Upper-Left Abdomen Pain Made Worse By Eating

What Causes Upper-Left Abdomen Pain Worse After Meals?

Upper-left abdomen pain worse after meals can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'worrying' to 'serious'.  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 upper-left abdomen pain worse after meals, 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 "upper-left abdomen pain worse after meals" as a symptom.  Here are three possibilities:
  • Atrophic Gastritis
  • Gastritis
  • Pancreatitis

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:
moderate alcohol consumption
chronic diarrhea
epigastric pressure after meals
meal-induced pain for over a month
weak appetite
recent onset vomiting
meals worsen epigastric pain
moderate right hypochondriac pain
severe meal-induced pain
frequent episodes of diarrhea
very pale stools
... and more than 20 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of upper-left abdomen pain worse after meals:
Cause Probability Status
Gastritis 91% Confirm
Atrophic Gastritis 17% Unlikely
Pancreatitis 3% 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 increased by eating, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
UPPER-LEFT abdomen: Do you experience discomfort or pain behind the left rib cage that sometimes or always becomes worse after eating?
Possible responses:
→ No / I only have pain when I eat / don't know
→ Rarely / a few times a year
→ Yes, mild pain becomes moderate pain after eating
→ Yes, mild pain becomes severe pain
→ Yes, moderate pain becomes severe pain
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate meals worsen top-left abdomen pain, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:

The pain starts in the upper left part of your body and radiates through your back.


The main symptom of pancreatitis is pain felt in the upper left side or middle of the abdomen.  The pain often begins or worsens after eating and may become worse within minutes, especially if foods have a high fat content.

Concerned or curious about your health?  Try The Analyst™
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