Pain in the left side of your stomach after you eat can have serious causes including cancer but also benign causes.

Definitely see a doctor about this.

“This is a nonspecific symptom, has many causes, and will depend on the location and character of the patient and the pattern of exacerbation and relief,” says Michael Blume, MD, a gastroenterologist at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, Baltimore.

IBS as a cause of pain in the left abdominal area following a meal.

“This often is seen in patients with irritable bowel syndrome, where one gets left sided cramps, associated with altered bowel function.”

Can causes also be serious?

Dr. Blume continues, “There are numerous causes of this, however, some of which are serious and some are not, including diverticulitis, malignancies, inflammatory diseases involving the bowel, as well as upper gastrointestinal problems.

“Looking up a symptom out of context is often not particularly helpful.  Taking a detailed history concerning this symptom is the best way to help determine what the pain is from.

“A physician may or may not order an imaging study, depending on what he or she feels is likely the problem, based on assessing that particular person clinically.

“One normally does not automatically order an imaging study, such as CT or MRI on the basis of a complaint alone.

“One first has to decide what one thinks the problem is, and then decide what test is needed to confirm that impression.”

If you’ve been troubled by left sided abdominal pain after eating, chances are pretty high that your doctor will order an imaging study of that area of your body, such as a CT scan, MRI or ultrasound.

You’ll also probably get a blood test ordered. Remember, there can be quite a few possible causes of this symptom.

In practice for 20+ years, Dr. Blume treats over 65 conditions including abdominal pain, appetite loss, blood in stool, celiac disease, colon cancer, esophageal and liver disease, gas and IBS.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer. 

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Top image: Shutterstock/ Inspiration GP