Diagnosing Lower Abdominal Pain In Women
When a woman experiences lower abdominal pain and goes to the doctor, she will be asked a series of questions about her period, urination habits, and bowel movements. She will also be asked to describe her general health and any symptoms that might seem unrelated, such as fever or fatigue. In some cases, the doctor may deem it appropriate to ask a woman about her family, career, and sex life.
Once the initial chat with the doctor is complete, a physical exam will take place. The doctor will check the abdomen and may even conduct an internal examination. Often physicians will ask for a urine sample, which can detect infection. In cases where a woman mentions vaginal discharge, the doctor may take a vaginal swab.
Here are some other possible tests:
- Gynaecologicalâ This could include swabs, cervical smears, or pelvic ultrasounds. Special blood tests for ovarian cancer can also be performed.
- Endoscopic examâ An examination of the bowel may occur if a colonic cause is suspected.
- CT scanâ This is a computerized topography scan that can detect abdominal abnormalities.
- Ultrasoundâ Can investigate urinary causes
Possible Causes Of Abdominal Pain In Women
Abdominal pain can be achy, crampy, dull, intermittent or may be sharp. It is also called stomachache. Usually women experience many types of abdominal pain, which may be only left-sided abdominal pain, or lower abdominal pain etc. A woman may experience abdominal pain due to various reasons. Some of the causes of abdominal pain in women may be harmless, however others can be life threatening.
Why Does My Stomach Hurt
There are numerous reasons for abdominal pain. It can come from any of the organs in your belly gallbladder, pancreas, liver, stomach and intestines or the abdominal wall the outer shell of the body. Sometimes you feel the pain in your belly, but its actually coming from the chest, back or pelvis.
Abdominal wall pain is common and easy to miss as healthcare professionals may direct their attention to internal organs as a cause of the pain. Once the abdominal wall is considered as a suspect, it is generally easy to nail down this diagnosis. If a patient strains the ab wall muscles from exertion, he may tell his doctor that he has right sided stomach pain. Clearly, this pain is not caused by a diseased internal organ such as the gallbladder or the stomach.
Healthcare providers can often determine where pain is coming from by taking a detailed history from you. Depending upon the physicians style, you may be simply asked to relate your medical story in your own words as a narrative. Other physicians may prefer to ask a series of detailed questions. Others may utilize both techniques. This medical history is paramount, even more important than the physical examination. After the history and physical, certain diagnostic tests may be advised to make an accurate diagnosis.
What are the most common causes of abdominal pain?
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When To See A Doctor
Many causes of intermittent stomach pain, such as ovulation pain, do not require treatment. Others, such as food sensitivities, are not medical emergencies.
It can be difficult to decide when to see a doctor and when to wait, so it is important to pay attention to any additional symptoms. Seek medical care for severe pain or pain that gets worse with time.
Speak to a doctor about:
- unexplained stomach pain that gets steadily worse over time
- worsening menstrual cramps or cramps that are regularly severe
- worsening digestive symptoms
- symptoms of an ulcer or a digestive disorder
- occasional, mild pain in the upper right abdomen
Symptoms that may require emergency medical attention include:
- intense stomach pain during pregnancy
- symptoms of premature labor
Abdominal Pain Before Menstruation Periods In Women:
PMS syndrome can also cause abdominal pain before menstruation, especially in the lower abdomen. It is generally experienced a day or two days prior to your menstruation and may not be too severe. The abdominal pain may also be experienced on both the sides of the lower abdomen during the time of ovulation.
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When It’s Not An Emergency
If your stomach pain is not severe, persistent, or associated with concerning symptoms like those already discussed, it is likely to resolve on its own. Abdominal pain is usually caused by minor problems such as constipation, trapped gas, or eating something that didn’t agree with you, like a high dairy meal or a spice that you aren’t used to.
Waiting a few hours, having a bowel movement, or passing gas usually helps. There are a few things you can do so that you can be more comfortable and to help relieve your symptoms as your pain resolves:
- Limit yourself to clear liquids for a few hours.
- If you experience vomiting and/or diarrhea, stick with the BRAT diet and other mild foods until your symptoms start to subside.
- Avoid foods that are tough on the digestive system, such as food that is high in fat, fried foods, spicy foods, and drinks containing alcohol or caffeine.
- Try an over-the-counter antacid or gas-relieving product.
- Try to have a bowel movement. Often, eating raw fruit, vegetables, beans, or high-fiber cereal can help.
- Use a hot water bottle or heating pad. This may help to soothe your pain. Place the pad on your abdomen for half-hour intervals and be sure to use a towel under the pad to protect your skin.
Your symptoms may completely improve within one to two days. If they do not, call your doctor’s office for advice.
Sudden Stomach Cramps With Diarrhoea
If your stomach cramps have started recently and you also have diarrhoea, the cause may be a tummy bug . This means you have a viral or bacterial infection of the stomach and bowel. It should get better without treatment after a few days.
Gastroenteritis may be caused by:
- coming into close contact with someone who’s infected
- eating contaminated food
If you have repeated bouts of stomach cramps and diarrhoea, you may have a long-term condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome .
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What Is Referred Pain
Pain felt in one area of the body does not always represent where the problem is because the pain may be referred there from another area. For example, pain produced by a heart attack may feel as if it is coming from the arm because sensory information from the heart and the arm converge on the same nerve pathways in the spinal cord.
Miscellaneous Causes Of Abdominal Pain In Women:
There may be a lot of unrelated conditions causing abdominal pain. For instance, herpes zoster may impact the skin and the underlying nerves of several areas of the body, which may also include the abdomen. Again, a slipped disk can compress the abdominal nerves and cause abdominal pain, especially on the left side of the abdomen in the womenâs body.
This article talked about some of the causes of abdominal pain in women. In case you are suffering from any such pain and doubt about your condition then do visit an expert medical professional and get yourself properly diagnosed and go for the prescribed treatments. Women need immediate medical attention in case of any signs of internal bleeding, such as bloody or tarry stools or if they vomit anything that appears to be bloody or looks life coffee grounds. Abdominal pain along with high fever or chills may also be the result of a serious infection, which requires immediate medical attention.
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Left Side Abdominal Pain: Common Causes
All of us will suffer from some type of abdominal pain in our life. Thankfully, in most cases, pains in the left side of the abdomen or stomach area are not a sign of anything serious.
First, it is good to know where the location of your pain is coming from. Dr. Charles Patrick Davis on MedicineNet says that doctors divide the abdominal area into four areas or quadrants. Your upper left abdominal area is the left-hand side part of your body above the navel and below the chest. The lower left side of the abdomen is between your navel and your pelvic area.1
Also, being able to describe the type of pain can help to diagnose the cause of left sided abdominal pain. For example, the stomach pain could be sharp and stabbing and only happen intermittently. Or, you might feel a constant dull ache just under your left ribcage. Many women describe pain associated with their menstrual cycle as cramping and they may also show signs of bloating.
Lets look at some of the most common causes of mild to severe abdominal pains that you can feel on the left side.
Causes Of Acute Abdomen
An acute abdomen may occur due to a vast number of causes, the most common of which are :
Kidneys, Urinary Tract and Reproductive Organs
- Acute ureteric colic pain caused by solid material, like kidney stones, passing through the ureter.
- Acute pyelonephritis inflammation of the part of the kidney that leads to the ureters most commonly due to a bacterial infection.
- Acute cystitis inflammation of the urinary bladder often associated with a urinary tract infection.
- Renal colic pain in the loin and lower back caused by a kidney stone passing through the narrower ureter towards the bladder.
- Ruptured ovarian cyst rupture of the fluid-filled vesicle in the ovaries seen with conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome .
- Adnexal torsion twisting and strangulation of the fallopian tube.
- Testicular torsion twisting and strangulation of the spermatic cord that houses the blood vessel which carries blood to the the testis .
- Pneumonia inflammation of the lung often associated with bacterial or viral infections. Pneumonia of the lower lobe of the lung is more likely to cause abdominal pain.
- Pulmonary embolism damage of the lung tissue due to loss of blood supply as a blood clot hampers the circulation. It is more commonly a complication of deep venous thrombosis.
Other Causes of Acute Abdomen
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Stomach Cramps With Bloating
Stomach cramps with bloating are often caused by trapped wind, or constipation. This is a very common problem that can be embarrassing, but is easily dealt with. Your pharmacist will be able to recommend a product, which can be bought over the counter to treat the problem. If problems persist, you should see your GP.
What Causes Severe Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain is a common human experience. The abdomen contains many organs, including those belonging to the digestive, the reproductive and the urinary systems. Aside from these, blood vessels, muscles, nerves and other tissues are found in the abdomen, which may become a source of pain. Usual causes of pain in the abdomen include infections, trapped wind , trauma, functional disorders, or other conditions affecting the various organs and systems. Many types of mild to moderate cases of abdominal pain are relieved by resting or taking some medications or home remedies, but severe abdominal pain, which occurs suddenly and progressively worsens, may need immediate medical attention.
Possible Causes of Sudden, Severe Abdominal Pain
The most common causes of sudden, severe abdominal pain include:
Other possible causes include:
Endometriosis – severe pelvic pain associated with menstrual periods, heavy vaginal bleeding, bloating and nausea
Acute pancreatitis – upper abdominal pain that radiates to the back, associated with nausea, vomiting and abdominal tenderness
Crohn’s disease – a chronic condition that can have acute episodes of severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, blood in stools and fever.
Twisted ovarian cyst – a large ovarian cyst may move out of position and twist, causing severe pain, vomiting and fever
Intestinal obstruction – may cause pain, bloating and inability to pass gas or stools
When to Seek Help
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How To Prevent Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain might not always be preventable. However, you can encourage your child to follow these precautions to minimize the risks of certain conditions that lead to stomachache .
- Stay hydrated, and drink plenty of water in a day.
- Eat small and frequent meals.
- Be physically active and do age-appropriate exercises regularly.
- Avoid consumption of food items that can cause indigestion or gas.
- Consume high-fiber and well-balanced diet. Include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in all meals.
Abdominal pain can occur because of minor or serious problems. The causes of abdominal pain are numerous and present similar symptoms. Therefore, definite diagnosis of such pain can be difficult. Fortunately, most causes can be treated or managed at home. However, if your child experiences any severe symptoms, visit your healthcare practitioner.
Have any useful experiences to share on abdominal pain in teenagers? Share with us by leaving a comment in the section below.
What You Need To Know:
The cause of severe stomach pain and diarrhea depends on the time frame of your symptom.
The recent onset of severe abdominal pain and diarrhea in the middle of the night is often due to infections and foodborne illnesses . Chronic or recurrent incursions of night diarrhea and stomach pain have a wider ranger of the possible cause.
Today, You will learn about the distinguishing features of each cause. Although the article is written by a gastroenterologist, dont use it as a substitute for medical advice.
Causes of acute attack:
- An acute attack of food intolerance or allergy.
- Recent intake of a drug that causes diarrhea.
Causes of chronic attacks:
- Less frequent causes: Endocrinal disease, SIBO, chronic pancreatitis, diabetes, and others.
Below, we will explain the symptoms & features of the common causes.
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Muscle Pain And Injuries
Muscle overuse, a sedentary lifestyle, and trauma from falling or other injuries can cause pain in the abdominal or back muscles. These injuries can cause pain that comes and goes.
Pain that appears only in certain positions, while lifting, or after exercise could be a sign of a muscle injury.
A muscle injury is not a medical emergency. Most people can treat muscle injuries at home with rest, hot and cold packs, and gentle massage. Ice packs for pain relief are available for purchase online.
If home treatment does not work or the pain is very intense, it is best to see a doctor.
Lower Abdominal Pain In Teenage Boys
Apart from the above causes, teenage boys can experience abdominal pain due to the following condition .
- Testicular torsion: It occurs most frequently in teenage boys as an emergency condition that requires immediate medical attention. Testicular torsion occurs due to the twisting of the spermatic cord, thus blocking the supply of blood to the testicle. The symptoms may include severe pain in the scrotum, abdominal pain, enlarged testicles, and swollen, red and tender scrotum .
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When Stomach Pain Is An Emergency
Stomach pain can be caused by a life-threatening condition, such as appendicitis, bowel obstruction , or a bowel perforation .
These emergencies usually cause very noticeable and often intolerable signs and symptoms. Your stomach pain is probably a sign of an urgent medical problem if:
- You are pregnant
- Your pain started within a week of having abdominal surgery or a gastrointestinal procedure
- You have ever had a gastric bypass, a colostomy, or a bowel resection
- Your pain started shortly after you experienced severe abdominal trauma
- Your abdomen appears bruised or is rapidly expanding in size
Your stomach pain may be mild in the beginning, and then you may develop associated symptoms after a few hours. You should get help immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms along with your stomach pain:
- Abdomen is extremely hard
- Inability to have a bowel movement accompanied by vomiting
- Pain in neck, shoulder or between shoulder blades
- Vision changes
Treatment Of Abdominal Pain In Teens
Treatment of abdominal pain depends on the underlying condition or disease. The following treatment methods are used to treat the causes of pain.
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Causes Of Abdominal Pain And Diarrhea
Most people occasionally experience abdominal pain and diarrhea for short periods. Dietary changes, consuming too much alcohol, and indigestion may cause these symptoms.
Frequent, constant, or severe abdominal pain and diarrhea may indicate a disease or a more serious medical issue. Diarrhea that gets progressively worse and is bloody can be also be a sign of a more serious issue. Possible causes of abdominal pain and diarrhea include:
Diarrhea and abdominal pain that last for more than a week or that frequently reoccur may be a sign of an intestinal disease or disorder. You should talk to your doctor if youve experienced these symptoms for more than a week or on a reoccurring basis.
The above conditions and disorders can cause swelling of various parts of the digestive tract, such as the stomach and intestines. Inflammation of the digestive system can cause cramps and disrupt normal digestive processes. This usually results in abdominal pain and diarrhea.ADVERTISING