Pain in the lower abdomen usually means pain below your navel.
It’s often associated with a digestive problem like an upset stomach, but not always—so you shouldn’t ignore new or unexpected pain.
Your lower abdomen is made up of several vital organs, including the bladder, uterus, and ovaries, so any severe or long-lasting pain should be investigated by a doctor.
But if you know the cause of the pain, you can take appropriate action.
Here are the common causes of lower abdominal pain.
Because of pain
Your small intestine, large intestine and rectum are in the lower abdomen. Any condition affecting these organs can cause pain in the area. This also includes:
- Intolerance of any food
- Diverticulitis (a condition that affects the large intestine)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Peritonitis (when the inner lining of the abdomen becomes infected)
- Bowel obstruction (blockage in the small or large intestine)
- Kidney stone
- kidney infection
- colon cancer
Constipation is a common condition that can cause uncomfortable, cramping pain in the lower abdomen.It can be the result of eating too many processed foods, an inactive lifestyle (not enough exercise) or not drinking enough water and eating a low-fiber diet.
Sometimes, constipation can be a sign of a serious medical condition like bowel cancer.
If you have constipation, you can usually treat it at home by taking a daily walk, drinking plenty of fluids, and eating high-fiber foods such as brown rice, lentils, beans or wholemeal bread.
Fiber is not digested, but it helps move food through your intestines. It can also help lower or control your cholesterol.If your symptoms persist, a pharmacist or doctor will be able to help you.
Gastroenteritis (sometimes called the stomach flu) is another common cause of lower abdominal pain.It is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection (tummy bug) that causes irritation and inflammation in the lining of your stomach and intestines, leading to pain.
Along with abdominal pain, it can also cause diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite, mild fever and pain in the limbs.
There is no specific treatment for gastroenteritis, but you can ease your symptoms by taking some rest and drinking plenty of water (or fruit juice) to avoid dehydration.
You can take a common pain reliever like paracetamol for stomach pain.Symptoms usually get better within a week.
Lower abdominal pain can also be caused by an abdominal hernia.
This is a bulge or swelling in or around your abdomen. They develop when part of your bowel pushes out of the muscle layer covering your abdomen, sometimes causing pain in your abdomen or groin.
Hernias do not always require treatment, but they can cause serious complications.
If you think you may have a hernia, see a doctor.In men, lower abdominal pain can be a symptom of a UTI or a twisted testicle (testicular torsion).
Testicular torsion occurs when the testicle twists inside the scrotum. It usually causes sudden and severe pain in the testicles and abdomen, and your testicles may swell.
If you experience this type of pain, seek emergency medical treatment.When and when to see a doctor about lower abdominal pain
Chronic medical conditions like IBS and IBD must be treated by a doctor.
More sudden conditions, such as kidney stones and blockages in the small or large intestine, also need to be diagnosed and treated by a doctor.
When and when to see a doctor about lower abdominal pain
Chronic medical conditions like IBS and IBD should be treated by a doctor.
More urgent conditions such as kidney stones and blockages in the small or large intestine also need to be diagnosed and treated by a doctor.