Acute Middle Left Abdominal Pain: When to Call the Doctor?

by Rosemarie Hardison
middle left abdominal pain

Are you experiencing middle left abdominal pain? There are various factors that may be causing it. Depending on where you are feeling the pain, it could be gas, constipation, gallstones, or pancreatitis. Ignoring the pain in such a specific region is unwise.

Whether you’re experiencing mild pain, moments of pain, prolonged pain, or severe pain in your middle left abdomen, this guide will help you determine the appropriate next steps you should take before your symptoms worsen.

What Is on The Middle Left Side of Your Abdomen?

Here’s a simple exercise to understand the anatomy of your abdomen more easily. Visualize a Tic Tac Toe board on your abdomen. Each section contains different organs. A few large organs like the liver and colon, for instance, stretch partly into other blocks of the board.

anatomy of your abdomen

On your right, from top to bottom you have your liver, gallbladder, right kidney, small intestine, right colon, appendix, and cecum.

In the middle, from top to bottom, you have your stomach, duodenum, pancreas, spleen, adrenal glands, and a portion of your liver, the small intestine, and colon.

And on the left region, you have your left descending colon, left kidney, and a portion of your pancreas and spleen.

Should You Be Worried About Left Abdominal Pain?

Referring to the Tic Tac Toe board analogy, the abdomen is divided into nine even quadrants. Pain in the upper left quadrant of your abdomen is usually not serious and dissipates in a couple of days. It’s not something you should completely ignore, but it’s also nothing to be alarmed about. Pain in this region is quite common and can be treated with self-care remedies.

However, pain in the lower left quadrant of your abdomen may be an indication of something serious. If the pain is intense, it could be kidney stones, ovarian cysts (in women), colitis, and forms of ulcers or inflammation. Mild pain, on the other hand, may just be due to indigestion.

The middle left quadrant can be in pain from both the upper and lower quadrants because the organs of your digestive tract are connected.

5 Causes Of Middle Left Abdominal Pain

Pain in your middle left abdomen may be acute, which is short term, or chronic, which is long term. The pain may begin in one region and radiate to another with time.

Here is a list of all the possible causes of middle left abdominal pain.

1. Gastritis

Gastritis is a general term applied to conditions that cause ulcers or inflammation in the lining of the stomach. The pain is typically felt most intensely in the upper left quadrant of your stomach.

Depending on the seriousness of your condition, the pain may be acute or chronic. Gastritis may also be accompanied by additional symptoms like nausea or bleeding in the stool.

2. Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas, the organ responsible for producing a majority of digestive enzymes. It can cause sharp and radiating pain in the middle left part of your abdomen. Pancreatitis can develop suddenly and last anywhere from days to years depending on the underlying factors.

There are many causes for pancreatitis including gallstones, heavy alcohol use, and cancer. Pancreatic cancer tends to cause gradually increasing pain that is dull but chronic.

3. Kidney Diseases

Kidney diseases such as urinary tract infections, kidney stones, kidney cancer, and polycystic kidney disease may be the cause of pain in your middle left and lower abdomen. Pain from these conditions is often sharp and acute. Other symptoms may include a burning sensation when urinating or blood in your urine.

4. Cancer, Disease or Infection of Left Colon

Conditions that cause inflammation of the colon, or colitis, may also be responsible for the intense pain in your middle abdomen. Pain accompanied with symptoms like fever, diarrhea, changes in bowel, and blood or mucus in the stool are signs that your colon may be the culprit.

5. Cancer or Inflammation of Small Intestine

Inflammation of the small intestine can cause cramp-like pain, changes in bowel habits, loss of appetite, and severe irritation in the gut.

Symptoms Of Middle Left Abdominal Pain

There are several possible reasons that may cause middle left abdominal pain. Here are some of the additional symptoms to watch out for. It’s important to pay attention to what you’re experiencing so you can explain them to your medical care professional in case you ever need to visit.

#1. Changes in bowel habit

#2. Mucus or blood in stool or urine

#3. Pain with diarrhea

#4. Vomiting.

#5. Swelling or yellowing of the abdomen

#6. Tender abdomen

#7. Pain with fever

#8. Constipation that doesn’t go away with laxatives

Home Remedies for Middle Left Abdominal Pain

Here are some remedies you can try at home to alleviate your pain and discomfort:

#1. Use a heating pad or soak for a while in hot water.

#2. Use over-the-counter antacids if you’re experiencing a burning sensation in your stomach with the pain.

#3. Consuming probiotics like yogurt can help treat and prevent bowel infections, reduce inflammation, and boost immunity.

#4. Consume foods that are rich in dietary fiber like whole grains, beans, and lentils.

#5. Drink lots of water.

#6. Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol until your condition has improved.

When To Seek Medical Help

seek medical help

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, please make an appointment to see your healthcare provider as promptly as possible:

#1. Pain that lasts for more than a week.

#2. Significant pain.

#3. Pain that is accompanied by swelling or bloating that lasts for more than two days.

#4. Pain accompanied by diarrhea that lasts for more than 3 days.

#5. Pain accompanied with a high fever.

#6. Pain accompanied by a burning or painful sensation when urinating.

The following symptoms are the red flags you should watch out for to determine if you need emergency care. If you experience any of these symptoms, please call 911 or someone you know, to take you to the emergency room.

#1. Abdominal pain accompanied by vomiting blood

#2. Gastric pain

#3. Difficulty breathing

#4. Severe and sudden pain

#5. Yellowing skin

#6. Abdominal swelling

#7. Painful constipation

#8. Bleeding from the bowels

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