Female patient receiving diagnosis and treatment for left flank pain
Flank Pain

Understanding Left Flank Pain in Females

Left flank pain in females can be a concerning symptom that may indicate a variety of underlying conditions, ranging from mild to serious. The flank is the area on the side of the body between the lower rib cage and the pelvis, and pain in this region can be caused by issues related to the organs and structures located there. It’s important for women experiencing left flank pain to understand the potential causes and seek appropriate medical attention if needed.

Anatomy of the Left Flank

To understand the possible causes of left flank pain, it’s helpful to know the anatomy of the area. The left flank contains several important organs and structures, including:

  1. Left Kidney: The left kidney is located in the left upper quadrant of the abdomen, just below the diaphragm and behind the stomach. It plays a crucial role in filtering waste products from the blood to form urine.
  2. Left Ureter: Urine is transported from the left kidney to the bladder by the left ureter. It joins the bladder in the pelvis after passing from the kidney.
  3. Left Adrenal Gland: The left adrenal gland is located on top of the left kidney and produces hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.
  4. Left Colon: The left colon, also known as the descending colon, is part of the large intestine. It extends from the left upper quadrant of the abdomen down to the pelvis.

Common Causes of Left Flank Pain in Females

  1. Kidney Stones: Kidney stones are one of the most frequent causes of discomfort in the left flank. These hard deposits can cause excruciating discomfort as they move through the urinary tract; they develop in the kidneys.
  2. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): A UTI can cause inflammation and pain in the bladder, urethra, or kidneys. Left flank pain can occur if the infection involves the left kidney or ureter.
  3. Diverticulitis: Diverticulitis is a condition in which small pouches called diverticula form in the walls of the colon and become inflamed or infected. Left flank pain can occur if the diverticula are located on the left side of the colon.
  4. Gastrointestinal Issues: Other gastrointestinal issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, or gas can sometimes cause left flank pain.
  5. Musculoskeletal Causes: In some cases, left flank pain may be due to musculoskeletal issues such as muscle strain or rib fractures.
  6. Reproductive Issues: In females, left flank pain can sometimes be related to reproductive issues such as ovarian cysts, ectopic pregnancy, or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

When to Seek Medical Attention

While some causes of left flank pain may resolve on their own or with home remedies, it’s important to seek medical attention if you experience any of the following:

  • Persistent or severe left flank pain
  • Fever or chills
  • Blood in the urine
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Swelling or tenderness in the abdomen

These signs can point to a more serious underlying illness that needs to be treated by a doctor.

Diagnosis and Treatment

To determine the cause of left flank pain, a healthcare provider will typically perform a physical examination and may order tests such as urine tests, blood tests, imaging tests (such as a CT scan or ultrasound), or a cystoscopy (a procedure to examine the bladder and urethra).

The underlying cause of left flank discomfort will determine how to treat it. For instance, although a UTI may be treated with antibiotics, kidney stones may be treated with painkillers and fluids to assist the stones move. Surgery can be required in more serious situations to remove kidney stones or fix damaged organs.

Preventive Measures

While some causes of left flank pain may not be preventable, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk:

  • Stay hydrated to help prevent kidney stones.
  • Maintain proper hygiene to lower your risk of UTIs.
  • Consume a diet rich in fiber to help ward off diverticulitis.
  • Maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal issues.


Left flank pain in females can be a symptom of various underlying conditions, ranging from mild to serious. It’s important to pay attention to your symptoms and seek medical attention if you experience persistent or severe pain, especially if accompanied by other concerning symptoms. By understanding the potential causes of left flank pain and taking preventive measures, you can help maintain your overall health and well-being.

Janvi Dhiman holds a Master's degree in Biotechnology and has a background in both undergraduate and postgraduate studies from Amity University, Noida. Her passion lies in making meaningful contributions to the healthcare and research sectors. Currently, she is a valued member of our team, serving as a Research Analyst and a medical content writer at DiseaseInfoHub.

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