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    What causes lower abdominal pain in females?

    Female abdominal pain can be caused by several different conditions, ranging from small infections to intestinal disorders. Discover the causes of abdominal pain in women, broken down by each area of the tummy

    What causes lower abdominal pain in women?

    Last updated: Thu, Nov 4, 2021

    Female abdominal pain can be caused by several different conditions, ranging from small infections to intestinal disorders. Discover the causes of abdominal pain in women, across each part of your tummy and when it’s best to speak to a doctor.

    There are lots of reasons why women of all ages might experience abdominal pain. It’s extremely common and generally easy to manage if you know the cause.

    ‘Most lower abdominal pain in females isn’t a sign of a serious condition, but occasionally there can be something that needs investigating. If you do experience this type of pain, it’s helpful to familiarise yourself with the area of the tummy that hurts and how to manage the different types of pain,’ says Dr Rhianna McClymont, Lead GP at Livi.

    The lower abdomen refers to the part of your tummy below the belly button. Pain in that area might also be referred to as pelvic pain.

    What causes central lower abdominal pain?

    A woman’s lower abdomen has two main organs including the uterus (womb) and part of the bowel. Here are some of the potential causes of pain in this area.

    Period pain

    Period pain is usually a crampy, dull or tight pain in the middle of the lower abdomen, sometimes spreading further into the lower back. It can be very uncomfortable, but many people find they can manage it with a hot water bottle and painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen.

    Urinary tract infection (UTI)

    A UTI or water infection can also cause lower abdominal pain in women, as well as urinary symptoms like burning when you pee, or needing to go to the toilet very frequently or urgently.

    Mild urinary tract infections like cystitis often clear up on their own if you drink plenty of fluids, but more persistent UTIs might need a short course of antibiotics, which a GP can prescribe. More severe UTIs can affect the kidneys, and might cause lower back pain on either or both sides, and make you feel generally unwell, sometimes with flu-like symptoms.

    It’s important to speak to a doctor as soon as possible if your symptoms are more severe or if you have recurring UTI symptoms.

    Pelvic inflammatory disease

    Infections in the reproductive system can affect the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. An untreated infection in the reproductive tract can become very serious and lead to long-term problems, so needs to be treated by a doctor.

    These kinds of infections are often caused by an underlying sexually transmitted infection (STI), so if you’re sexually active, make sure you have regular sexual health screening.

    Pain during sex, spotting or discoloured, smelly discharge can be other symptoms of an STI, or infection of the reproductive system.

    What causes pain in the lower left abdomen?

    ‘Any of the causes of one-sided abdominal pain listed above, can just affect the left side, but there are some reasons that the pain might be only on the left – particularly because the bowel is closer to the end of the digestive system,’ says Dr Rhianna McClymont.

    Gas (flatulence)

    A common cause for pain on your left side is trapped or excessive wind and bloating. Gas builds up in the digestive tract by swallowing air or as a by-product of gut bacteria breaking down foods. Having some gas is perfectly normal, but having a lot of wind could be a sign of an underlying health issue.

    Polyps or diverticular disease

    Diverticular disease can affect the lower left side too, or can cause more generalised pain. Polyps are small wart-like lumps in the bowel, and diverticular disease is a condition where the bowel forms tiny pockets that become inflamed and painful.

    Diverticulitis and polyps can both cause diarrhoea and sometimes bleeding in the bowel. If you notice [blood in your poo, or if your poo looks black and tarry](https://www.livi.co.uk/your-health/10-things-your-poo-can-tell-you-about-your-health/), it’s important to speak to a doctor straight away.

    What causes pain in the lower right abdomen?


    The right lower abdomen contains the part of the bowel where the small intestine meets the large intestine. The appendix is a small part of the bowel which is found where the intestines join, and this can sometimes get inflamed, swollen, and infected. Appendicitis is a painful intestinal disorder that causes intense lower right abdominal pain – although the pain might also spread across the lower abdomen.

    Causes of general lower abdominal pain

    Muscular pain

    Muscular pain can account for some cases of lower abdominal pain. A strained muscle from exercise or an injury can be very painful, affect one or both sides, or be more generalised across the lower abdomen.

    Sometimes it’s possible to work out how or when muscular pain started, and this makes it more manageable with regular painkillers and lots of rest.


    Pregnancy causes major changes in a female’s body shape and places a huge amount of strain on the organs and muscles of the lower abdomen. As well as general discomfort in this area, women often experience pain from Braxton Hicks contractions during the later stages of pregnancy, as the muscles prepare for childbirth.

    Source : www.livi.co.uk

    Pelvic pain in women: 15 possible causes

    Ovarian cysts, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids can cause pelvic pain. Learn what else causes pelvic pain in females and when to see a doctor.

    What causes pelvic pain in women?

    Medically reviewed by Mia Armstrong, MD — Written by Jon Johnson — Updated on December 8, 2021

    Pelvic pain affects the lowest part of the abdomen, between the belly button and groin. In some people, pelvic pain may signify menstrual cramps, ovulation, or a gastrointestinal issue, such as food intolerance. It can also develop due to a more serious problem.

    Sometimes, pelvic pain indicates an infection or issue with the reproductive system or other organs in the area. When this is the case, a person may need to see a doctor.

    This article looks at 15 possible causes of pelvic pain.


    1. Menstrual pain and cramps

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    Menstrual cramping is a common cause of pelvic pain.

    According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), pain is the most common symptom of all menstrual disorders.

    Over half of people who menstruate will experience some pain for at least 1–2 days each cycle.

    Menstrual cramping will typically occur immediately before a person starts their period, as the uterus contracts and sheds its lining. The pain may feel similar to a muscle spasm or a jabbing pain.

    Using a warm heat pad may relieve the sensation. Over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve), may also help relieve pain.

    In cases of severe pain from menstruation, doctors can recommend other medications.

    Learn more about menstruation here.

    2. Ovulation

    If an individual feels a painful sensation on one side of their pelvis in the middle of their menstrual cycle, they may be experiencing mittelschmerz. Doctors use this German word to describe painful ovulation.

    When a person ovulates, the ovaries release an egg and some other fluid. The egg will then travel down the fallopian tube and into the uterus. The fluid released by the ovary can also enter the abdominal cavity and pelvis, which can cause irritation.

    The discomfort may last for minutes or hours, and it may switch sides of the body, depending on which ovary released the egg. The pain is temporary and requires no specific treatment.

    However, consult a healthcare professional if the pain is sharp or occurs at other times during the menstrual cycle.

    Learn more about ovulation cramps here.

    3. Interstitial cystitis

    It is also possible for an individual to experience ongoing bladder inflammation that has no known cause. The medical term for this is interstitial cystitis, and doctors are currently unsure why it happens.

    Interstitial cystitis can cause pelvic pain and symptoms such as painful urination, needing to urinate frequently, and pain during sex. Treatment often involves managing symptoms as best as possible.

    Learn more about cystitis here.

    4. Cystitis or urinary tract infections

    Cystitis refers to inflammation in the bladder due to a bacterial infection. This happens because vaginal, rectal, or skin bacteria can enter the urethra, a tube that drains urine from the bladder, and travel to the bladder.

    A urinary tract infection (UTI) can occur anywhere in the urinary system, while cystitis occurs only in the bladder.

    Both conditions are common in women. These infections will sometimes clear up without treatment, but a short course of antibiotics will typically treat cystitis and other UTIs.

    Learn how to treat a UTI without antibiotics here.

    5. Sexually transmitted infections

    Pelvic pain may indicate the presence of a sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. STIs occur in people who are sexually active.

    Chlamydia affects around 4 million

    Trusted Source Trusted Source people each year.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also estimates that in 2018, 1.6 million people

    Trusted Source Trusted Source

    had gonorrhea, making it the second most commonly reported bacterial sexually transmitted infection in the United States.

    Along with pelvic pain, other symptoms of STIs may include painful urination, bleeding between periods, and changes in vaginal discharge.

    Anyone experiencing these changes should seek medical advice. A doctor can diagnose a STI and prescribe treatment, usually antibiotics. It is also critical to inform all sexual partners about the infection so they can receive treatment and avoid transmitting it.

    Speak with a healthcare professional about taking precautions to decrease your chances of contracting an STI.

    Learn more about contracting STIs here.

    6. Pelvic inflammatory disease

    Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection in the womb that can damage the surrounding tissue. PID can arise if bacteria from the vagina or cervix enter the womb (uterus) and take hold. It affects approximately 2.5 million

    Trusted Source Trusted Source

    women in the United States.

    While 2006-2016 saw a decrease in incidences of PID, there has been an increase in diagnosis in all populations. However, the incidence of PID is not equal across all groups. A recent study found the rates highest among non-Hispanic Black women and women living in the South of the United States.

    However, the results did not take mitigating factors, such as healthcare coverage, environmental factors, and access to screening, into account.

    Source : www.medicalnewstoday.com

    Lower Abdominal Pain: Causes and When to See a Doctor

    Lower abdominal pain is relatively common, and the cause is not usually serious. However, it could signify an underlying condition. Learn more here.

    Lower Abdominal Pain Explained

    CausesContacting a doctorTreatmentAt-home managementSummary

    Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Kelsey Trull, PA-C Written By Healthgrades Editorial Staff

    Updated on January 26, 2022

    Was this helpful? 994 Twitter Facebook LinkedIn

    Some people refer to abdominal pain as cramps or aches in the belly. You can feel this pain anywhere between the pelvis and the ribs. Lower abdominal pain may occur between the pelvis and belly button.

    Most people find that their abdominal pain goes away on its own and does not last for long. Usually, the causes of abdominal pain are not serious. Common causes include trapped wind, period pain, and urinary tract infections (UTIs).

    However, if the pain is severe or the symptoms persist, seek medical care as soon as possible.

    Read on to learn more about the causes, associated symptoms, and treatment of lower abdominal pain.

    What could cause lower abdominal pain?

    CocoSan/Getty Images

    Some causes of lower abdominal pain may cause the pain to onset differently than others. Causes can include the following conditions and symptoms.

    Sudden and severe lower abdominal pain

    If you experience sudden, agonizing pain in your lower abdomen, you should contact a doctor immediately or go to the emergency room. It may get worse if you do not seek help quickly.

    This sudden, severe pain may result from any of the following.


    According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), appendicitis can cause pain that begins near your belly button and moves gradually to the right side of your lower stomach.

    The pain can come on suddenly. You may be more likely to notice this pain when you are moving around or breathing deeply, and it could wake you up. This type of pain can be severe, and it could get worse in just a few hours.

    If you have appendicitis, this pain may be your only symptom. However, some people also report:

    a loss of appetite nausea or vomiting fever abdominal swelling

    It is important to seek medical care as soon as possible for this type of abdominal pain.

    Learn how doctors diagnose appendicitis here.

    Kidney stones

    According to the Urology Care Foundation, kidney stones can cause a sharp pain that starts in the back or side that often moves to the lower abdomen.

    This pain may come and go as the body attempts to expel the kidney stone.

    Other symptoms you may experience with kidney stones include:

    an urgent need to urinate

    a burning sensation during urination

    blood in the urine nausea and vomiting

    pain at the tip of the penis

    Get 10 facts about kidney stones here.


    In people with diverticulitis, small pouches form and push through weaker spots in the colon wall. The NIDDK says that diverticulitis can cause severe pain that starts suddenly, but the pain may come and go over time.

    The pain that diverticulitis can cause usually affects the lower left side of your abdomen.

    Some other symptoms include:

    constipation diarrhea fever chills nausea and vomiting

    Learn about treatment options for diverticulitis here.


    Sometimes, severe pain in your lower abdomen can happen because of an infection in your stomach and bowel. This is called gastroenteritis.

    Gastroenteritis is not usually serious, but be sure to drink plenty of fluids because you may risk becoming dehydrated.

    Symptoms of viral gastroenteritis might include:

    abdominal pain or cramps

    watery diarrhea nausea or vomiting fever

    Learn more about gastroenteritis here.

    Ulcerative colitis

    Abdominal pain is a common symptom of ulcerative colitis, which is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), like Crohn’s disease. If you have ulcerative colitis, your immune system is attacking your colon.

    Symptoms can vary among people, and some may have different levels of severity. They can also come and go over time.

    Other than abdominal pain, some common symptoms of ulcerative colitis include:

    diarrhea bloody stools fecal urgency

    unexplained weight loss

    fatigue anemia

    Bloating with lower abdominal pain

    If you notice that you are bloated as well as experiencing abdominal pain, it may be happening because of trapped wind. Trapped wind is very common and not serious.

    If you experience abdominal pain with bloating, see a pharmacist. They can recommend over-the-counter (OTC) medications to ease the symptoms of trapped wind.

    If the pain persists or becomes severe, contact your physician.

    Learn more about flatulence here.

    Long-term lower abdominal pain

    If you are experiencing chronic lower abdominal pain that does not go away on its own or with OTC medications, you should seek the advice of a doctor.

    Some common causes of long-term abdominal pain in adults include:

    Source : www.healthgrades.com

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