Can Liver Pain Be on the Left Side?

Our content is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice by your doctor. Use for informational purposes only.

1 . Your liver is on the right side.

The liver is the biggest organ in your body. It lies under the diaphragm in the right upper quadrant of your abdomen.

Liver pain is typically felt over the liver area (the right upper quadrant of your abdomen.

Liver pain is also felt in other places such as the upper central area of your abdomen, the right side of the chest wall, the right shoulder, and the right mid-back.

Liver pain is often dull aching in character. However, the pain may become sharp or throbbing in advanced cases (such as liver cancer or abscess).

You may feel the liver pain in its primary location (the right upper quadrant) and in the areas of referred pain at the same time.

2. Liver pain doesn’t affect the left side.

As we mentioned before, the typical liver pain locations are located on the right side, where the liver lies.

Isolated left-sided abdominal pain is unlikely to be due to liver affection.

Rare scenarios of liver pain on the left side:

  • Hugely enlarged liver: pain on both the right and left sides.
  • Large tumor or abscess on the left lobe of the liver: (cause diffuse upper abdominal pain, including the left side).
  • Situs Inversus Totalis (very rare):  a rare congenital condition in which all your internal organs are flipped horizontally.
  • Combined liver and splenic lesions: many liver diseases also affect the spleen. Left-sided pain here is due to a spleen.

Bilateral right and left side liver pain is the rule; isolated left-sided liver pain is atypical. Also, people with liver pain often have symptoms of liver affection such as:

  • Jaundice (yellowish skin and eye whites).
  • Dark urine.
  • Ligh-colored stool.
  • Fatigue.
  • In Chronic liver diseases (liver cirrhosis): weight loss, swelling of the lower limbs and the abdomen (ascites).
  • Very advanced liver disease may present with loss of consciousness, vomiting of blood, and dark stool.

In apparently healthy people, liver pain on the left side is unlikely; consider other causes of pain on the left side of your abdomen (explained in the next section).

3. The causes of left-sided pain.

The most common cause of left-sided abdominal pain is the left-sided abdominal organ. These organs include the spleen, the stomach, the duodenum, the pancreases, the descending and sigmoid colon, and the kidneys.

Common causes of left-sided abdominal pain include:

  1. Gastritis, peptic ulcer disease.
  2. Splenic enlargement, abscess, etc.
  3. Functional dyspepsia.
  4. Pancreatitis (acute and chronic).
  5. Irritable bowel syndrome.
  6. IBS (Chrohn’s or ulcerative colitis.
  7. Diverticular disease and diverticulitis.
  8. The left kidney and left ureteric pain.
  9. Cancers such as left colorectal cancer, lymphoma of the spleen, kidney cancer, etc.
  10. Others.

For more details, please read these articles:

IBS Vs. non-IBS abdominal pain under the left rib cage.

Causes of stomach pain and gurgling on the left side.

4. What are the causes of live pain.

The following are the common causes of liver pain. Liver pain is felt primarily on the right upper abdomen.

Causes

Common symptoms

Acute inflammation of the liver (acute hepatitis):– Acute onset jaundice (yellow skin, eye whites).
– Dark Urine.
– Clay-colored stool.
– Nausea and/or vomiting.
– Low-grade fever may be present.
Liver congestion (often due to congestive heart failure or chronic chest diseases).– Symptoms of heart disease such as shortness of breath, inability to lie flat.
– Symptoms of chronic chest disease such as COPD (chronic cough, shortness of breath).
– Swollen lower limbs (right-sided heart failure).
Liver abscess or cysts.– Acute onset fever (which can be high-grade).
– Anorexia, Nausea, vomiting.
– Sharp pain in the liver area.
– Extreme fatigue and sickness.
Liver tumors (benign or malignant).– tumors of small sizes are essentially painless.
– large tumors cause constant dull pain; it becomes more severe when the tumor progresses.
– Weigh loss.
– Signs of liver failure in advanced stages (liver failure, itching).
Portal vein thrombosis.– Swelling of the abdomen (ascites).
– fever.
– Vomiting of blood or passage of black stools.
– symptoms of the cause (liver cirrhosis, liver cancer, and blood diseases).
Budd-Chiari syndrome.– massive distension of the abdomen (ascites).
– signs of liver failure (jaundices, dark urine, swollen lower limbs).
Perihepatitis (Fitz-Hugh-Curts) syndrome.– It is an inflammation of the capsule around the liver, mainly affecting women with pelvic inflammatory disease.
– severe liver pain while you move, cough, sneeze.
– fever may be present.
– Nausea and vomiting.