Lower abdominal pain is experienced by both sexes, but the causes can vary. The abdominal pain in men may be due to chronic diseases, urinary tract infections, or even digestive tract conditions. Research estimates that the majority of men who experience abdominal pain never seek treatment, as they are more likely to use over-the-counter or herbal remedies to alleviate pain, rather than finding a doctor to discover the underlying cause of their pain.
Abnormalities in the abdomen may cause any number of different symptoms, including the type of pain. One may not give that much attention to the general feeling of pain over the abdomen, but specific types of pain, such as sharp, localized, or radiating pain, may signify severe complication and should be assessed by a medical professional.
Is lower abdominal pain in men a cause for worry?
Generally, any type of abdominal pain is a cause for concern, but it is important to be able to identify a serious issue versus a less serious one. It is useful to make note of the severity of abdominal pain as well as any specifics of your experience to tell a physician if need be. Is your pain sudden and severe? Or mild and prolonged? Intermittent? These are all questions that should be answered to help gauge the type of pain you have.
Knowing when the pain started and its duration is important, as mild pain may be ignored for months before you actually seek treatment. Noting what aggravates the abdominal pain, such as coughing or sneezing, as well as what alleviates it may help a doctor narrow down the diagnosis.
While a mild abdominal pain that is brought on by something you can recognize—eating rotten food or having diarrhea—isn’t usually a cause for concern, when in doubt, seek out your local doctor to get an expert opinion.
Symptoms of lower abdominal pain in men
Symptoms may vary from person to person, with more severe abdominal pain disorders having specific signs that may warrant further investigation. The following are some symptoms that may accompany your abdominal pain:
- Nausea with or without vomiting
- Urgent need to pass stool
- Body aches
- Muscle spasms
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Pain or burning sensation during urination
- Pain, numbness, or tingling
- Palpable mass in the abdomen or pelvic area
- Unexplained weight loss
- Change in level of consciousness
- Very high fever (over 101℉)
- Inability to have bowel movements, especially if accompanied by vomiting
- Tachycardia (rapid heart rate)
- Rigidity of the abdomen
- Severe abdominal pain/sudden sharp pain
- Trauma to the abdomen
- Vomiting of blood
- Rectal bleeding
- Bloody stool
Causes of lower abdominal pain in men
The causes of lower abdominal pain in men can vary, so it is important to document all the symptoms you are experiencing to be able to describe your pain to a doctor if you feel the need for more advanced care. The following are some of the more common causes:
Constipation: A very common phenomenon whereby the digestive system is having difficulty evacuating the bowels, and expansion of the intestine with waste matter is expressed as abdominal pain. Typically, pain is felt in the lower right abdominal area.
Appendicitis: A relatively common problem that can be seen in people between the ages of 11 and 40. Here abdominal pain is often sharp in nature on the lower right side and accompanied by vomiting, high fever, and loss of appetite.
Hernia: Due to the weakening of the abdominal wall muscles, a hernia commonly causes pain in the lower right of the abdomen. The pain may also be felt in the groin and upper thigh area.
Testicular torsion: Coiling or twisting of the testicle can cause an intense pain that radiates up to the lower abdomen. This pain may also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and a general testicular pain. Pain is said to be sporadic; however, it becomes more persistent as the condition progresses. Lower abdominal pain below belly button may also be experienced.
Ulcerative colitis: An inflammatory bowel disease of the large intestine, this condition is typically associated with weight loss and bloody stool, as well as rectal pain and bleeding. Pain is concentrated on the lower right side of the abdomen. Some patients may be unable to defecate despite having the urgency to do so. You may also experience pain on both sides of lower abdomen.
Kidney stones: Pain can be severe and generalized, but it is usually concentrated on the flank side (the back). It is due to renal stones attempting to push through the kidney organ. It is typically brought on by certain diets, dehydration, as well as excessive amounts of animal protein and processed sugars. The pain is described as coming in waves and fluctuating in intensity. Pain during urination may also be present.
Food poisoning: Contaminated food, usually with bacteria or parasites, can cause intense stomach and abdominal pain. Other signs include vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. It can take approximately 48 hours for the pain to subside.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): This condition causes sporadic cramping of the muscles in the small and large intestine, resulting in pain and the urgency to use the bathroom. Constipation, diarrhea, and mucus-like stools are all associated with this condition, with pain commonly accompanying all of them. IBS is considered a chronic condition that can be remedied with proper diet and care.
Crohn’s disease: An inflammatory bowel disease that causes diarrhea, abdominal pain, and weight loss, Crohn’s is distinguished from ulcerative colitis by the swelling in the lower right part of the abdomen, which can be the size of a grapefruit. Its tenderness can range from mild to severe.
Diverticulitis: This condition is characterized by the outpouching found in the colon—little pockets that have a tendency for collecting fecal matter, which then causes the area to become inflamed, resulting in pain. Other symptoms include bloating, nausea, constipation, fever, and diarrhea. Dull pain in lower left abdomen male may also be present.
Diabetic ketoacidosis: This is a complication of type 1 diabetes and can be associated with shortness of breath, extreme thirst, nausea, frequent urination, fatigue, and weakness. It presents as generalized abdominal pain.
Cystitis: A urinary tract disorder from a bacterial infection of the bladder.
Lower abdominal pain, along with burning during urination, increased frequency of urination, dark and cloudy urine, and even bloody urine can be seen in this disorder.
When to see a doctor?
Severe or recurrent pain should prompt anyone to seek the advice and expertise of a medical professional. Symptoms that should make one see a doctor as soon as possible include frequency of any of the following:
Treatments for lower abdominal pain in men
Treatment can vary depending on the nature and origins of abdominal pain, with some treatments being as simple as prescription medication, and more severe cases requiring emergency surgery. Keeping a healthy diet and incorporating regular exercise help keep the digestive system and overall health in prime condition. Healthy habits can also go a long way in avoiding pain and discomfort. Some of these habits include:
- Staying hydrated
- Drinking lime and ginger juice
- Avoiding solid food when feeling nauseous
- Using a heating pad to subdue abdominal pain
- Using over-the-counter medication to relieve stomach pain in minor cases.
While not all cases of abdominal pain require the care of a doctor, it is generally a wise idea to err on the side of caution and pay attention to any alarming symptoms you may have. If your abdominal pain does not subside, seeing a doctor or going to the emergency room is a good idea.