Abdominal pain is a common experience for many people and can be felt by people of all ages. There can be a variety of reasons behind pains that are felt in various parts of the stomach. Such pains can result from muscle inflammations in the abdominal region or problems in the bowel such as constipation. The symptoms can vary from sharp and strong pain in the lower left abdomen to mild, yet persistently uncomfortable sensations. As the reproductive organs, including ovaries, tubes and the womb are located in the lower left abdomen, the pain in this region is more common in women than in men. Due to any infections or disease related to these organs, sharp and persistent pains can be experienced from the lower area of abdomen, specifically in the left region. Some of the most common causes of lower left abdominal pain include the following:
Causes of Lower Left Abdominal Pain
Some of the most common causes of lower left abdominal pain include the following:
- Appendicitis – This results from an inflammation or infection of the appendix and will cause severe pain in the lower abdomen.
- Ectopic pregnancy - During pregnancy many women experience mild pain in the lower stomach area due to enlargement of the uterus. If the pain is prolonged and not a mild discomfort, then immediate consultation with a doctor is required as the case may be an ectopic pregnancy, where the embryo is embedded outside the womb and, often, in the tubes.
- Diverticulitis - This is a disease that occurs in the large intestine and will cause a gentle pain in the lower left abdomen. It is mostly common in people above the age of 60 years.
- Crohn’s Disease - This is a chronic disease which affects the gastro intestinal tract. Infections and inflammations can cause abdominal pain in the lower region.
- Hernia - This occurs in some people when the abdominal wall gets ruptured. Hernias can be caused by several conditions that can put stress on the abdominal cavity. Symptoms start with normally painless swellings that can lead to painful situations that need immediate surgery.
- Bladder infection – This condition is more common in women than in men and attributable to bacterial infections.
- Kidney stone - Occurs mostly in men and can be very painful. Some studies indicate that this is a hereditary disease. Other factors such as consumption of acidic foods and water contaminated with high mineral contents as well as low fluid consumption can contribute to kidney stones.
- Food poisoning - This is caused by eating contaminated food, which results in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Food poisoning symptoms can last between 24-48 hours and in some cases needs medical attention.
- Gastroenteritis - A condition that causes irritation and inflammation of the stomach and includes symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and abdominal cramps.
Lower Left Abdominal Pain in Men
Lower left abdominal pain in men can have various causes which can be difficult to diagnose easily. If the symptoms are persistent, it is important to contact a doctor as there may be serious underlying causes. Ignoring or neglecting these symptoms can allow adverse conditions to aggravate further. Some of the most common causes of pain in lower stomach areas include prostrate and urinary infections.
- Prostrate: Prostrate infections can cause swelling and inflammation of the prostate gland. The cause of the infection can be bacterial or virus, although bacterial attacks are the most common. Prostatodynia can also cause sharp pains in the prostrate gland.
- Urinary infection: This is a bacterial infection and men who are suffering from enlarged prostrate or kidney stones are more prone to the infection.
- Varicocele: This condition results from the compression of the testicle which hinders the flow of blood from the veins. This usually leads to severe pain.
Diagnosis of Lower Left Abdominal Pain
Diagnosis of the various causes of abdominal pain has to be done on a case by case basis. This is because there is a large number of root causes behind such pain symptoms. Therefore, careful medical examination is the best method for preliminary diagnosis of any stomach pains including lower left abdominal pain. Having a proper understanding of the nature of the pain is also important when identifying what may be causing it.
- Nature of the pain - It is important to observe how the pain begins. For example, the disruption of blood supply to the colon can cause sudden and severe abdominal pain. The place it begins is also important in the diagnostic process as cases of appendicitis and diverticulitis can begin with lower abdominal pain.
- The duration of the pain - The duration of the pain may be instantaneous, lasting a short time or prolonged over a month or year. In certain cases chronic pain can last for many years and go untreated.
- What worsens the pain - Pain due to inflammation will be aggravated by sneezing, coughing and harsh movements. Certain pains will worsen with intake of food or fluids. Other pains aggravate when sitting for a prolonged period of time.
Treatment of Lower Left Abdominal Pain
If you are experiencing severe pain in the abdomen, then you must consult a doctor immediately. It can be treated accordingly, with proper diagnosis. In complicated situations, the doctor may run additional tests and scan the ovarian, uterus, or X-ray the stomach cavity area for proper diagnosis. Usually, pain in the lower left abdomen can be treated with antibiotics and other medications. But depending on the condition diagnosed, surgical intervention may also be required in some cases. Due to the many vital organs in the lower abdomen region, it is advisable to seek medical attention if pain lasts more than 24 hours or severe, sharp pains are experienced.