19 Reasons Gurgling on Left Side under Ribs May Irritate You!

The human body is prone to changes. The area under the ribs is central to many important organs of the body. These organs assist in digestion, reproduction, and other life activities. Gurgling or weird sounds are noticed sometimes by many of us.

Are you experiencing gurgling on left side under ribs?

I have taken all the available information to conclude why gurgling occurs. These include digestive disorders, lung problems, issues with the spleen, pancreatitis, and others. Gurgling after eating food may vanish on its own but it requires attention if the problem elongates. 

If you have noticed this situation yourself then the following article is all for you! Keep reading to know all the details!

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Possible Causes

gurgling on left side under ribs

While there are numerous reasons why a person may experience gurgling under the ribs, the most notable ones are as follows:

01. Peristalsis:

Peristalsis is a succession of muscle contractions that propel food through the digestive tract in a wave-like pattern. 

Strong wave-like oscillations of the smooth muscle of the esophagus transport balls of swallowed food to the stomach. The meal is churned into chyme, a liquid combination that travels into the small intestine and continues peristalsis.

Peristalsis is a normal process during digestion but sometimes may cause intense gurgling sounds

It will be easier to see the wave-like motion if you stretch out a segment of the intestine. The chyme is mixed and shifted back and forth by the action. This allows the bloodstream to absorb nutrients through the small intestine’s walls and causes internal vibrations.

Peristalsis in the large intestine aids in the absorption of water from undigested meals into the bloodstream. 

The remaining waste is expelled from the body via the rectum and anus. Gurgling in the large intestine may be associated with these processes. 

02. Splenic Flexure Syndrome:

The presence of gas in the colon is common. Many people have gas build-ups from time to time. 

Intense pain in the stomach or a gurgling below the left rib may indicate a serious build-up of gas in the splenic flexure. 

The situation worsens when gas is trapped in the bend of the splenic flexure, the highest point of the colon. This condition is called splenic flexure syndrome.

Symptoms:

  • Left abdomen pain
  • Bloating
  • A sense of fullness in the belly 

Causes:

Splenic flexure syndrome is most common in people with irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. Some specialists even consider it to be a kind of IBS. 

Splenic flexure syndrome can be caused by stress, which can exacerbate IBS.

Splenic flexure syndrome is thought to be caused by food as per specialists. 

Treatment:

Some doctors advise consuming fewer carbohydrates, sugar alternatives, and fiber-rich meals. A higher intake of these may lead to gas build-up which is responsible for this disease. 

As stress and mental health might play a role in IBS and, as a result, splenic flexure syndrome, your doctor may suggest mental health therapies. These include psychotherapy medicines and therapy.

Biofeedback therapy, in which a therapist monitors your body functioning as you practice relaxation and stress-reduction tactics, may also be beneficial.

03. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD):

GERD is a condition in which the stomach acid increases in the food pipe.

Symptoms:

  • Gurgling in the chest or abdominal region
  • Intense cough that interferes with swallowing 
  • A lump in the throat
  • Heartburn (burning in the chest below the breastbone)
  • Foul sensation in the mouth 

Causes:

  • High consumption of alcohol
  • Frequently utilizing over-the-counter pain-relieving medicines
  • Aspirin and ibuprofen

Treatment:

Medications and lifestyle changes are the most common treatments for GERD and heartburn.

04. Indigestion:

Indigestion is a common occurrence after eating which may lead to pain or discomfort in the upper abdominal region. 

Moreover, it may lead to a gurgling or bubbling sensation in the chest and the abdominal region.

Symptoms:

  • Bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea

Causes:

Indigestion can be caused by a variety of factors, including eating too soon or too much, drinking too much alcohol or caffeine, eating fatty or spicy foods, and taking certain medicines and antibiotics.

Treatment:

Medications, as well as lifestyle and nutritional adjustments, are all part of the treatment

05. Asthma:

Asthma sufferers may feel a bubbling sensation in their chest. Asthma is a disease of the lungs that is responsible for the expansion and narrowing of the air ducts. 

Symptoms:

  • Coughing
  • Loss of breath
  • Chest tightness

Causes:

Allergies, exertion, and certain types of weather can all trigger asthma.

Treatment:

Asthma can be bought under control with lifestyle changes and proper intake of medicines. 

06. Collapsed Lung:

A collapsed lung, pneumothorax, is a condition of lungs in which the air seeps from the lungs into the space that exists between the lung and the chest wall. 

Symptoms:

A collapsed lung inside the rib cage might induce the following symptoms in addition to the bubbling sensation:

  • Fatigued nostrils 
  • A bluish tone to the skin
  • Blood pressure that is too low
  • A fast heartbeat

Causes:

A collapsed lung might happen out of nowhere or be triggered by an accident.

Treatment:

Even if the symptoms are minor, a collapsed lung should be treated as a medical emergency. 

Less severe pneumothorax usually goes away fast, without requiring any treatment.

07. Atrial Fibrillation:

Atrial fibrillation is the occurrence of an irregular heartbeat that is much faster than the normal rate. 

It occurs when the heart’s upper chambers and lower chambers are out of rhythm.

Symptoms

  • Discomfort in the chest (bubbling, gurgling, etc)
  • Dizziness 
  • Irregular palpitations
  • Muscle Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Shortness of breath

Treatment:

The condition of atrial fibrillation necessitates medical intervention. It may not be fatal but it is responsible for problems such as the formation of blood clots in the heart.  

08. Bronchitis:

Bronchitis is a condition of the inflammation of bronchial tubes.  

These tubes connect the lungs to the nose and mouth. It can be acute. Also, it may last three months or more, in which case it is called chronic.

Symptoms:

  • Chest tightness
  • Chest pain
  • Chills
  • A slight fever and a cough

Treatment:

What type of bronchitis a person has determines the treatment. 

Acute bronchitis is treated in the same manner as a cold, and symptoms normally disappear in 10 to 14 days. Inhalers and oxygen treatment may be used to treat chronic bronchitis

09. Gallbladder Inflammation:

Cholecystitis, or gallbladder inflammation, occurs due to clogged bile ducts, tumors, or infection.

The symptoms may worsen after consuming high-fat foods. 

Symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting

At certain times people with gallbladder inflammation experience a gurgling or bubbling sensation in the chest or under the ribs.

Treatment:

  • Antibiotics and painkillers
  • Gallbladder Removal 

Gallbladder inflammation left untreated can lead to serious problems, some of which can be fatal.

10. Pleurisy:

Pleuritis, another name for Pleurisy, is a state in which the thin membrane lining the chest cavity becomes prone to inflammation. It may occur due to any undiscovered medical issue. 

Symptoms:

  • Sharp pain in the chest
  • Breathing issues
  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Sneezing

Treatment:

The underlying problem must be addressed by visiting a doctor.

11. Pleural Effusion:

A condition in which fluids trap in the lung lining and the chest wall is termed as pleural effusion. It is frequently an indication of another illness, such as cancer.

Symptoms:

  • Short breath
  • Coughing
  • Gurgling in the abdominal region

12. Lung Tumor:

In rare situations, a lung tumor can cause a bubbling sensation in the chest

Lung tumors can be benign or malignant. Most of the time, people with lung tumors depict no symptoms for months and even years.

Symptoms:

  • Discomfort in chest
  • Fever 
  • Blood in cough
  • Coughing for a long time
  • Weight loss shortness of breath

13. Pneumomediastinum:

This ailment is caused by trapped air under the breastbone and between the lungs in the center of the chest. This occurs as a result of injury or air leaking.

Symptoms:

People with pneumomediastinum may suffer the following symptoms, which are not always obvious:

  • Coughing and hoarseness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting.

14. Precordial Catch Syndrome:

When nerves in the chest are pinched or crushed, precordial catch syndrome develops. 

It most commonly affects children, teenagers, and people in their early twenties. Although worrisome, it is typically not hazardous.

Symptoms:

The symptoms usually go away as you get older, but there is no therapy.

15. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD):

Any disorder that leads to inflammation in the intestines is referred to as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). 

The most common of these disorders are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

Symptoms:

  • Weariness or tiredness
  • Fever, stomach cramps, and pain in the abdomen
  • Diarrhea
  • Stools with blood
  • Weight loss that was not anticipated
  • A decrease in appetite

Treatment:

One may treat IBD with numerous approaches and these may be combined for great results. 

Making lifestyle adjustments, such as modifications to your food and exercise routine, as well as stress reduction approaches, are examples of treatments. 

Other treatment options include: 

  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Immunosuppressants supplements
  • Medicine to treat diarrhea
  • Anti-inflammatories

It can also be treated by performing surgery that may entail removing the diseased area of your digestive tract or removing all or part of your colon.

16. Kidney Stones:

When waste piles up in your kidneys and clumps together, kidney stones form. This is due to a lack of water moving through the system. 

Symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Sharp abdominal pain while urinating
  • Pain in the back when urinating
  • Blood with urine

Treatment:

Treatment for a kidney stone is decided by the severity and stone size. Certain treatment options include: 

  • Pain-relieving medicines
  • High water consumption
  • Surgical operates
  • Lithotripsy 
  • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy

17. Pancreatitis:

A state of inflammation of the pancreas is termed pancreatitis existing both as acute and chronic.

Symptoms:

Symptoms vary based on whether it is acute or chronic.

  1. Acute Pancreatitis:
  • Back discomfort that originates in the abdomen
  • Stomach soreness and abdominal pain that gets worse after eating
  • Nausea, vomiting, and fever
  • A faster heart rate
  1. Chronic Pancreatitis:
  • Upper abdominal discomfort
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Feces with a greasy odor and appearance

Treatment:

Treatment also depends on the type of pancreatitis:

  1. Acute Pancreatitis:

There are numerous ways to treat acute pancreatitis and some of these are as follows:

  • Pain-relieving medicines
  • Temporary fluids injected into bloodstreams via a tube
  • Removal of gallbladder
  • Drainage of pancreatic fluid
  • Surgical procedures for removal of bile duct obstruction
  1. Chronic Pancreatitis:

Most notable ways to treat chronic pancreatitis include:

  • Dietary changes
  • Supplements for pancreatic enzymes
  • Pain treatment

18. Enlarged Spleen:

Several disorders and situations can result in an enlarged spleen, also known as splenomegaly.

One of the most prevalent reasons for an enlarged spleen is infection. Spleen enlargement may also occur due to liver problems like cirrhosis and cystic fibrosis.

Symptoms:

  • Feeling full after a small diet
  • Pain in the back
  • Fatigue
  • Breathing problem
  • Back pain up to shoulder
  • Gurgling

Treatment:

Treatments for enlarged spleen may include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Medications
  • Surgery
  • Rest

19. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS):

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is an elongated illness of the digestive system with many symptoms. The intensity and period of these symptoms vary in people. 

Symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain or cramps
  • Diarrhea 
  • Constipation
  • Stools with white mucus
  • Bloating or gas

Treatment: 

IBS has no known cure. 

Symptom alleviation and condition management are the goals of treatment. 

Increasing fiber intake, adhering to a gluten-free diet, experimenting with a low-FODMAP diet, getting adequate sleep, and exercising consistently are some examples.

Other treatments may be:

  • Lowering stress levels
  • Using antibiotics or probiotics
  • Relaxing techniques ( mindfulness, meditation)

Visit a Physician When…

gurgling left side under ribs

If you are experiencing a gurgling sensation in the chest region or below the ribs for a long time then consider getting an appointment with the doctor. 

Sometimes, the gurgling is merely from a non-vital digestive issue. But at other times it may indicate a serious issue such as a tumor or collapsed lung.

Meet the doctor if you observe the following symptoms along with gurgling:

  • Problem in breathing normally
  • High fever
  • Irregular pulse
  • Uncontrollable vomiting
  • A problem in standing upright or walking
  • Numbness in the arm of the abdominal area
  • Pain that goes up to the neck and face
  • Sharp and unbearable abdominal pain

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the most probable cause of intense pain under the left rib cage?

An enlarged spleen is considered the primary cause of pain under the left rib cage. One should consider visiting a doctor immediately when they notice the symptoms of an enlarged spleen. 

Does pain in the upper left abdomen indicate a serious health condition?

Pain in the upper left abdomen may be serious as per the following conditions:

Moderately serious: If the pain in the left side of the body continues for a long time and brings along other symptoms, it is categorized as moderately serious. 

Serious: If the left side body pain is continuing with short breath, jaw or arm pain, fainting, and lightheadedness. 

Am I experiencing a sharp pain under the left rib due to gas?

Most of the time, spleen conditions are thought to be responsible for pain under the left rib cage. However, there are other conditions responsible for rib pain like the existence of gas in the colon. 

Why has my left side started to hurt suddenly?

Left side pain is a sign of gas. But it may indicate something more serious like diverticulitis, appendicitis, stomach ulcers, and others that require immediate medical care. 

Summing Up

If you are experiencing gurgling on left side under ribs then it may be due to some random digestive issue or a serious health condition in other cases. 

GERD, Indigestion, and Enlarged Spleen may be counted as some of the sole reasons behind such a condition. 

Consult your physician if it does not resolve and occurs in combination with other symptoms.

Dr. Afifa Amer

Dr. Afifa Amer

My name is Afifa Amer and I have done Doctor of Pharmacy. I am a registered retail pharmacist. I believe we should not stick to one specific job, so writing and educating others has always been my passion. I love to share content that improves health, fitness and well being. When I am not typing or dealing with prescriptions, I like to travel and read books.

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