Abdominal pain refers to any pain that you feel anywhere between your chest and groin. This is often referred to as the stomach region or belly. Almost everyone has pain in the abdomen at some point. Most of the time, it is not serious.
How bad your pain is does not always reflect the seriousness of the condition causing the pain. For example, you might have very bad abdominal pain if you have gas or stomach cramps due to viral gastroenteritis. However, fatal conditions such as colon cancer or early appendicitis, may only cause mild pain or no pain.
Other ways to describe pain in your abdomen include:
- Generalized pain: this means that you feel it in more than half of your belly. This type of pain is more typical for a stomach virus, indigestion, or gas. If the pain becomes more severe, it may be caused by a blockage of the intestines.
- Localized pain: this is pain found in only one area of your belly. It is more likely to be a sign of a problem in an organ such as the appendix, gallbladder or stomach.
- Cramp-like pain: this type of pain is not serious most of the time. It is likely to be due to gas and bloating, and is often followed by diarrhea. More worrisome signs include pain that occurs more often, lasts more than 24 hours, or occurs with a fever.
- Colicky pain — This type of pain comes in waves. It very often starts and ends suddenly, and is often severe. Kidney stones and gallstones are common causes of this type of belly pain.
What is lower abdominal pain?
When we talk about lower abdominal pain, we generally mean pain that you feel below the level of your belly button. It can come from any of the tissues and organ systems in that area, which is why it can be very confusing. Pain which is very low down is termed pelvic pain but we’ll be including it as lower abdominal pain for this guide.
Describing your lower abdominal pain
When a doctor asks you about your pain, they will want to know where exactly you are feeling the pain. This can be a useful indicator of what the cause might be. They’ll also want to know how long you’ve had the pain, the severity and the nature of the pain; is it coming or going or is it continuous? They will ask you to describe how the pain feels, is it sharp, dull, crampy or burning for example.
Associated symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting and urinary symptoms can all help to distinguish the cause so your doctor will question you about these as well.
What causes lower left abdominal pain in females?
lower left abdominal pain in females may be due to gas, indigestion, inflammation or infection, or it may result from menstrual cramps, endometriosis, or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women. Severe pain that comes in waves may be caused by kidney stones. Trauma to the body wall, hernias, and shingles can also cause left lower quadrant pain.
Conditions of the stomach lining such as inflammation (gastritis) or ulcers may be felt in the center of your abdomen. The pain is often burning in nature. Nausea, indigestion, belching and even vomiting are common. Blood in the vomit or black, tar-like stools are worrying signs and need urgent assessment.
In addition, inflammation of the appendix is often initially felt around the belly button. It may come and go and gradually move to the right side. It gets more severe over 24 hours and is worse on movement. You may feel nauseated, have slight loose stools and a temperature. Surgery is often required to remove an inflamed appendix so don’t wait at home if you think this may be the diagnosis. SEE: How to Flush Out Period Blood