What is lower abdominal pain?

Pain in the lower abdomen 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.

Lower abdominal pain can be extremely uncomfortable and with that comes severe anxiety. Patients and parents become worried with the onset of lower abdominal pain.

Severe pain can be a symptom of inflammation, appendicitis, bowel obstruction, or bowel perforation. 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 lower abdominal pain from testicular torsion or injury. Crampy pain may be due to gas, indigestion, inflammation or infection, or, in women, from menstrual cramps or endometriosis.

Severe pain that comes in waves may be caused by kidney stones. Trauma to the body wall, hernias, and shingles can also cause lower abdominal 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 often forms a stripe across the affected area of skin.

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

Lower abdominal pain can be caused by 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 lower abdominal pain is persistent or causes you concern, seek prompt medical care, particularly if it is worsening instead of improving. If you have bladder symptoms, a fever, decreased appetite, or unexplained weight loss, you should also seek prompt medical care.


SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with lower abdominal pain?

Lower abdominal pain may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms are frequently associated with the digestive tract, but they may also involve other body systems.

Digestive tract symptoms that may occur along with lower abdominal pain

Lower abdominal pain may accompany other symptoms affecting the digesti... Read more about lower abdominal painsymptoms

CAUSES

What causes lower abdominal pain?

Often, lower abdominal pain is related to conditions of the digestive tract, but can also be related to conditions of the body wall, skin, blood vessels, urinary tract, or reproductive organs.

Digestive tract causes of lower abdominal pain

Lower abdominal pain may be caused by digestive tract conditions including:

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 6, 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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