Pain Under Left Side Of Ribs

What Causes Middle Left Abdominal Pain?

Middle left abdominal pain can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'serious' to 'life-threatening'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose middle left abdominal pain, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "middle left abdominal pain" as a symptom.  Here are five possibilities:
  • Kidney Disease
  • Possible Urgent Medical Need
  • Pyelonephritis
  • Glomerulonephritis
  • Kidney Stones

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
long-term hypertension
constant fatigue
severe periumbilical pain
moderate right lumbar pain
discontinued calcium supplementation
pain in one eye
significant chest pain
mild right lumbar discomfort
attempting suicide
significant abdominal pain
recent night sweats
much vitamin D supplementation
... and more than 50 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of middle left abdominal pain:
Cause Probability Status
Pyelonephritis 91% Confirm
Possible Urgent Medical Need 18% Unlikely
Kidney Disease 2% Ruled out
Glomerulonephritis 1% Ruled out
Kidney Stones 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate abdominal pain unaffected by eating, abdominal pain reduced by eating or abdominal pain increased by eating, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
MIDDLE-LEFT abdomen: Do you experience discomfort or pain below your lower left rib?
Possible responses:
→ No / only after meals / don't know
→ Occasional mild discomfort
→ Frequent mild and/or occasional moderate pain
→ Frequent moderate and/or occasional severe pain
→ Frequent or constant severe pain
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate mild left lumbar discomfort, moderate left lumbar pain, significant left lumbar pain or severe left lumbar pain, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:

Flank pain may or may not be due to stretching of the renal capsule (the covering that forms the outside of the kidney), or to irritation of the muscle tissues surrounding the kidneys.  This flank pain is usually reported as a dull ache.  A very small percentage of patients seem to develop persistent, severe attacks of flank pain.


The symptoms of kidney infection can include back pain, side pain and loin pain.

Concerned or curious about your health?  Try The Analyst™
Symptom Entry
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