Lower Abdominal Pain Symptoms
Lower abdominal pain can feel different depending on the underlying cause. Some types of pain are spread throughout the lower abdomen. Others may feel specific and pointed.
Symptoms may differ depending on the reason for the pain. Lower abdominal pain is a symptom in and of itself. Its not a condition.
Right Side Of The Abdomen
The upper right side of your abdomen contains the gallbladder, liver, and first part of the small intestine.
The gallbladder is a small sac that stores bile made by the liver. The duodenum, known as the first portion of the small intestine, is where food empties from the stomach into the small intestine.
The center right side of the abdomen contains the ascending colon and the transverse colon. Food then passes from the ascending colon to the transverse colon.
The cecum of the large intestine with the appendix and the small intestine are in the lower right side of the abdomen. The cecum is the first part of the large intestine that the end of the small intestine connects to.
Some experts believe the appendix plays a role in the immune system. Others think it has no purpose.
If your doctor performs a physical exam and then suspects a medical condition is causing your abdominal bloating or pain, theyll run various medical tests.
The types of tests they order will depend on your medical history and physical exam results.
Some common tests for abdominal problems include the following:
Investigations To Diagnose Appendicitis
White Blood Cell Count -Increased WBC count indicates presence of infection.
Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate – The ESR is increased. The blood is collected in a special test tube. The ESR is a time taken by cells in blood to settle at the bottom of the tube. The faster ESR suggest presence of infection and tissue inflammation.
Electrolyte and Urea-In most cases electrolytes and blood urea nitrogen level are normal. Occasionally patient may suffer with severe dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities because of severe nausea and vomiting. In such cases abnormal level of sodium, potassium and blood urea nitrogen is found in blood examination.
C Reactive Protein – CRP is increased in patient suffering with most infection such as appendicitis.
Ultrasound Scan- Ultrasound scan images show soft tissue abnormalities. Infected appendix is seen as a swollen finger like organ close to cecum and terminal part of small intestine. Ultrasound image can differentiate ruptured appendix and surrounding issue inflammation.
Laparoscopy- Laparoscopy study involves skin incision and then insertion of tubular camera known as laparoscope in to abdominal cavity. Surgeon then can see the color image of appendix on television. The study is performed in outpatient or hospital surgery room.
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Sudden And Severe Onset Stomach Pain
When mid-abdominal pain occurs suddenly especially in people with a history of peptic ulcer disease or in those who take excessive amounts of aspirin or NSAIDs it may be a sign of a perforation that could require emergency surgery. A tear could leak air and gastric content which can lead to a condition called peritonitis, and eventually, septic shock. Surgery would be required to seal the perforation.
Signs And Symptoms Of Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain may take several different forms. In addition to how severe it is, abdominal pain can be described in the following ways:
Generalized Pain This refers to pain felt in more than half of your abdominal area, and is typical of stomach viruses, indigestion, or gas as the cause of your pain.
Cramping This type of pain come and goes, or changes in its severity or perceived position in your abdomen. Cramping is rarely serious and is typical of gas, passing a stool, or menstruation as the cause of your pain.
Its important to call your doctor if your abdominal pain is so severe that you cant move without feeling more pain, or sit still in a comfortable position.
- Nausea and vomiting that doesnt resolve
- Weight loss
- Abdomen very tender to touch
- Swollen abdomen
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Urinary Tract And Bladder Infections
Symptoms include pain, pressure, and bloating in the lower abdominal area. Most infections also cause painful urination and cloudy, strong-smelling urine.
Crampy Pain With Diarrhea Or Constipation
Lower “crampy” abdominal pain accompanied by bloating and diarrhea or constipation can be signs of irritable bowel syndrome , says Singh. “It’s exceptionally common and affects 15% of the U.S. population, particularly younger women, although it can happen at any age.” Symptoms of IBS can usually be controlled by managing diet, lifestyle, and stress. Medication and counseling may be needed in some cases.
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What Are The Characteristics Of Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain may include any of the following, or a combination of these characteristics:
- bowel obstruction
- causes of heart pain
If you are experiencing abdominal pain, the exact location of the pain and any other symptoms you might have may suggest the cause.
If you feel pain right across your stomach area or low down, its probably coming from your bowel. You may also have bloating and wind. If your stomach cramps have started recently and you also have diarrhoea, the cause is probably gastroenteritis. If you are very ill for example, with chills or a fever you may have a more serious infection such as food poisoning.
If the pain is coming from higher up in your stomach, it could be caused by acid reflux or an ulcer. You might also have heartburn and belching, and the pain might be made worse, or relieved, by food.
If the pain is in the middle of your stomach and extends to your back, it could be a sign of gallstones. Pain in the lower right part of the stomach, along with fever, nausea and vomiting, could be appendicitis.
If the pain is made worse by exercise it could be heart pain. Read more in the chest pain section. If you are experiencing this type of pain, call triple and ask for an ambulance.
Some medicines, such as aspirin and anti-inflammatory and anti-dementia drugs, can cause stomach pain as a side effect.
You can find more information about the underlying causes of abdominal pain here.
How To Deal If You Think Your Have Ibs Or You Already Have Ibs:
If you think IBS is the cause of your stomach cramps and gas consult your doctor. Your doctor with review your symptoms and may need some laboratory investigations to confirm your condition.
REMEMBER: you cannot diagnose yourself for the first time with IBS, you have to see a doctor.
Read more about How is IBS diagnosed
If you already have IBS, then it is probably the cause of your stomach cramps and gas, try to:
- Stay away from diets that trigger your IBS and cause Gas plus other specific foods that may play a role in your IBS like FODMAPs and grassy foods.
- Eat slowly, move after eating.
- Take over the counter medications for stomach cramps and gas .
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After The Visit To The Doctor
Do not expect an instant cure or immediate diagnosis. Multiple office visits and tests are often necessary to establish the diagnosis and/or to exclude serious illnesses. Doctors may start you on a medication before a firm diagnosis is made. Your response to that medication sometimes may provide your doctor with valuable clues as to the cause. Therefore, it is important for you to take the medication prescribed.
Notify your doctor if your symptoms worsen, if medications are not working, or if you think you are having side effects. Do not self-medicate without discussing it with your doctor. Even the best physician never bats 1000, so do not hesitate to openly discuss with your doctor referrals for second or third opinions if the diagnosis cannot be firmly established and the pain persists. Self-education is important, but make sure what you read comes from credible sources.
When To Contact A Medical Professional
Get medical help right away or call your local emergency number if you:
- Are currently being treated for cancer
- Are unable to pass stool, especially if you are also vomiting
- Are vomiting blood or have blood in your stool
- Have chest, neck, or shoulder pain
- Have sudden, sharp abdominal pain
- Have pain in, or between, your shoulder blades with nausea
- Have tenderness in your belly, or your belly is rigid and hard to the touch
- Are pregnant or could be pregnant
- Had a recent injury to your abdomen
- Have difficulty breathing
- Abdominal discomfort that lasts 1 week or longer
- Abdominal pain that does not improve in 24 to 48 hours, or becomes more severe and frequent and occurs with nausea and vomiting
- Bloating that persists for more than 2 days
- Burning sensation when you urinate or frequent urination
- Diarrhea for more than 5 days
- Fever, over 100°F for adults or 100.4°F for children, with pain
- Prolonged poor appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
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Do I Need To Visit The Emergency Room
Mild symptoms of abdominal pain such as gas pain, indigestion, constipation, and menstrual cramps are temporary and hardly cause any complications, but a severe abdominal pain that is persistent requires immediate medical treatment. Abdominal pain associated with fever, vomiting blood, bloody stools, as well as abnormal vaginal discharge should not be ignored and an appointment with your doctor should be made to find the underlying cause.
Diagnosing Cramps With No Period
Always call a doctor if you have cramps that wonât go away, whether or not you have your period.
Your doctor will want to know if your pain is sudden or ongoing. The more details you can give, the faster they may be able to diagnose and treat you. Youâll be asked questions about your symptoms and your periods.
Your doctor may do tests or procedures to learn the cause of your cramps. If your doctor suspects it is related to your uterus, or ovaries, common tests are:
Laparoscopy, a type of exploratory surgery to look at the structures inside your pelvic area, including your uterus, cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes.
Your doctor may refer you to someone who specialize in stomach or intestinal disorders or a urologist if they suspect that cramps are caused by any of those areas .
Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Pelvic Pain.”
Glencoe Regional Health Services: “Possible causes of ovarian pain.”
St. Luke’s Health System: “Ruptured Ovarian Cyst.”
Kruszka, P.S. American Family Physician, July 15, 2010.
KidsHealth: “Pregnancy Calendar: Week 4.”
KidsHealth: “Pregnancy Calendar: Week 5.”
WomensHealth.gov: “Irritable Bowel Syndrome Fact Sheet.”
Center for Young Women’s Health: “Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.”
Christiana Care Health System: “Pelvic-Floor Muscle Dysfunction.”
UpToDate: âPatient information: Chronic pelvic pain in women .
UpToDate: Patient information: Irritable bowel syndrome .â
American Cancer Society: âWhat Is Ovarian Cancer?â
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Middle Of The Abdomen
The upper middle part of the abdomen contains the liver, the cardiac region of the stomach, part of the body of the stomach, the pyloric region of the stomach, and the pancreas.
The liver filters blood and creates bile, which is a substance that helps in the breakdown and absorption of fat in the foods you eat.
The cardiac region of the stomach is where food enters from the esophagus.
The pyloric region of the stomach is the last part of the stomach before food enters into the duodenum of the small intestine.
The pancreas is a large glandular organ that releases digestive enzymes and hormones.
The lower middle part of the abdomen contains the urinary bladder, rectum, and anus.
The urinary bladder is the organ that collects urine for excretion out of the body through the urethra.
The rectum goes into the anus, the final section of the large intestine that carries stool for excretion from the body.
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 can be extremely uncomfortable and with that comes severe . Patients and parents become worried with the onset of lower abdominal pain.
Severe pain can be a symptom of inflammation, , , or . Severe pain in women may result from twisting of an ovary , rupture of an ovarian , 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, , inflammation or infection, or, in women, from menstrual cramps or .
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 is a weakening of muscle or tissue that allows organs or other tissues to protrude through it. Shingles is a reactivation of the 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.
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Wheres Your Abdominal Bloating And Pain
Pain in different areas of the abdomen can mean different things.
Abdominal pain can be anywhere between the chest and the pelvis. People often call it a stomachache. The pain can also be:
Causes of abdominal bloating and pain can vary from mild to severe. Most of the time, abdominal bloating and pain occur due to:
This kind of bloating or pain is usually normal and will go away within two hours.
In cases of the stomach flu, you may feel intense pain or bloating that comes and goes before each episode of vomiting or diarrhea. Stomach viruses usually go away with rest and home care.
This guide lists the organs associated with different locations of abdominal bloating or pain:
Home Remedies For Immediate Relief
If your stomach spasms are bothering you, there are ways you can get immediate relief or treat them at home. Some at-home treatments will treat the underlying cause of muscle spasms, while others relax the stomach muscles so that they stop spasming.
If youre having stomach spasms in pregnancy, talk to your doctor before trying any home remedies. Some home treatments may not be safe during pregnancy.
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What Is Abdominal Pain Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention
Most people experience abdominal discomfort or pain at some point in their lives. Abdominal pain is usually felt in the part of the trunk below the ribs, above the pelvis and the groin. It can range in intensity from a mild ache to severe, disabling pain.
While abdominal pain isnt normal, it isnt necessarily serious, and it often resolves itself.
Right Or Left Lower Abdominal Pain In Women
Sudden onset of right lower abdominal pain or left lower abdominal pain can indicate a ruptured ovarian cyst in a woman who is mid-cycle. This kind of pain could also be a sign of ovarian torsion, which is the rotation of the ovary and part of the fallopian tube, or possibly a twisting of the ovary due to compromised blood supply. Seek treatment immediately at the nearest emergency department. Surgery to remove the ovary may be required.
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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Causing Lower Abdominal Pain
Pelvic inflammatory disease involves infection of female reproductive organs. The pelvic organ infection causes lower abdominal pain. Pelvic inflammation is observed in uterus, fallopian tube and ovaries. Pelvic inflammatory disease in male is caused by inflammation or infection of prostate. Moderate to severe lower abdominal pain is felt above and below pubic symphysis when pain is caused by diseases of uterus and prostate. Lower abdominal pain on left or right side is caused by diseases of ovary and fallopian tube.
Lower abdominal pain caused by diseases of female reproductive is often referred to lower back. Pain intensity is increased during intercourse. Pain is felt during act of urination. Intensity of lower abdominal pain caused by diseases of pelvic organ increases when urinary bladder muscle is contracting to urinate.
- Pain- Mild to severe lower abdominal pain is felt in midline on the right and left side.
Severe Stomach Pain After Eating A Fatty Meal
If you find yourself doubled over after eating a high-fat meal, you may be experiencing a gallbladder attack. “Women are especially prone to gallbladder disease,” says Hardeep Singh, MD, gastroenterologist from St. Joseph Hospital, Orange, CA. “Overweight women in their 40s are at highest risk.” The pain becomes worse after eating, lasts 30 to 60 minutes, and may come and go, becoming more constant and severe over time, says Singh.
Related Conditions Of Abdominal Pain
Some of the most common conditions associated with abdominal pain include the following:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome This condition is characterized by symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, and bloating.
Constipation If you arent having regular bowel movements, you may feel bloated and full and experience sharp gas pains in your abdomen.
Peptic Ulcer When a sore develops in the lining of your stomach or upper small intestine, you may experience a burning sensation similar to hunger pangs, along with nausea, vomiting, or heartburn.
Pancreatitis Inflammation of your pancreas may cause sharp, severe pain in the upper middle area of your abdomen, along with nausea, vomiting, or fever. This condition can be either acute or chronic.