Pain on Left Side of Body | Why Does My Left Side Hurt?

pain left side man holding Pain on Left Side of Body | Why Does My Left Side Hurt | Featured

Are you feeling pain on the left side of your body? Is it disrupting your daily life? Let's talk about the possible suspects and what you can do about them.

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What You Need to Know About Pain on Left Side of Body?

cropped black woman pain holding her | pain on left side of body

Organs on Left Side of Body

human body internal organs schema flat | pain on left side of body

Knowing your anatomy can help you pinpoint the prime suspects of your pain.


From your head to your toes, here are the organs on the left side of your body:

  1. lungs (left)
  2. heart
  3. adrenal glands
  4. spleen
  5. kidneys (left)
  6. stomach
  7. pancreas
  8. liver (left)
  9. ovaries (left)
  10. fallopian tubes (left)
  11. testis (left)

If anything goes wrong with these organs, you might feel anything between dull and sharp pain. The pain may even come and go or feel worse at certain times of the day.

But before you diagnose yourself with the worst diseases you might have read online, let's go over what might have gone wrong.

Why Does My Left Side Hurt?

1. Pleurisy

handsome mature man having heart attack | why does my left side hurt

The walls of your lungs are lined with pleural layers, slipping past each other as your chest expands and contracts. But when you suffer from pleurisy, these linings become inflamed because of an infection or other related conditions. When your pleural layers are inflamed, they could cause pain as they move against each other.

What does it feel like? It may feel like a sharp pain in your chest. You may notice that the pain gets worse when you breathe.

What should I do with this left side pain? Because it's caused by an infection, it's important to find the root cause and treat it as soon as possible. In the meantime, you may take your medication and get plenty of rest.


2. Pneumonia

young ill female have cough sore | left side pain

This lung infection can cause your alveoli to inflame, causing chest pain and making it difficult to breathe comfortably.

What does it feel like? You may feel pain in your chest when you breathe or cough.

What are the symptoms of pneumonia?

  • coughing
  • fever
  • chills
  • shortness of breath
  • shallow breaths
  • sharp, stabbing pain
  • nausea (in children)
  • confusion (in older adults)

What should I do with this left side pain? Only take medication given to you by your doctor. You might think that cough medicine will help ease the symptoms, but coughing is actually your body's way of expelling the infection. Instead, drink warm glasses of water to help clear the phlegm. Get plenty of rest.

3. Angina

pressure chest close photo stressed woman | pain on left side of body

When your blood doesn't deliver enough oxygen to your heart, you may experience angina or chest pain. It's a symptom that could point to more serious chronic heart conditions.

You're at a higher risk of angina or heart attack if you:

  • have poor cholesterol levels
  • have hypertension or high blood pressure
  • smoke
  • have diabetes
  • are obese or overweight
  • have a sedentary lifestyle
  • are over 45 years old (men)
  • are over 55 years old (women)
  • have an unhealthy diet
  • have a family history of heart disease

What does it feel like? This left side pain may feel like crushing chest pain, which could also extend to your neck, jaw, abdomen, shoulders, and back.

What should I do with this left side pain? It's time to enjoy a nutrient-rich diet and live a more active lifestyle. If you have a stressful job, you may want to experiment with meditation or other stress-reducing activities. Your doctor may also prescribe you medicine that could treat and ease your symptoms, and as a result, lower your risk for heart attack.

4. Enlarged Spleen (Splenomegaly)

young woman suffering strong abdominal pain |

An enlarged spleen may be caused by infections, diseases, or cancers. Like angina, it may be a telltale sign of worse problems brewing within your body.

It's difficult to catch, usually only spotted during physical exams. But when you feel pain north of your belly, you might want to book a doctor's appointment.

Other symptoms of an enlarged spleen may include:

  • feeling full (the spleen presses on the stomach)
  • anemia (low red blood cell count)
  • infections
  • bleeding more easily than normal

What does it feel like? Pain above your belly, which could grow worse when you breathe.

What should I do with this left side pain? Your doctor may want to observe it first before taking any action, especially if you haven't discovered the cause or you don't exhibit enough symptoms. Sometimes, surgery might be in order.

5. Kidney Pain

young woman stomach pain | organs on left side of body

Kidney pain may be caused by all sorts of trouble. But you may not even know that your kidneys are in trouble, as many people chalk it up to back pain. However, also note that not all back pains point to kidney problems.

It's possible for just one or both kidneys to be impaired.

Possible kidney-related conditions include:

  • kidney stones
  • urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • kidney infection (pyelonephritis)
  • polycystic kidney disease
  • kidney injury
  • cancer

What does it feel like? It might be difficult to identify it as kidney pain as pain or discomfort could be referred to your back, groin, or abdomen.

What should I do with this left side pain? The first step to treating kidney pain is to figure out the cause. Your treatment will depend on what's giving your kidney grief.

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6. Stomach Pain

man holds stomach pain his chest | side pain

Stomach or abdominal pain is the pain you feel all the way up from your chest down to your groin.

Even acute pains could be a symptom of more serious problems. But not all stomach pain is dangerous.

Learn to observe your body, mentally noting the timings of your pain.

  • Do you feel more pain when you eat?
  • Could it be a specific type of food?
  • When did the pain start?
  • Does it come in waves, or is there a constant pain?
  • Does the pain get worse when you breathe?
  • Are there other symptoms you experience in addition to abdominal pain?

Symptoms that you may experience alongside stomach pain include:

  • nausea
  • fever
  • blood stools
  • difficulty breathing
  • bloody vomit
  • tender abdomen
  • pain doesn't subside for days

You don't need to wait for the pain to worsen before you see your doctor. If it disrupts your daily life, schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider.

Additionally, do your best to find the central point of your pain. It may be easy to mistake stomach pain for chest pain, and the pain could also extend down to your groin.

What does it feel like? There are different types of pain with varying intensities that you can feel around your belly:

  • Generalized pain covers a large section of your belly and may be caused by viruses, gas, or indigestion.
  • Localized pain occurs in one specific spot in your stomach and could point to problems in your stomach,  gallbladder, or appendix.
  • Cramps may point to easily treatable conditions like bloating or diarrhea.
  • Colicky pain comes and goes and could be a sign of kidney stones or gallstones.

Common suspects of stomach pain may include:

  • gas
  • indigestion
  • constipation
  • allergy
  • food poisoning
  • gastroenteritis (stomach flu)
  • appendicitis
  • hernia
  • ulcers
  • diverticulitis
  • gallstones
  • kidney stones
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • inflammatory bowel disease (IBS)

What should I do with this left side pain? Your treatment will depend on the cause of your pain. It could go away with medication, antibiotics, or a change in your diet. But for severe pain, your doctor may administer an injection. In some cases, you may be a candidate for surgery.

7. Pancreatitis

people health problem concept coseup sick | why does my left side hurt

When your pancreas is inflamed and swollen, it's called pancreatitis. It could range from acute pancreatitis that goes away after a few days or progress to chronic pancreatitis.

Causes of pancreatitis may include:

  • trauma or injury
  • alcohol addiction
  • obesity
  • some medications
  • gallstones
  • high levels of triglycerides
  • excessive levels of calcium
  • pancreatic cancer
  • surgery
  • cystic fibrosis
  • infections

What does it feel like? It may feel something like stomach pain that extends to your back.

What should I do with this left side pain? If you are diagnosed with pancreatitis, you may be hospitalized. Your doctor will give you medication to alleviate the pain. Your treatment will depend on the cause.

8. Enlarged Liver (Hepatomegaly)

medical concept pain liver highlighted red | left side pain

An enlarged liver could be a symptom of liver disease or the result of too many harmful substances passing through than your liver can handle.

Daily habits like excessively drinking alcohol and some medications may contribute to an enlarged liver.

An enlarged liver may be a symptom of liver diseases like:

  • some cancers
  • benign liver tumors
  • backflow of the blood
  • fatty liver
  • polycystic liver disease
  • Budd-Chiari syndrome
  • Gaucher disease
  • alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency

It's difficult to spot an enlarged liver and is often only discovered coincidentally. But if you feel some abdominal pain along with these other symptoms, see your doctor immediately:

  • jaundice
  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • feeling fully quickly

What does it feel like? You may feel pain or some discomfort in your upper belly.

What should I do with this left side pain? The liver is a crucial organ but unfortunately, an enlarged liver is hard to catch. The moment you observe some unusual symptoms, see your doctor immediately. Also, treat this as a wake-up call to trim your waistline, drop your alcohol habit, eat healthier, and get active.

9. Ovarian Cyst

young woman suffering menstrual cramps home | pain on left side of body

An ovarian cyst isn't always painful, and fortunately, it's not always serious. It's actually quite common and may only be discovered during a routine pelvic exam.

But if you exhibit some of these other symptoms, see your doctor:

  • bloating
  • pain during sex
  • unintentional weight gain or loss
  • alterations in bowel or urinary habits
  • feeling full quickly
  • painful period

However, in some cases, you may also experience severe pain coupled with fever and vomiting.

What does it feel like? You may experience some pain in your lower belly as well as some pain during your period.

What should I do with this left side pain? Your doctor may want to observe the cyst to see if it grows. Sometimes, it may go away on its own or remain the same size. In such cases, you may not have to do anything. However, if your cyst exceeds 10 cm, looks worrisome, or is painful, it might be surgically removed.

10. Testicular Pain

man front view pain groin bladder | left side pain

Testicular pain could be referred pain, which is pain that is extended from another area. Pain focused on your groin or stomach could travel all the way to the nerves on your testicles.

Testicular pain may be a symptom of conditions like:

  • orchitis (inflammation)
  • inguinal hernia
  • epididymitis
  • spermatocele
  • hydrocele
  • varicocele
  • testicular torsion
  • kidney stones
  • post-vasectomy pain syndrome
  • testicular cancer

If you took a hit to your sensitive area, the pain would be intense but should not last over an hour.

What does it feel like? Testicular pain may be acute or chronic. Because your testicles have many nerves, your pain may be immense.

What should I do with this left side pain? Treat your injury with an ice pack followed by a warm, soothing back. Pain relievers may also help ease the pain until it completely goes away on its own. But in cases where testicular pain is a symptom of a condition, you may be a candidate for surgery.

Check out this video to help you dissect your pain:

Any type of pain warrants a seat across your doctor's table, especially if you experience other unusual symptoms along with it.

Don't underestimate even the slightest bit of pain. As we have learned, pain on the left side of your body point to benign or more serious conditions.

Seeing your doctor may ease your pain as well as your mind.

What do you do to address pain?

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