Gastroenterology Community
31.5k Members
1040763 tn?1254949297

Left Lower Quadrant Abdominal Pain

I am a 26 year old female weight 216, height 5'9 - in general good health.

Starting one week ago Friday I had a horrible pain in the top of my stomach right in the middle just below my breasts.  The pain continued for three days.  Friends and family told me that the pain sounded like that of an ulcer.  I took some over the counter meds - (mylanta, pepto, pepcid,) and a couple rx (prilosec & previcid) to no avail.  The pain eventually subsided but has now radiated to my lower left quadrant.  I have had normal bowel movements, no diahrrea, no vomiting, a little nausea but mostly just this nagging pain.  It is a dull ache until I take a deep breath and then it is a sharp stabbing pain in my left side.  Most people have described these symptoms as gas pains but I figured after a few hours and with some medication gas would have subsided by now.  I feel well other than this pain in my left side.  My bowel movements continue to be regular, at least twice a day ...some mild nausea but nothing more than that, just the sharp pain when breathing deeply.  What could be the cause of such pain?  Please help...this is affecting my sleep and making for really long days at work.  
7 Responses
140029 tn?1393301742
Hey colewe,

Well i've been sick for years - and had a bunch of GI visits so this is *probably* what your GI specialist (if you went to one would say)

There's a few things that off the top of my head come to mind.. one would be diverticulitis/osis, you can google both of those and see if the symptoms match..basically too much pressure is being put on the colon wall on your lower left and it causes a pouch, sometimes after some time the pouch will clog up and actually get infected (you can google this).  Basically to prevent it you got on a higher fiber diet...get some non-allergenic non-gas forming citrucel and then try a scoop..starting slowly.   Also drinking more water will help soften things.  If you're not drinking water it doesn't work...also if you're not doing 3 square meals it doesn't work either.  If you've been on a diet sometimes that's really hard on your GI system, or if you eat a lot of calcium or dairy (i'd cut the dairy down to a min if you are).  *could be food intolerance* that usually causes problems like you're saying...consitpation nausea..that's my problem, the big offenders are wheat/dairy/lactose/casein/gluten.  You don't have to be celiac - you can be just intolerant to wheat and not know it.  Sadly there is no test for it so you could go off all those and see if you improve.  Helped me out BIG time.

There is chron's disease..typically it's on the lower right side not left..but that's a small chance..usually it happens in the small intestine but you would be pretty sick if that was the case.  Usually you have blood in the stool..but sometimes not visible.  Could be an infection but normally with infection you have IBS-D.  Could be colitis..but again *normally* you have IBS-D but not always (like ulcerative colitis)

Could be a polyp as well, you're pretty young to do a colonoscopy but if you didn't improve after fiber a GI specialist might recommend to do one to see if there is a polyp or diverticulitis.  That's the one test that would probably rule out basically everything in one big test.  They knock you out so it's pretty easy..i've done 2 sadly.

Since you didn't mention IBS-C or D..i'm guessing it's lack of fiber or gas...  when you take acid blockers..tums rolaids..even prescription.  Whatever you took, they cause constipation so it might have taken care of your minor peptic ulcer or gastritis you were having but it might have caused more pressure than normal on the colon wall causing pain.  Basically you need to soften and bulk more...you can also use Miralax (safe long term..doesn't need a prescription..although some work and some don't).  I'd stay away from physillum husk and inulin since that'll just cause gas.  Gas will probably hurt you more so that's why I suggested citrucel.  If you can't stand the taste you could go out and get benefiber, it mixes with water and it's tasteless.

Pain effects sleep but so does anxiety.  Reading about yours it just sounds like you need to take some pressure off that colon...once it goes downhill it becomes totally debilitating to the point of not being able to work anymore, if the fiber fails for sure i'd get into a GI specialist and they'll ask you in more detail about your stools.  Sometimes what you think is normal isn't.  Also are your stools black?  Tarry?  Dark?  If so that's a sign of blood from an ulcer..if there's any visible blood that's a sign to get to a GI specialist asap.  Brighter the blood the closer to the end of the "tailpipe"

Ok well that's my book, your movements are good but I think you might have a case of diverticulitis.  You still might want to see a doctor.  Once you have an infection they put you on antibiotics and you avoid fiber for a good week (clear liquid diet) but I don't think you have that.. you probably just have IBS and need to increase your fiber to take pressure of the wall down there.  Also a good idea to try would be to go to the grocery store and get some gas-x and take a few and see what happens if any improvement.  Some people get gas trapped and it causes pain.  Sounds dumb but it can cause enough pain to make people freak out.  But looking at your symptoms I wouldn't be too alarmed about anything, sounds fairly minor and I think you're having some anxiety.

(that's my guess.. I could be totally off...)  Good luck! :)
Thank goodness for you comment. I have the exact same symptoms and the OP. I will buy some fiber powder tomorrow morning.
Thank you for taking the time to write all of this and Sharing your knowledge.
140029 tn?1393301742
food intolerances - most people with them have anxiety, insomia constipation or some IBS issues like you said so - i'd cut the wheat and dairy out, citrucel and gas x with lotsa water and exercise and see what happens.  If you get healed send me a check cuz' i'm poor (just kidding)

cya :)
140029 tn?1393301742
it could a bug called h. ploryi...it causes ulcers.  You still could have one, it's a simple blood test/breath test testing if you have it and the treatment is simple so that's one thing i'd think about.  It's very hard to get rid of only using pepto bismal and such...so going to the doctor - he might suggest checking for that esp. since you had pretty sudden stomach pain.

Ok i'll stop posting.
Avatar universal
I am going through the same thing and I see a Gastrointestinologist this Mon Feb 2/15. My menses came a week early and the pain is unbearable. My GP thinks it might be diverticulitis but I also have a cyst on my left ovary that wasn't furtfurther looked into. I am going into to see my GP.to get stronger pain meds because Tylenol 1's with some codeine and advil aren't helping with this excruciating pain at all.
I don't know if you are stateside or not but in Canada you have to get in quick with any type of lingering nonspecific pains or problems because the specialist are booked months in advance.
Get well soon
Avatar universal
I've been having lower left abdominal cramps/dull achy spasmy feeling. I'm hesitant to even say pain.

I've had chest X-ray, ct scan and loads of blood work. So far only thing they discovered was a slightly enlarged spleen. Lot of the blood work and chest X-ray was all done after they found the enlarged spleen. Everything else has been negative/normal.

So you aren't alone. Unfortunately just have to keep going to doctors and let them figure it out. I have a gastro appointment next Friday though I'm gonna try to get it moved up.

Well wishes to you.
Avatar universal
I am experiencing the EXACT same thing! Stomach hurt in the middle (upper) for 3 days and have had this nagging ache in my left side that is worse when I breathe. I have had some massive diarrhea but no relief like you would expect after. Have you figured out the cause??
Avatar universal
Any news or status update?
Have an Answer?
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Learn which OTC medications can help relieve your digestive troubles.
Is a gluten-free diet right for you?
Discover common causes of and remedies for heartburn.
This common yet mysterious bowel condition plagues millions of Americans
Don't get burned again. Banish nighttime heartburn with these quick tips
Get answers to your top questions about this pervasive digestive problem