Pain left side under ribs feels like stitch


How often do you experience pain left side under ribs feels like stitch? When do you experience pain left side under ribs feels like stitch? What are the associated symptoms with the experience of pain left side under ribs feels like stitch?

Rib cage formed by ribs forms a protective cage for organs inside it. There are a number of organs that reside under the rib cage and include: Heart, left lung, stomach, pancreas, spleen, kidney. There are a number of possible reasons for pain left side under ribs feels like stitch and can range from trivial to severe. The pain left side under ribs feels like stitch can be dull then increase in severity i.e., can be gradual.

There are a number of possible causes that affect the organs residing under ribs and some injuries to these organs can cause pain left side under ribs feels like stitch or any injury to ribs themselves can be source of pain left side under ribs feels like stitch. Causes, treatment and all other related issues will be discussed in the article below, continue reading the article below for further information.

Contents discussed:


Causes of pain left side under ribs feels like stitch

  1. IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)

  2. IBD (inflammatory bowel disease)

  3. Trapped gas

  4. Constipation

  5. Costochondritis

  6. Broken or bruised ribs

  7. Pancreatitis

  8. Pericarditis

  9. Gastritis

  10.  Kidney infection

  11. Enlarged spleen

  12. Pleurisy




When to see a doctor



Causes of pain left side under ribs feels like stitch:

  1. IBS (irritable bowel syndrome): IBS is a condition in which there is a group of intestinal symptoms like cramping, pain left side under ribs feels like stitch, change in bowel habits and frequency, bloating, white mucous in stools.

A number of factors are responsible for IBS which include:

Stress in daily life


Infections in the gastrointestinal tract

Sensitivity to certain foods or intolerance

A person with IBS can benefit himself from many little changes in his/her lifestyle and it includes:

  • Managing daily life stress
  • Taking supplements like probiotics
  • Taking enough rest, doing exercise
  • Maintaining sleep hygiene and all the steps that can increase the mindfulness of a person and relax him
  • Avoiding foods that trigger IBS


  1. IBD (inflammatory bowel disease): IBD is a chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. It has two classifications: Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. Symptoms include many like:
  • Severe pain or pain left side under ribs feels like stitch
  • Bloody stools and diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss


  1. Trapped gas: Gas is a normal process formed during digestion but due to some digestive issues or foods this process may become slow or become trapped and cause discomfort. Trapped gas is caused due to foods like fried foods, dairy foods, carbonated drinks. Symptoms are many and include: Cramping or pain left side under ribs feels like stitch, knot like feeling in abdomen, bloating and passing gas.


  1. Constipation: Constipation is a condition in which there are less than three bowel movements in a week or the stools are hard to be passed. This is a common concern and complaint in children. This results in pain left side under ribs feels like stitch. Treatment can be simple by changing the lifestyle, taking high fiber foods, not delaying going to the washroom for proper on time bowel habits.


  1. Costochondritis: It indicates the inflammation of cartilage part of the ribs which is connected to the sternum or breast bone. The inflammation may get worsened when a person breathes deeply or whenever a person is indulged in any physical activity and results in pain left side under ribs feels like stitch. Inflammation can be as a result of an injury, infection or even arthritis.

Topical conservative treatment and pain relievers can help alleviating the condition but it however the condition is seen to be associated with fever, nausea or difficult breathing you may need to seek medical help as soon as possible.


  1. Broken or bruised ribs: Broken rib happens due to any injury and can affect the related or surrounding organs. Broken or bruised rib can be healed within 3-6 weeks on its own and the pain can be experienced as pain left side under ribs feels like stitch and other symptoms can be managed by taking pain relievers, cold compression, slow and deep breaths and most importantly holding a pillow when coughing against the chest.

Any of the following symptoms and signs if experienced needs a serious medical condition which include:

Coughing up blood

Chest pain that is worsening

Difficult breathing


  1. Pancreatitis: Pancreas is an organ located inside the loop of duodenum or first part of small intestine and secretes intestinal juices and enzymes into the intestines for better absorption. Inflammation of the pancreas can be due to any injury, alcohol or any obstruction in the duct following can lead to inflammation of the pancreas and present with the symptoms like positional pain i.e., the pain gets better when bending forward, and worsens after eating. Pain may be wax and wane or may be constant and felt as pain left side under ribs feels like stitch.


  1. Pericarditis: Pericarditis is a condition in which the sac filled with fluid around the heart is inflamed due to any infection or injury and results in pain near the ribs. Pericarditis can be classified as: Acute, Incessant, Recurrent and Chronic on the basis of duration of symptoms.


Acute: less than 3 weeks.

Incessant: continuous symptoms lasting for 4-6 weeks.

Recurrent: Recurrence of symptoms after 4-6 weeks after a period of remission.

Chronic: Symptoms lasting longer than 3 months.


  1. Gastritis: Gastritis is the inflammation in the gastrointestinal lining and results in the discomfort and pain in the stomach and is caused due to infections, use of non-steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs and alcohol abuse.

It is better to treat the condition with plenty of rest, hydration. In case the symptoms are worsening you may need to see a doctor which includes:

Fever above 39 degrees Celsius

Blood in your stools

Having an additional health condition

Feeling extremely sick and lethargic


  1.  Kidney infection: Kidney infection can be caused due to any obstruction in the urinary pathway and the infections ascend from the tract to the kidneys and in severe cases can lead to pyelonephritis. Associated symptoms include: Fever, costovertebral angle tenderness (CVA), nausea and vomiting.


  1. Enlarged spleen: Any increase in the size of spleen from normal size of 5x3x1.5 inches is called as splenomegaly and can be caused due to infections and diseases or any condition. Infections tend to be the main cause of enlarged spleen and any disease associated with liver can also cause splenomegaly. There are a number of symptoms caused by enlarged spleen and they are:

Fatigue, back pain, pain radiating in shoulder, difficult breathing or shortness of breath.

Treatment includes a variety of options including:

Rest, medications, surgery etc.


  1. Pleurisy: Pleurisy or pleuritic chest pain is the pain due to inflammation in layers covering the lugs called as pleura and there are a causes for the condition and it includes:
  1. Infection- bacterial or viral
  2. Malignancy
  3. Trauma
  4. Pneumonia
  5. Infarction in lungs due to blood clot

The pain is usually sharp when a person breathes and if the pain is too severe to be tolerated during breathing consult the doctor.



Diagnosis is absolutely based on history and physical examination. Proper history is the key to the diagnosis. History of stress, trauma, systemic diseases, infections can help in diagnosing the present complaint. Physical examination of abdomen, chest, exposing for trauma can be helpful to the doctor. Imaging may vary from condition to condition ranging from simple blood tests, taking urine samples to colonoscopy, ECG, X-ray and CT scan.



Treatment depends on the underlying condition. Treatment is very versatile as are as the causes. Treatment can range from compressions, taking NSAIDS for inflammation and sometimes to surgery if the condition cannot be treated with normal medications and interventions.


When to see a doctor?

The need to visit a doctor varies from cause to cause. Like in case of an IBS you may normally not need to a doctor but if the cramping is severe. IBD may need immediate medical attention likewise any case of trauma or any condition associated with high fever, nausea and vomiting that cannot be managed at home needs immediate medical attention. In some scenarios like when you feel extreme dizziness, light headedness, mental confusion, difficult breathing or abnormal sweating, change in the color of stools.



Pain left side under ribs feels like stitch is a common complaint and cannot always be a warning sign. There are some trivial causes for pain left side under ribs feels like stitch like trapped gas, constipation which may be treated by modifying the lifestyle but some conditions caused by trauma, infections or those that are worsening need immediate medical care.



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