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Pain Under Left Rib Cage After Eating, Drinking – Causes, Treatment

There could be a number of causes associated with persons reporting to having pain on the left rib cage of their body.

Pain Under Left Rib Cage picture


Pain under Left Rib Cage Causes

This may either be due to severe illness, injuries or:

Spleen Irritation

The spleen being irritated or ruptured can cause disquiet and pain under the left rib cage.

Gas in the Colon

Splenic flexure syndrome is another name for this kind of disease condition. It is when excessive amount of gas is trapped in the colon which leads to causation of pain under the rib cage. The consumption of gas forming food causes the indigestion which leads to such accumulation of gasses in the colon and leading to the symptoms of pain under the left rib cage.

Heartburn or Reflux of Acid

A common reported case associated with the pain under the left rib cage symptom is when the person experience heart burn or acid reflux. This is due to over consumption of acid rich food or drinks that leads to heartburn. The pain felt is sharp that is sometimes misdiagnosed as chest pain. Others experience a bloated feeling because of the deficiency of acid of the stomach to break down the food inside the stomach.


It is a result from an infection in the cartilage that binds the ribs with the breastbone. It is caused by a viral infection. There is unbearable pain felt near the breastbone during breathing or whenever the person breathes. It is also has a symptom of pain under the left rib cage. This condition is otherwise known as costosternal syndrome.

Broken Ribs

Injury in the left rib cage can cause pain under the left rib cage. The pain is felt or experience upon normal breathing episodes.

Stomach Ulcer

When a person has stomach ulcer, there is a sharp pain felt under the left rib cage. This ulcer causes pain the moves up to the shoulder blade area. The pain usually last to a few minutes or it recurs in an interval period.


This is when the lungs collapse or the so call known as atelectasis because there is a rupture of the lung membrane and the air will leak out to the cavity in between the lungs and the rib cage which lead to pain felt under the rib cage areas. This condition needs an immediate medical attention.

IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome

There is a pain in the abdomen, cramps and bloating which is manifested by a person diagnosed with this medical condition. Along with that there are sharp pains under the rib cage area which leads to cramps in the person’s intestines.

Pinch Nerve in the Thoracic Spine

Osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, bulging or herniated disc or spondylitis can result to this disease condition. It leads to the innervations of the muscles and skin of the chest wall. The person having this disease condition will manifest pain under left rib cage.

Herpes Zoster or Shingles

The shingles is caused by an inflammation of the spinal nerves due to the infection called Herpes Zoster or varicella virus. It causes burning pain under the left rib cage and itchy rashes.

Pancreatitis and Pancreatic Cancer

It may also be due to pancreatitis or inflammation of the pancreas or there is tumor in the pancreas that results to pain under the left rib cage.

Spleen Disorders and Enlarged Spleen

Spleen disorders such as systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE, spleen rupture, spleen infarct, infectious mononucleosis, malaria, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia, leukemia, and other genetic metabolic disorder can cause the symptom of pain under the left rib cage to be manifested.


Angina will lead to pain under the left rib cage because of the fact that there is decreased blood flow going to the heart.

Other possible etiology of why there is pain under the left rib cage may include: Pericarditis, Aneurysm, Henoch Schonlein Purpura, Kidney disease, Gastric Ulcer, Chest or Abdominal Trauma, or stretched or torn muscle or a possibility of muscle spasm in either in the chest or abdominal wall.

Pain under Left Rib Cage in Different Conditions

Pain under Left Rib Cage after Eating

When a person experiences pain under the left rib cage after eating it may be due to:

Food Poisoning – It is caused by consumption of contaminated food that leads to vomiting, fever and severe pain under the left rib cage.

Heartburn or acid Reflux – There is heartburn associated when eating and then lying flat after eating. The lower esophageal sphincter is weak and causes the reflux of the acid from the stomach towards the esophagus to the mouth hence causing heartburn.

Hernia – It is when part of the bowel projects out of the abnormal opening of the wall of the stomach which leads to pain under the left rib cage after eating

Indigestion – After a heavy meal, there is excessive burping and pain is felt under the left rib cage. This occurrence is commonly associated with indigestion.

Pain under Left Rib Cage After Drinking

When a person drinks too much alcoholic beverages it is sometimes associates with gastritis. Persons with gastritis experiences pain in the left side under the rib cage which makes bowel movement painful and difficult for them. It could also be due to a cramp or appendix. When the pain persist, you should visit a physician.

Pain under Left Rib Cage while Pregnant

Anatomically speaking, your pancreas is located at the left anatomical area of your body and your stomach is located in the middle and ballooned towards the left. Both organs are located at the left region. Pregnant women often experiences heartburn or acid reflux from their stomach. This will lead to having pain felt under their left rib cage, where, as mentioned, the two organs are located.

Pain under Left Rib Cage when Breathing

Usually and the only reason when a person has a certain hypertrophied organ such as stomach or spleen, liver or perhaps a malignant and growing tumor may lead to compression of the diaphragm which may lead to pain felt under the left rib cage when a person normally breathes. When this occurs, you need to consult and go to the nearest hospital for further evaluation and for the condition to not get anymore worst.

Pain under Left Rib Cage Treatment

You need to treat pain under the left rib cage as soon as possible in order for the underlying condition to not flourish into an aggravating and serious condition. Persons reporting to have pain felt under the left rib cage may or may not be directly caused or related to a serious medical condition but it can’t be totally taken for granted because it may lead to a worst health condition. The treatment usually will depend on the etiology and the severity of the pain that the person is experiencing. Such treatment can be:

  • Anti inflammatory medication
  • NSAIDs or non steroidal medications
  • Steroid injections
  • TCA or Tricyclic Antidepressants
  • Local Anesthesia
  • Rest
  • Self care
  • Avoiding strenuous activities

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