Causes of upper left side abdominal pain

Updated April 17, 2017

Having upper left abdominal pain can become problematic. Sometimes the condition is ignored by people with little medical knowledge, marking it as just a passing phase. However, abdominal pain can be an indication of a serious illness. If left untreated, the pain will grow worse and ultimately lead to death. By keeping yourself well informed, you can find the common causes for upper left abdominal pain, as well as preventive measures to keep this from happening.


If the pain originates on the upper abdominal area, right below your lungs, it could be a sign of pneumonia. The pain caused by pneumonia will not originate from your lungs themselves, but what is located below them, which is the thoracic diaphragm. Other types can be pleurisy, an accumulation of fluid in the covering of the lungs (pleuria), and gastritis, which is a stomach ulcer. These three are the most common, though uncommon ones can come in the form of conditions like herpes. Also, a non-disease-related cause could signify a physical injury in the upper left abdominal area.


Acute pain will occur with pneumonia, pleurisy and gastritis. A feeling of tenderness typically follows. If conditions persist, shortness of breath may occur, as well as fever or nausea. In extreme cases, and if left untreated, any of these conditions can lead to death.

Prevention and Solution

Getting vaccinated with a pneumoncoccal vaccine will help in avoiding pneumonia, while eating simply and not skipping meals will help in preventing gastritis. The only condition out of the three with no preventive measures is pleurisy, which can be treated with a procedure called thoracenthesis, in which a needle is inserted into the pleura to drain the fluid.


Pneumonia and pleurisy are caused by bacterial infection. Antibiotics are prescribed, but extreme cases require hospitalisation, especially in the later stages, when people begin coughing up blood. Gastritis can occur any time a series of meals is skipped over a period of at least three days. Keeping a scheduled meal plan will prevent gastritis.


Pneumonia, pleurisy and gastritis occur all over the world, from first world developed nations to third world countries, affecting all races and ages, but they are especially prominent among the elderly.

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About the Author

Zeus Tyrone Mendoza is an award-winning and accomplished freelance writer from California. Mendoza has contributed works published in "Kerygma" magazine, "Philippine Star Newspaper," and the monthly newsletter for the world renowned GK Community Development Foundation. Mendoza holds a B.A. in English creative writing from California State University, Northridge.