Left-Sided Abdominal Pain: Possible Causes and Solutions
If you are experiencing pain underneath your rib cage on the left side, it is important to figure out the cause in order to properly treat it. There are a few different organs and structures located in this area, including the liver, pancreas, and bile ducts. Let’s take a closer look at what might be causing your left-sided abdominal pain and what you can do about it.
Possible Causes of Left-Sided Abdominal Pain
- Pancreatitis: This is a condition in which the pancreas becomes inflamed, usually due to excessive alcohol consumption or gallstones. However, in up to 40% of cases, the cause of pancreatitis is unknown (idiopathic).
- Biliary Sludge: Biliary sludge is a thickened bile mixture that can clog up the small pipes (bile ducts) that help drain bile from the liver. This sludge is made up of concentrated cholesterol crystals, which are not caused by consuming too much dietary cholesterol, but rather by a lack of bile. When bile is lacking, cholesterol can become more concentrated and increase the risk of gallstones and biliary sludge.
- Insulin Resistance: High levels of insulin, which can be caused by consuming too many grains or vegetable oils, can deplete your bile reserve and lead to left-sided abdominal pain.
- Estrogen Imbalance: High levels of estrogen, such as during pregnancy or while taking birth control pills or estrogen replacement therapy, can also interfere with bile production and lead to abdominal pain.
Solutions for Left-Sided Abdominal Pain
- Purified Bile Salts: Adding more purified bile salts to your diet can help thin out concentrated cholesterol and improve bile drainage.
- Healthy Keto Diet: Cutting down on carbs and following a healthy keto diet can help regulate insulin levels and improve bile production.
- Intermittent Fasting: This eating pattern can also help regulate insulin and improve bile production.
- Reduce Omega-6 Fatty Acids: Consuming too many nuts, nut butters, and vegetable oils can increase inflammation and insulin resistance, so it is important to limit these sources of omega-6 fatty acids.
- Support Liver Function: Supporting your liver function through a healthy diet, regular exercise, and avoiding alcohol can help improve bile production and prevent left-sided abdominal pain.
It is important to note that these are just a few possible causes and solutions for left-sided abdominal pain. If you are experiencing persistent or severe abdominal pain, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Can left-sided abdominal pain be caused by something other than the liver, pancreas, and bile ducts?
Yes, there are many other organs and structures located in the left side of the abdomen, including the spleen, large intestine, and stomach. Left-sided abdominal pain can also be caused by conditions such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, and diverticulitis.
Is left-sided abdominal pain always serious?
Not necessarily. In some cases, left-sided abdominal pain may be caused by something minor, such as constipation or a muscle strain. However, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional if you are experiencing persistent or severe abdominal pain, as it could be a sign of a more serious condition.
What can I do to prevent left-sided abdominal pain?
There are several steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing left-sided abdominal pain: Eat a healthy, balanced diet that is low in refined carbs and high in fiber Avoid excess alcohol consumption Exercise regularly Avoid smoking Manage stress Take steps to reduce inflammation in your body, such as reducing your intake of omega-6 fatty acids and increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
Should I see a doctor if I have left-sided abdominal pain?
If you are experiencing persistent or severe abdominal pain, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment. Do not try to diagnose or treat abdominal pain on your own, as it could be a sign of a serious condition.