Q:

What causes pain under the left ribcage?

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Quick Answer

Causes of pain under the left ribcage include costochondritis, pleurisy, osteoporosis, systemic lupus, lung cancer, metastatic lung cancer, chronic myelogenous leukemia and a fractured rib, according to Health Line. People who experience sudden severe pain should seek immediate medical attention, as should those who display rib fracture symptoms.

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Full Answer

Causes of pain under the left rib cage include:

  • Costochondritis - The cartilage that attach the ribs to the breastbone become inflamed. This condition is more likely to occur in people over the age of 40 and women. The pain may become worse upon stretching.
  • Pleurisy - The tissues lining the lungs and chest wall become inflamed, either because of an infection or virus. The pain is quite sharp and worsens upon inhalation.
  • Osteoporosis - This condition can cause pain under the ribs when it leads to a fracture. It is characterized by a loss of density that weakens the bones and is more common in the elderly.
  • Systemic lupus - This is an autoimmune condition that causes the body to attack its tissues. In addition to this symptom, patients may experience a butterfly rash across the chest and kidney infections.
  • Lung cancer and metastatic lung cancer - Lung cancer does not usually present painful symptoms until the later stages of the disease, by which point it is metastatic.
  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia - When CML progresses to the metastatic stage it can cause pain in various areas of the body. This is a rare cause of pain under the rib cage.
  • Fractures - This can include closed and open fractures. People who suspect they have fractured a rib should seek immediate treatment.
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