are certain parasite such as protozoa which often leads to Diarrhoea. There is typically a loss of sodium and chloride loss which results in diarrhoea. The diarrhea leads to infection in the body. Some parasites also have the tendency to thrive in the upper small intestine which also leads to gas and bloating. The problem becomes more acute when things which are difficult o digest are being taken. This kind of acute gastrointestinal problems can sometime occur for numerous months.
- Cholestasis: It occurs due to improper bile formation or bile flow.
- Causes include alcoholic liver disease, pancreatitis, cancer of pancreas, hepatitis, etc
- Cystic Fibrosis: It is a genetic disorder, affecting the digestive system and lungs.
- When suffering from this disease, the mucus ends up being thick and can block airways, tubes, and ducts.
Colitis: It is the Swelling of the Colon. It can be Acute or Chronic.
Irregularity: It is a condition where a person has a difficulty in passing stools as they are hard and dry. Constipation is also characterized by passing stools less than three times a week.
- Gastric Cancer (Stomach cancer): As the name suggests, it occurs when malignant cells grow in the stomach.
- It is difficult to identify at an early stage as its symptoms are similar to other digestive system diseases.
To be assured of its symptoms, it takes place in a different way with the different personalities. It depends from person to person. It can negatively be a lifelong condition causing some people to lose their potential of working, travelling, performing any social work and involving in any other activates. Nevertheless, its primary symptoms are the fullness, gas, blotting and abdominal pain etc. that will go for three days or several months. The people suffering from IBS can alternatively switch to diarrhea and irregularities.
People, suffering from diarrhea, face frequent loose, watery stools and one who suffers from constipation will have a hard time passing stool, as well as less defecation. They can not release any stool or only a small amount. On the assessment of your doctor for the treatment of IBS, the physicians may check on the basis of the signs you describe to him or the pathological test or no test. Specifically there is no any particular test for checking the IBS and ultimately if doctor ask you for blood test, it is nothing but only to make it clear if you have celiac disease or a low blood count (anemia) or stool test to be ensured about the infections.
Joshua is a content marketer at fphrw.org, a blog on health solutions. In the past, Joshua worked as a manager at a media web site. When he's not researching health articles, Joshua loves cycling and LARPing.