Pain in the left upper abdominal area, particularly centered under the ribs, may manifest itself in several ways. It may be sharp and stabbing, shooting and radiating, or just plain unbearable. This can be particularly worrisome as there are several major organs that lie within the region: portions of the colon, part of the liver, the left kidney, the pancreas, the spleen and the stomach. Co-occurring symptoms can include nausea, bloating, cramps and bowel movement irregularities--all which may give clues regarding an underlying condition.
Ultimately, pain in this area can have many causes such as a stomach and bowel disturbance: gas, ulcers, acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome; structural trauma: aortic aneurysm, broken ribs, collapsed lung and hernias; or an inflammation and infection: costochondritis, diverticulitis, intestinal infection, pancreatitis, pericarditis and spleen irritation. Some causes are easily treatable. Mild inflammation can be addressed with pain relievers or anti-inflammatory drugs; transient bowel issues may be treated with digestive aids. However other causes, such as pancreatitis, broken ribs, collapsed lungs and aortic aneurysms, are very serious and require immediate attention.
It is always best to consult a medical provider to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan, especially if the pain is severe or persistent.