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 make up 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 smart to get an x-ray done to determine the state.
- Treatment: If identified with a serious cracked or broken rib, it is advisable to consult 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 defined by swollen 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 extends 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 referred to as dyspepsia, it is a condition caused due to problem in digesting food.
- It is a sign of a number of other diseases.
- Inguinal Hernia: It occurs when a part of the abdominal cavity protrudes through the inguinal canal.
- It causes a bulge in the region 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 development of pus in the liver.
- It can be a potentially dangerous condition.
- Liver Cirrhosis: It is caused when healthy tissues of the liver are replaced by scar tissues.
- Scarring is a steady 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.
- Meckel's Diverticulum: This is a hereditary abnormality.
- It is a small bulge at the lower part of the small intestine.
- It can lead to symptoms like abdominal pain, gastrointestinal bleeding, etc
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Treatment: In case of a moderate costochondritis, non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or aspirin can help. If the condition in chronic or serious, then opioid drugs like hydrocodone or oxycodone, or antidepressant medication like amitriptyline, might be used. It is a good idea 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 consume too much acidic food or drinks. It often gives a bloated sensation and a sharp pain that seems like chest pains.
- Treatment: This condition can be dealt with by medications like Lansoprazole, Esomeprazole or Dexlansoprazole.
- It is also a good idea to avoid food that causes heartburn or acid reflux.
Sometimes, pain under the left rib cage may be caused due to tear or rupture of the spleen. Discomfort in the extreme ends of the shoulders may also be a sign of spleen rupture.
- Treatment: It is necessary to seek advice from a doctor if you experience such signs.
- Medication may help in the condition, but if left untreated for long, it might need surgical intervention.
Gas in the Colon
Also known as the splenic flexure syndrome, it is another cause of pain under the left rib cage. Extreme gas gets caught in the colon and it causes pain and discomfort.
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- 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, together 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 needs immediate medical intervention.
- Usually, surgery is the only option.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome is a common cause of pain under the left rib cage. It is caused by overeating or absence of fiber-rich foods, and sufficient water in the diet. In this condition, the digestive organs are affected as they are not able to secrete digestive enzymes that help in the breaking down of food into easy compounds. It disrupts the regular bowel movement by causing constipation or diarrhea. Other signs of this condition are bloating and cramps in the intestine.
So, we see that pain under the left rib cage can be triggered due to various factors, from gastric problems to inflammation of cartilage or other major medical conditions. Depending on the cause, the treatment will differ. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you need to speak with a doctor immediately. A prompt diagnosis will help you to exact the cause, get effective treatment and prevent 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 identified by hardening of stools. As a result, more pressure and effort needs to be put in, to pass stools. It leads to annoying pain in the stomach, more so under the rib cage. Indigestion is also another common reason for the pain. A pain that starts unexpectedly can be linked to indigestion. It is usually preceded by constant burping.
- Treatment: Proper diet and avoiding food that causes indigestion and constipation would help in alleviating the discomfort.
- High fiber diet is recommended if you are suffering from constipation.
Kidney stones can come from either of the kidneys and cause discomfort in them. Pain in the left one symbolizes 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 inflammation of the appendix. It is a serious condition, which requires 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.
- 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 intestinal tract (diverticulosis) that become infected. It generally affects elderly people, about the age of 60. People experiencing it experience bloating, constipation and pain under the lower chest.
There are certain parasite such as protozoa which often leads to Diarrhoea. There is typically a loss of salt 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 issue becomes more acute when things which are difficult o digest are being taken. This kind of acute gastrointestinal problems can sometime occur for a number of months.
- Cholestasis: It happens due to improper bile formation or bile flow.
- Causes include alcoholic liver illness, 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 Intense or Chronic.
Constipation: It is a condition where a person has a difficulty in passing stools as they are hard and dry. Irregularity is also characterized by passing stools less than three times a week.
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- Stomach Cancer (Stomach cancer): As the name suggests, it occurs when cancerous 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 signs, it takes place in a different way with the various personalities. It depends from person to person. It can negatively be a lifelong condition causing some people to lose their potential of working, taking a trip, performing any social work and associating with any other activates. However, its primary symptoms are the fullness, gas, blotting and abdominal pain etc. that will go for 3 days or numerous 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 fewer bowel movements. They can not discharge any stool or only a small amount. On the consultation of your doctor for the treatment of IBS, the doctors may check on the basis of the symptoms you explain 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 just to make it clear if you have celiac disease or a low blood count (anemia) or stool test to be ensured about the infections.
Ralph is a post curator at jerseycheapwholesalechina.com, a blog about alternative health news. Last year, Ralph worked as a marketing manager for a well-known high tech company. When he's not scouting for new articles, Ralph loves scuba diving and rafting.