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Why do i have sharp left abdominal pain when i breathe deeply?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 2007
Answered : 362 Questions
I have a sharp abdominal pain on my left side when I breathe in deeply. I went to the doctor today and he told me I need to get an ultrasound to be sure, but since it's Sunday I have to wait. However, it's very uncomfortable and not being able to breathe in fully is making me very tired and dizzy. The pain is on my left side at about the level of my belly button.
Posted Sun, 6 May 2012 in Abdominal Pain
Answered by Dr. Kiran Kumar 21 minutes later

You have mentioned that the pain is sharp and is located in your abdomen on left side at the level of belly button.
Since you have pain when you breath in deeply, it has to be related the Diaphragm or pleura.

Structures which are closely associated to diaphragm on left side can cause such pain. These include, Lower lobe of left lung and left sided pleura, Left Lower Ribs, Spleen, Left Kidney and Stomach.

If there has been injury to the muscles over the abdomen, even then there can be pain related to respiration.

Hence, Ultrasound Abdomen is definitely indicated. Consider getting and X XXXXXXX chest too as lower left lung lesions can lead to similar pain abdomen as in you.

Till then, you can take an analgesics.
Consider taking paracetamol or ibuprofen for your pain.

I wonder what differential diagnosis the doctor gave your who examined. We can usually pinpoint the cause of pain abdomen in nearly 90 % of cases by a good history and physical examination.

Hope this answers your query.
Please get back if you need any further information

Thanks and Regards

Dr Kiran

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Why do i have sharp left abdominal pain when i breathe deeply? 29 minutes later
Thank you Dr. XXXXXXX - I had a full abdominal CT and ultrasound for pain related to the muscle injury about 2 months ago (all fine except that they identified a fairly large gallstone, which I was told not to worry about). However, I didn't have this pain at the time. The Doctor I visited today seemed convinced that it's something related to my ovaries and ordered an transvaginal and pelvic ultrasound, which I plan to get tomorrow. He didn't seem very concerned and said I could wait a couple of days to see if the pain subsides - I've had this for 2 days now and it's so uncomfortable that I don't want to wait any longer. I'm asking you now to get a second opinion and because I wonder if I should just go to the ER instead.
Answered by Dr. Kiran Kumar 5 hours later

Ovarian pain will not be related to breathing. Gall stones can cause abdominal pain, however, it will be located on the right side of the abdomen. In you it is located on left side.

There is a possiblity of renal/ureteric stone as well.

I advice that you must go to ER and get your self evaluated.
Waiting till tomorrow in such severe pain is not advisable.

Take care.

Dr Kiran
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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