Pain present in the upper left side of the abdomen is also referred to as upper left quadrant pain. This can be an indication that something is wrong with the vital organs and structures which are situated there. This area is composed of the end of the pancreas, left part of the liver, aorta, skin, spleen, left side of the kidneys, lower ribs, for all, a portion of the bowel, part of the ureter, part of the left lung, part of the stomach, left adrenal gland and muscles.

The heart is situated just over the upper left quadrant as well. Therefore, discomfort in the upper left quadrant could be because of any discrepancy or condition which occurs in any of these structures. Given below are a few causes.

left quadrant pain

The following are several causes of upper left quadrant pain in the abdomen.

  • Splenomegaly –
Enlargement of the spleen or otherwise known as splenomegaly can result to pain in the upper left quadrant. Usually, the size of the spleen bears a resemblance to that of a fist. Yet, because of some infections or a liver disease or malignancy, the spleen can increase in its size like depo shot. Hence, symptoms such as fatigue, full stomach, anemia and easy bleeding can be produced aside from the pain in the upper left quadrant.

  • Viral Gastroenteritis –
Stomach flu or viral gastroenteritis is another cause of left upper quadrant pain. This condition takes place when a person consumes contaminated food and water. Also, this can occur when an individual comes in contact with a person who is already suffering from this condition. Read more on

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome –
This is a disorder of the colon or large intestine. Even if this will not result to any damage to the colon, this can produce symptoms like constipation, pain in the upper left quadrant, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, gas and bloating.

  • Acute Pancreatitis –
Pancreatitis which results from alcohol abuse or gallstones can cause upper left quadrant pain. This is accompanied with other acute symptoms like irritability, chills, rapid heartbeat, headaches, swelling of the abdomen, low blood pressure, fever, fatigue and nausea. Learn much more on

  • Polycystic Kidney Disease –
This is a condition wherein several cysts will develop in the kidneys. Such condition can cause serious conditions like renal kidney failure and high blood pressure. Aside from the upper left quadrant pain, the indications of polycystic kidney disease are kidney stones, blood in urine, increase in urination, enlarged abdomen, kidney infections and headaches.

  • Aortic Aneurysm –
The aorta is the largest artery of the body that supplies blood from the heart to the abdomen, chest and then to the legs, read much more on Aortic aneurysm is the abnormal protrusion of the wall of the aorta. If this condition occurs in the wall close to the abdomen, it will result to severe pain in the upper left quadrant.

  • Pneumonia –
This is a lung infection due to bacteria, fungus or virus. Pneumonia can result to swelling of the left lower area of the lungs producing pain in the upper left quadrant. Other indications of pneumonia are chills, sometimes pain in the chest, high fever and cough with yellow or brown sputum.

Abdominal pain in the upper left side can also be felt due to conditions like infection in the left ribs called Tietze syndrome and shingles in the skin over the upper left abdomen.

Upper stomach pain

There are lots of causes of pain in the abdomen and the symptoms of each will indicate the location where discomfort comes from. Usually, the pain felt in the upper abdomen is just under the rib cage and over the belly button. A few of the possible causes of severe pain in the upper abdomen include:

Appendicitis – This is a condition in which the appendix is full of pus and becomes inflamed. The pain can originate from the upper abdomen and will move to the lower right abdomen from the navel. In case pain will increase in intensity for more than 12 to 18 hours, it is presumed to be appendicitis.

Gallstones – These are hard crystallized stones of the digestive fluid which obstruct the gallbladder. These stones may be tiny as a small grain of sand or could be big as a tennis ball. Sudden and intense upper abdominal pain on the right side is one of the most frequent symptoms of gallstones. Such pain can intensify from the middle of the abdomen just underneath the breastbone.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) – This chronic digestive disease takes place when the bile or stomach acid will return its flow into the esophagus. As a result, there will be heartburn and irritation of the esophagus. Some of the symptoms of GERD include pain in the chest together with pain in the upper abdomen, sore throat, dry cough, trouble in swallowing and more.

Pancreatitis – This is term used to denote inflammation of the pancreas. Such condition will cause extreme pain in the upper abdomen. The pain will radiate to the back. This is also another cause of pain in the stomach after eating.

Peptic Ulcer – this is used to indicate the development of ulcer in the interior lining of the intestines, stomach and esophagus. The pain in the abdomen arises from the breastbone and moves down to the navel indicating peptic ulcer. Take note that pain will become worse when the stomach is empty particularly during nighttime.

Obstruction of the Intestine – Any impediment in the small intestines or colons will result to intestinal obstruction. Such obstacle can be because of hernias, tumors or tissue adhesion in the abdomen. The symptoms are abdominal distention, nausea, constipation, cramps in the upper abdomen, diarrhea and vomiting.

Angina – If blood flow to the heart muscles is reduced, this is referred to as angina. Chest pain in which the chest is squeezed and pressured is one of the most noticeable symptoms of this condition. Women are likely to have some various types of symptoms when compared to the classic symptoms of angina, If you’re looking forward to improving your breasts’ volume, there are quite a few options available. They will experience stabbing, pulsating and sharp pain in the chest. In addition, they will have nausea, pain in the upper abdomen and shortness of breath. Therefore, women who suffer from these symptoms together with sharp chest pain must seek the attention of a medical expert in order to check their heart health.

pulsating and sharp pain in the chest

Other reasons for presence of pain in the upper abdomen include pyloric stenosis among infants, cholangitis, hepatitis, cholecystitis, pericarditis, duodenitis and more. Examination by a doctor may be necessary in case the pain will not subside within 48 hours.