Lower abdominal pain is usually associated with digestive tract problems; however, it may also be related to other conditions.
The pain in the lower abdomen may also signify problems with the reproductive organs, urinary tract, blood vessels, skin, or body wall. The area may be rigid or tender to touch. Pain may also be mild or severe. Severe pain in the area is often a symptom of conditions such as: bowel perforation, bowel obstruction, appendicitis, or inflammation. In women, it may result from pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, ovarian cyst rupture, twisting of the ovary. Men may experience pain in the lower abdomen due to injury or testicular torsion. Pain that is crampy may be because of endometriosis, menstrual cramps, infection or inflammation, indigestion, or gas.
Lower abdominal pain may also be a result of conditions from nearby organs, or has radiated to the abdomen. An example of which is kidney stones. Shingles, hernias, and body wall trauma may also cause abdominal pain. Hernia occurs due to a weak tissue or muscle in the abdominal wall which results to the protrusion of other organs or tissues. Shingles is a disease due to reactivation of varicella-zoster or chicken pox virus. Shingles involves a blistering and painful rash that forms across the affected area.
Sudden onset, worsening, recurring, persistent, or severe type of pain is often due to serious medical conditions, which makes it important to seek immediate medical care. Immediate medical intervention should also be done on individuals experiencing vaginal bleeding, pregnancy, injury, a rigid abdomen, loss of appetite, vomiting of blood, bloody stools, cancer, or changes in bowel or bladder patterns.
Symptoms Occurring with Lower Abdominal Pain
Depending on the underlying condition, disorder, or disease, lower abdominal pain may also be accompanied by other symptoms. It may involve other body organs or system or only the digestive tract. Knowing these other symptoms is important as it may help in diagnosing the main cause of pain. Problems in the digestive tract may manifest pain and other symptoms such as: nausea, vomiting, indigestion, gas, diarrhea, constipation, bloody stool, abdominal distention or swelling, or abdominal cramping. Other symptoms that may accompany abdominal pain, that is associated with other body organs include: weight loss, rashes, palpable mass in the pelvic area or abdomen, burning urination, pain during sexual intercourse, muscle spasms, fatigue, fever, or body aches.
In some cases, pain in the lower abdomen may be a symptom of diseases or conditions that are life-threatening and should be treated as soon as possible. Examples of life-threatening symptoms that may be related to pain in the lower abdomen include: bloody stools, rectal bleeding, vomiting blood, abdominal trauma, severe pelvic or abdominal pain, rigid abdomen, tachycardia or rapid heart rate, high fever, change in level of consciousness, or bleeding while pregnant.
Causes of Lower Abdominal Pain
Pain in the lower abdomen may be a result of various diseases or health conditions such as: sickle cell disease, diabetes, blood lymphoma, appendicitis, irritable bowel syndrome, or menstrual pain. Lower abdominal pain may be chronic or acute. Acute pain usually doesn’t last long and occurs suddenly. This type of pain is usually caused by infection or inflammation such as: sexually transmitted diseases, vaginitis, kidney stones, diverticulitis, or appendicitis. Chronic pain may last longer than acute pain and is constant. This may be caused by dysmenorrhea or menstrual cramps, fibroid tumors, or endometriosis. The location of pain may also vary from left, right, or center depending on the cause of pain.
Lower right abdominal pain is abdominal pain located in the umbilicus’ right side. In some cases, pain may radiate in the back or left side. This type of pain is usually due to disorders such as: ulcerative colitis, pyelonephritis, sickle cell disease, psoas abscess, kidney stones, intussusception, hernia, lymphoma, diverticulitis, constipation, bowel cancer, Crohn’s disease, or appendicitis. In women, lower right abdominal pain may be due to salpingitis, ruptured ovarian cyst, pelvic inflammatory disease, or ectopic pregnancy.
Pain in the left side of the umbilicus may be cause by ovarian cyst, kidney infections, irritable bowel syndrome, hernia, food poisoning, diverticulitis, constipation, bowel cancer, or abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Lower Abdominal Pain
The physician may recommend different exams to diagnose the exact cause of pain in the lower abdominal. This is because the pain may be caused by different disorders. Tests may include imaging exams such as: MRI scan, ultrasonography, CT scan, abdominal x-ray, and laparoscopy. To detect infection, tests may include culture and sensitivity tests and physical examination.
Treatment of lower abdominal pain depends mainly on the diagnosis. Treatment may include the use of antibiotics if an infection is present. Other medications may include: antispasmodic, antacids, acid blockers, and proton pump inhibitors. These medications are used to relief the patient from pain. In severe cases, surgery may be needed, especially in cases such as: cancers, fibroids, ectopic pregnancies, or kidney problems.
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