Suffering from lower left abdominal pain can go both ways. On one end it could be absolutely nothing at all, but a small gas build-up in your intestines (trapped wind,) constipation, or as a result of hard exercise (stitch on the side.) All you would need are simple medication and rest to make the pain go away. But on the other hand, it could also be an indication of a graver medical condition. According to health care providers, people who complain of lower left abdominal pain could be in danger of bowel cancer, Crohn’s disease, ectopic pregnancy, food poisoning, and hernia, to name a few.
If you feel pain in this area, here are a few things you should and should not do:
- Try to ascertain when the pain happens. Does it happen after you exercise? Does it happen after you eat a specific kind of food item? Does it happen just before or after you’ve gone to the bathroom? Or does the pain come at odd moments, like in the middle of the night? Do you feel pain when you bend over or does the pain strike even if you are doing absolutely nothing at all? Does it come and go with or without medication?
It would also be wise to pinpoint exactly when the pain started bothering you. Did it happen recently, or was it a recurring pain that you have experienced for a long time already?
Answering these questions will help your health care provider narrow down the causes of your lower left abdominal pain.
- Speaking of your health care provider, it is still best to consult the pro before taking any action. True enough, most people would immediately reach for a painkiller when faced with this kind of situation. However, for some gastrointestinal and cardiac disorders and diseases, taking regular doses of painkillers can complicate matters considerably. Talk to your doctor first so that you can undergo testing to really ascertain why you have and how to eradicate completely such pains.
It can be alarming when feeling pain in the lower left abdomen because there are many organs in the area that are prone to infection and can cause a great deal of discomfort if they do become inflamed. Some of these organs include the stomach, parts of the large intestine, the colon, the spleen, and the outer edge of the liver.
In women, some areas that may be affected and cause pain in this area are the left ovary and the left fallopian tube. All of these organs have the potential to develop infections, cysts, and tumors. Not all lower left abdomen pain is a sign of something serious, but it can cause great distress, especially if it is acute, and a physician should be consulted to address what is triggering the pain.
The causes of pain in lower left abdomen
The large intestine, which includes the colon, is vulnerable to many problems that would cause pain in lower left abdomen. One of the most common causes of this kind of pain is a condition that is called diverticulosis.
This occurs when people develop small pouches within their intestines that bulge outward. When bits of indigestible food or any kind of waste get stuck in these pouches, they become infected and inflamed, which causes diverticulitis. The pain from this can be quite bad, and usually, antibiotics are needed to kill the infection. If not treated, an abscess can form, and if it bursts, it could cause a life-threatening problem. Stomach ulcers can also cause lower left abdomen pain, especially when they go undetected. Ulcers are small holes that appear in the small intestine or the stomach itself, and they are caused by an influx of too much stomach acid. Genetics and stress or anxiety are thought to cause this flood.
While the pain is often felt in the stomach itself, duodenal ulcers on the small intestine often present with pain in the lower left side of the abdomen. More serious events, such as cysts or tumors on a woman’s reproductive organs, can also cause moderate to severe pain of this sort.
Since the causes of pain in lower left abdomen can be serious, a visit to the doctor’s office or local emergency room should be the first step in getting treatment. There, the doctor will normally palpitate the area and record the level of pain.
If it is acute, he or she will usually order a scan of the stomach and intestines to see if there is any kind of tumor or blockage that can be detected. If diverticulitis is found, a liquid diet and heavy-duty antibiotics will be ordered, and this requires several days in the hospital for observation.
Ulcers can usually be treated with medication or a change in diet, but some do become serious and require surgery. If a cyst or tumor is found in the fallopian tubes or ovaries, a biopsy will usually be taken to see if it is cancerous, and in some cases, a hysterectomy may be performed if there are one or more tumors present.
Lower left abdomen pain should always be evaluated by a doctor as quickly as possible.