What is left lower quadrant pain?

Pain in the lower left side of the abdomen is called left lower quadrant pain. It is often related to the digestive tract, but can also be related to conditions of the body wall, skin, blood vessels, urinary tract, or reproductive organs. The area may be tender to the touch or the pain may be severe and the whole abdomen might be rigid.


Severe pain can be a symptom of inflammation of the bowel or bowel obstruction, particularly if constipation is present. Severe pain in women may result from twisting of an ovary (ovarian torsion), rupture of an ovarian cyst, ectopic pregnancy, or pelvic inflammatory disease. Men may experience severe left lower quadrant pain from testicular torsion or injury. Crampy pain may be due to gas, indigestion, inflammation or infection, or it may result from menstrual cramps, endometriosis, or pelvic inflammatory disease in women.

Severe pain that comes in waves may be caused by kidney stones. Trauma to the body wall, hernias, and shingles can also cause left lower quadrant pain. A hernia is a weakening of muscle or tissue that allows organs or other tissues to protrude through it. Shingles is a reactivation of the chickenpox (varicella-zoster) virus involving a painful, blistering rash that usually occurs on only one side of the body.

Pain that is sudden in onset, severe, persistent, recurring, or worsening, or that is accompanied by other serious symptoms is typically the most worrisome.

Left lower quadrant pain can be associated with serious medical conditions. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you stop having bowel movements, have bloody stools, are vomiting blood, have severe pain or a rigid abdomen, have been injured, had a sudden onset of sharp pain, have cancer, or might be pregnant and have abdominal pain or vaginal bleeding.

If your left lower quadrant pain is persistent or causes you concern, seek prompt medical care, particularly if it is worsening instead of improving. If you have bladder symptoms, fever, decreased appetite, or unintended weight loss, you should also seek prompt medical care.

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with left lower quadrant pain?

Left lower quadrant pain may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Typically, the symptoms are related to the digestive tract, but they may also involve other body systems.

Digestive symptoms that may occur along with left lower quadrant pain

Left lower quadrant pain may accompany other symptoms affecting the di... Read more about left lower quadrant painsymptoms

CAUSES

What causes left lower quadrant pain?

Often, left lower quadrant pain is related to conditions of the digestive tract; however, it can also be related to conditions of the body wall, skin, blood vessels, urinary tract, or reproductive organs.

Digestive tract causes of left lower quadrant pain

Left lower quadrant pain may be caused by conditions of the digestive tract including:

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 2, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Digestive System


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