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Women's Health

Pain in upper left abdominal

02/27/2006

Question:

I started to have a sharp dep pain in my upper left abdominal, right below the ribs while i was sleeping. It went away temporarily and then when i ate some food, it came back. When i breathe deeply the pain seems sharper and it is only in one area, it´s it only like a pin point sharpness but if i breathe deep the pain goes down. Could it be my kidneys or an ulcer?

Answer:

There are a lot of things that can cause pain in that region. We call pain that worsens with a deep breath "pleuritic chest pain," as the most common cause is either a pleurisy (infection of the lining of the lungs, most often viral) or musculoskeletal strain/sprain (for example, a rib sprain). Rarely will an enlarged spleen cause pain such as this (such as after having mononucleosis). The kidneys, if infected, usually cause pain in the mid to lower back on one side, and usually there are other urinary symptoms, such as burning with urination. Peptic ulcer disease usually causes pain in the "epigastric" region - that is, in the middle upper portion of the abdomen; rarely will it cause pain on the left side, and rarely will it be worsened by taking in a deep breath.

If the pain continues or worsens, it would be best for you to see your doctor so that he/she can examine you.

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Response by:

W. Fred Miser, MD W. Fred Miser, MD
Associate Professor of Family Medicine
Director of Ohio State Medicine Residency Program
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University