Are you getting a sharp pain left side?

Sharp pain in any part of our body is sometimes a cause for worry, but if you suddenly start getting sharp acute pains on the left side of your body then it could have something to do with your ribs or abdomen. Painful variation in either of these can be due to injuries, disorders or may simply be transient pains that don’t mean anything. Below are some of the more likely causes of your acute pain:

Flatulence / Gas / Acidity

Tums - Antacid

Products such as ‘Tums’ or ‘Alka Seltzer’ or ‘Gaviscon’ are great for a quick-fix to cure excess stomach acid.

You might feel bloated, fullness in the stomach, burping and / or vomiting. This means the acid levels in your stomach or intestines have increased. Treatments include drinking lots of water, avoiding spicy foods or caffeinated drinks, drinking cold milk or green tea, eating smaller meals, rest and sleep well. You can consume an over the counter antacid such as Alka Seltzer or Pepto Bismol. Reducing stress inducing factors, and trying to relax will also help to alleviate your symptoms. If the situation persists for more than 2 days then you should visit your doctor.

Gastric Ulcers

Symptoms of gastric ulcers include dizzy spells, weakness, fatigue, vomiting (maybe blood). It is generally caused by a regular lifestyle of poor diet and stress. Home treatment of this is similar to that for excess acidity treatment, however they can be much more serious and so it’s better to consult a medical practitioner as they will be able to establish the extent and treatment of the ulcer(s).

Constipation or Indigestion

This goes without saying, but you will feel heavy, possibly have cramps, inability to pass stools or hard stools and pain in the left side. Causes of this are low fiber content in your diet, slow metabolism and high cortisol / stress levels. Treatments include drinking lots of water, including salads and vegetables as part of your diet, and ideally daily exercise of at least 30 to 40 minutes. There are also a range of proprietary over the counter medicines and remedies that you can take, have a chat with your pharmacist to discuss the correct medication for your symptoms. If the situation persists you would be advised to see a doctor as there is a small possibility that you could possibly have developed a bowel obstruction and if left untreated can lead to permanent damage.

Kidney Stones

You might feel a sharp pain in your back followed by pain in left side of abdomen (if it’s the left kidney that’s affected). It may be accompanied by fever, nausea and dizziness. This happens due to high calcium, uric acid content or dehydration. A doctor visit is essential if you suspect kidney stones or are having severe pains. Small stones may sometimes pass out on their own if you manage to increase your water intake and take relevant medication recommended by your doctor. For larger kidney stones you might have to undergo surgery to break up the stones.


When the pain is in left side of the ribs it can be due to an infection of cartilage between the shoulder and rib cage or the breastbone. You need to visit a doctor and get a physical examination done. You can read some more about costochondritis here.

Cardiac Causes

This is symptomised by pain in the left arm, left chest area accompanied by palpitations, breathing difficulties and pain while coughing can sometimes be due to heart related ailments. You need to immediately seek the advice of a physician or a cardiologist to check for artery related issues or a possible heart attack.

Gynaecological Reasons for Pain

Some of the gynaecological reasons for pain in the left side include the formation of cysts or fibroids within the abdomen area. There can also be internal abscess or pregnancy related issues that cause pain, or it may more simply be due to menstrual reasons. Please visit a Gynae specialist if your pain is higher than usual.

Physical Pain

Bruises and injuries during workouts or in the intercostal muscles can cause strain and pain. You should exercise within your capabilities and only increase the level of exertion gradually. If you are in any doubt then a physical trainer or personal trainer will be able to help devise a training plan for you to prevent injury.

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