pain in left side under ribs

Pain under Left Rib Cage

Pain on the lower left quadrant can be attributed to a number of medical conditions. Among the more common reasons cited are injury to the rib cage, coughing, constipation and gastrointestinal disorders. We will examine some of these reasons below.

An Overview of Pain in Left Side under Ribs

The term rib cage refers to the 24 bone structure surrounding the chest. One of its primary functions is to provide protection to the chest, lungs and other critical organs within that vicinity. When an external force is exerted onto this rib cage, it is only normal that you experience pain. The pain intensity can range from mild to severe depending on the degree of impact, but invariably it gets in the way of day to day activities. So simple activities like breathing or carrying a bucket of water could induce discomfort and pain in you.

Possible Causes of Pain on Lower Left Quadrant

Pain in left side under ribs could be the symptom of some pre-existing medical condition. Some of the possible factors that contribute to pain in left side under ribs are as follows:


Constipation is a common cause of rib pain. Constipation usually involves hardened stools, which in turn makes bowel movements difficult and painful. A patient who is suffering from this condition would require his colon to put in more effort in order to push the stool down. The extra effort required means that additional pressure is exerted on the rib cage, and subsequently gives rise to the pain sensation.


Patients of gastrointestinal diseases such as gastritis often experience pain in left side under ribs. Gastritis describes a bacterial infection which causes the wall lining of the stomach to swell; this compromises our digestive function. The other commonly associated symptom with this gastrointestinal disease is frequent vomiting and this also tends to induce rib pain.


Pain under left rib cage is a common result following indigestion. A pain that sets in without any warning could very likely be linked to a digestive problem. Usually, this pain is preceded by excessive burping after a heavy meal.


When a blow or significant impact is struck onto the left rib cage, injury and pain under left rib cage will follow. This is a very common phenomenon in contact sports. Depending on the intensity of the blow, the pain sensation may vary accordingly. Sometimes, a really serious injury can lead the bone structure to fracture. If this is the case, the affected area no longer stays localized, and the chances are that your chest and lungs (or any critical organs there) could get damaged as well. Immediate medical attention is always warranted in cases of fracture to the rib cage.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Pain under left rib cage may also be due to IBS. This is a condition that gets in the way of the proper functioning of the intestine. It affects the usual bowel movements and inflicts abdominal pain under the rib cage.

Diagnosis and Treatments

You will need help from a doctor to diagnose the underlying reason for your pain in left side under ribs. Only after meaningful diagnosis can effective treatment then be dispensed. For conditions related to injury, painkillers such as ibuprofen should be sufficient to bring about relief. But if the pain is induced by a pre-existing medical condition, then the doctor will need to deal with that condition accordingly.