Pain in Lower Left Abdomen: 14 Causes

Home to the last part of the colon is the lower left side of the abdomen, and for some women, it is in the left ovary. Minor pain in this area is generally not worrisome and may clear up on its own in few days. If having pain which is associated to an accident or […]
Home to the last part of the colon is the lower left side of the abdomen, and for some women, it is in the left ovary. Minor pain in this area is generally not worrisome and may clear up on its own in few days.

If having pain which is associated to an accident or injury, local emergency services should be contacted right away. Medical attention should be sought immediately if feeling pressure or pain in chest.

Someone should be asked to help in getting to urgent care or an emergency room if having:

  • fever
  • severe tenderness in the affected area
  • swelling of the abdomen
  • bloody stools
  • persistent nausea and vomiting
  • unexplained weight loss
  • skin that looks yellow (jaundice)

One of the most common causes is diverticulitis

In many cases, continuous pain specific to the lower left side of the abdomen is caused due to diverticulitis.

Small pouches created from pressure on weak spots in the colon are known as diverticula. After the age of 40 diverticula are even more common. Swelling and infection can cause diverticulitis in case of tearing of the pouch.

Other symptoms may include:

  • fever
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • abdominal tenderness

Constipation or diarrhea can be a sign of diverticulitis which are less common to have.

For mild diverticulitis, responding well to rest, a change in diet and antibiotics is shown by most people. Surgery might be needed for some people if the condition is severe or continues to return.

 

 

 

Other common causes – lower abdominal pain

Below are some of the most common reasons for pain on any side of the lower abdomen.

Gas

Normal states can be when passing gas and belching. Throughout the digestive tract gas can be found, from stomach to rectum. The normal outcome of swallowing and digestion is gas.

Gas can be due to:

  • swallowing more air than usual
  • overeating
  • smoking
  • chewing gum
  • being unable to fully digest some foods
  • eating gas-producing foods
  • having a disruption of the bacteria in the colon

Gas usually isn’t critical. Doctor should be consulted if gas is persistent or goes along with other symptoms, such as:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • unintentional weight loss
  • heartburn
  • blood in the stool

Indigestion

Indigestion generally occurs after eating. Acid is made by the stomach when eating which can irritate esophagus, stomach, or bowel. The pain is usually in the upper part of the abdomen but in rare cases the lower abdomen may also be affected.

Indigestion is generally not severe, and most people have had the discomfort, pain, or burning sensation that goes along with it.

Other symptoms may include:

  • heartburn
  • feeling full or bloated
  • belching or passing gas
  • nausea

Doctor should be consulted if indigestion continues or worsens.

 

Hernia

The outcome of an internal organ or other body part pushing through the muscle or tissue surrounding it is known as hernia. In the abdomen or groin, a lump or bulge may occur with some hernias.

Other symptoms may include:

  • increasing size of the bulge
  • increasing pain at the site
  • pain when lifting
  • a dull ache
  • a feeling of fullness

With each kind of hernia, different symptoms go along. For example, a bulge is not developed by hiatal hernias

The exact cause depends on the kind of hernia. Serious problems may be caused by hernia, so doctor should be contacted if suspecting to have one.

Kidney stones

Problems is started to cause generally by kidney stone when it moves around inside the kidney or into ureter, the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder.

Severe pain in the side and back, under ribs may then be caused by the stone. The pain may also come in stages and get better or worse from one time to the next, as the stone moves through urinary tract.

Below may also be experienced:

  • urine that is pink, red, brown, cloudy, or smelly
  • urination that is painful or happening more often
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fever or chills

A single cause of a kidney stone is not there. Risk may be increased by some things, like someone in family is having a stone. Doctor should be consulted if having symptoms that are worrisome.

Shingles

The varicella-zoster virus sits quietly in the body if having a history of chicken pox. The virus can develop up again in the future as shingles. The risk is increased with the growing age, usually after age 50.

A painful rash can be caused by the shingles infection that looks like a stripe of blisters wrapping around one side of body. Sometimes the rash can come up on the neck or face. Pain is experienced by some people but no rash.

Other symptoms may include:

  • burning, numbness, or tingling
  • sensitivity to touch
  • blisters that break open and form scabs
  • itching

Chances of getting shingles can be lowered with the shingles vaccine. Doctor should be contacted if getting shingles. Early treatment can shorten the infection and chances of having other problems can be lowered.

 

 

Causes affecting women only

Women are only affected by some causes of lower left abdominal pain. These conditions may be more critical or require medical attention. In these cases the pain can also occur on right side of abdomen.

Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea)

Before and during menstrual period, generally cramps occur. A minor annoyance to something that interferes with daily activities may be a range in which the pain falls, menstrual cramps usually aren’t serious.

See the doctor if:

  • cramps interfering with daily activities
  • symptoms getting worse over time
  • Aged older than 25 and cramps have started to get more severe

 

Endometriosis

Tissue that generally lines the inside of uterus also grows outside of the uterus in endometriosis which can cause abdominal pain and also leading to infertility.

Some other symptoms may include:

  • painful menstrual cramps that may get worse with time
  • pain with sex
  • painful bowel movements or urination
  • heavy menstrual periods
  • spotting between periods

The cause of endometriosis is not known. Doctor should be consulted when symptoms are severe and interfere with daily activities.

Ovarian cyst

A sac filled with fluid inside or on the surface of an ovary is known as an ovarian cyst which are part of a woman’s normal menstrual cycle.

Symptoms are not developed in most cysts and they go away without treatment in a few months. Discomfort may be caused by a large cyst which may also press on bladder and causing to urinate more often.

Serious problems may be caused by a cyst that ruptures (breaks open), such as severe pain or internal bleeding.

Doctor should be consulted or medical help should be sought right away if experiencing:

  • sudden, severe abdominal pain
  • pain with fever or vomiting
  • signs of shock, such as cold and clammy skin, rapid breathing, lightheaded, or weakness

Ovarian torsion

The ovary to change position in a woman’s body may be caused by large ovarian cysts which raises the risk of ovarian torsion that is a painful twisting of the ovary that can cut off blood supply. The affect can also be on the fallopian tubes.

Ovarian torsion is more possible to occur with pregnancy or the usage of hormones to promote ovulation.

Ovarian torsion isn’t common but when it occurs, it’s generally during a woman’s reproductive years. Doctor should be consulted if feeling a sudden severe pain in abdomen with vomiting. To untwist the ovary or remove it, surgery of often required.

Ectopic pregnancy

A fertilized egg implants itself before it reaches the uterus in ectopic pregnancy which generally happens inside the fallopian tubes connecting the ovary to the uterus. Symptoms might or might not be there with an ectopic pregnancy.

Symptoms that may be included in addition to abdominal pain are:

  • a missed period and other pregnancy signs
  • vaginal bleeding
  • watery discharge
  • discomfort with urination or bowel movements
  • shoulder pain at the tip

Doctor should be consulted if having above symptoms and pregnancy might be suspected, even if pregnancy test is negative and it’s still very early.

Rupture of an ectopic pregnancy is serious and surgery is required to repair the fallopian tube. Medical help should be sought right away if:

  • feeling sick or dizzy
  • feeling faint
  • looking very pale

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

An infection of the reproduction system in women is known as PID which is commonly caused by sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), like chlamydia and gonorrhea, but other kinds of infections can also lead to PID.

Symptoms may or may not present with PID.

Symptoms that may be included in addition to abdominal pain are:

  • fever
  • vaginal discharge with a bad odor
  • pain or bleeding with sex
  • a burning sensation with urination
  • bleeding between periods

Doctor should be consulted if both partners have been exposed to an STD or if having any genital symptoms, such as an unusual sore or discharge.

 

 

 

 

 

Inguinal hernia

The outcome of fat or a portion of the small intestine pushing through a weak area in a man’s lower abdomen is known as inguinal hernia. This kind of hernia is found less in women.

Some symptoms may include:

  • a small bulge on the side of the groin that may get bigger over the period of time and usually goes away when laying down
  • straining, lifting, coughing, or during physical activity can make the pain in the groin worse
  • weakness, heaviness, burning, or aching in the groin
  • a swollen or enlarged scrotum

Serious problems can be caused due to this type of hernia. Medical help should be sought immediately if having:

  • extreme tenderness or redness at the bulge site
  • sudden pain which gets worse and continues
  • problems passing gas or having a bowel movement
  • nausea and vomiting
  • fever

 

Testicular torsion

The rotation of testicles occurs in testicular torsion which lowers blood flow to the testicles and severe pain and swelling are caused. The cause of this condition is not known. Testicular torsion can occur in any male, but most often it happens in boys aged 12 to 16.

Some symptoms may include:

  • sudden, severe scrotum pain and swelling
  • abdominal pain
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • painful urination
  • fever

Testicular torsion is very critical. Medical help should be sought right away if having sudden or severe pain in testicles. If the pain goes away on its own, doctor will still be required to seen right away. Damage may be prevented through surgery to the testicle and preserving ability to have children.

 

 

When to see the doctor

If worried about abdominal pain and it has lasted more than a few days then it is time to see the doctor. Until then, attention should be paid to pain and if anything is easing it should be seen. Listen to the body and doctor should be consulted sooner rather than later if the pain continues.

 

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