Pain in the lower left abdomen can be caused by a variety of triggers, but narrowing down on the exact underlying cause can help you get the relief. Common causes of lower left abdomen pain often stem from a digestive issue, but they can also span from skin issues to the problems in the reproductive organs and even complications in the body wall or the blood vessels.
There are a few factors to consider when narrowing down on the cause of your lower left abdomen pain, such as the intensity and duration of pain, as well as lifestyle habits that may play a role.
Here we will outline the common causes of pain in the lower left abdomen to help you better identify your case.
Causes of lower left abdominal pain
Diverticulitis: Diverticulitis is a condition in which a bulge forms along the left bowel walls. Other accompanying symptoms are fever, a steady, suddenly emerging pain, swelling of the lower left abdomen region, and diarrhea with sporadic blood.
Constipation: There are many reasons for constipation, including IBS, IBD, food allergy or intolerance, and much more. Regardless of the cause, if you aren’t going, this can result in the lower left side abdomen pain.
Urinary tract disorders: Commonly, urinary tract disorders cause trouble and pain during urination, but if bacteria caused cystitis, this can result in the lower left abdomen pain.
Bowel-related conditions: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are bowel-related conditions that can lead to the pain in the lower left abdomen. In IBD, accompanying symptoms include severe diarrhea, vomiting, and rectal bleeding. In IBS, accompanying symptoms include irregular bowel movements, passing stools with mucus, abdominal cramping, and flatulence.
Kidney disorders: Lower left abdominal pain may be related to a kidney infection, which not only causes abdominal pain, but pain while urinating as well.
Female-specific conditions: Women may experience pain in the lower left abdomen due to an ectopic pregnancy and endometriosis, which is the growth of uterine tissue outside of the uterus.
Appendix: If the appendix becomes inflamed, blocked, or infected, it can cause pain in the lower left side of the abdomen.
Male-specific disorders: Men can experience lower left abdomen pain as a result of spermatic cord disorders, testes disorders, and gonorrhea.
Abdominal blood vessels: Many blood vessels run along the abdomen – in fact, the abdomen houses the two largest blood vessels. Associated blood vessel conditions, which can result in lower left abdominal pain, include aneurysms in the aorta, atherosclerosis, hereditary angioedema, and Henoch-Schonlein purpura.
Skin diseases: Skin diseases, too, can cause lower left abdomen pain. Examples include herpes zoster (shingles) and dermatitis.
Food poisoning: Lower left abdomen pain can be a result of food poisoning – accompanying vomiting, diarrhea, and fever.
Hernia: A hernia located on the left side can cause lower left abdominal pain.
Table: Common causes of lower left abdominal pain
Here is a summarizing table of the common causes of lower left abdominal pain, along with the symptoms and treatments.
|Character of pain
|Sudden and severe pain, or mild but worsening (less common)
|Changes in bowel habits, diarrhea, or constipation, abdominal tenderness, nausea and vomiting, fever, bloating, and bleeding from the rectum.
|Rest, changes in the diet, and prescribed antibiotics
Surgical treatment, if severe
|Dull abdominal pain due to failure to pass stools
|Infrequent bowel movement, hard stools
Straining, bloating, and pressure in the rectum
|Reliefof symptoms with passage of stool.
Use laxatives, modify diet, increase hydration
|Intestinal obstruction (volvulus/hernia/tumor/
|Cramp type of pain that comes and goes
|Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, inability to pass gas or stools, swollen abdomen
|Dull and cramp-like type of painm or sharp, sudden pain
|Occurs two weeks before period, with or without vaginal spotting
|Pain relievers, rest
|Dull, aching, pelvic pain that may also radiate to the lower back and thigh.
|Irregular periods, heaviness, spotting, nausea, vomiting, pressure
|Mild pain – none or analgesics
Severe – possible surgery
|Sharp flank pain, comes in waves, fluctuating, may spread to back and groin
|Frequent, painful urination, pink, red or brown urine, cloudy foul-smelling urine, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills
|Mild – none or analgesics
Severe – surgery
|Lower abdominal pain, back pain, flank pain, or groin pain
|Painful urination, persistent urge to urinate, pus or blood in the urine, fever
|Severe lower abdominal or pelvic pain
|Missed period, signs of pregnancy, vaginal bleeding
Tips to manage lower left abdominal pain
Here are some helpful tips to assist you in managing your lower left abdominal pain.
- Don’t hesitate to seek medical attention, especially if the pain is persistent, worsening, or accompanied by other symptoms.
- Make changes to your diet if you suspect it can contribute to lower left abdomen pain. Drink plenty of fluids, avoid foods that can contribute to gas, constipation, or diarrhea, and stay clear of foods that are known triggers for you.
- Try lifestyle changes like regular exercise to help the muscles in the abdomen relax.
- Apply ice to reduce swelling if evident.
- Use pain-relieving creams or gels.
- Try gently stretching of the abdomen and back.
- Start eating smaller meals.
When to see a doctor for abdominal pain
You should see a doctor for abdominal pain if pain is caused by a traumatic event or injury, if it is so severe you cannot move, if it is accompanied by bloody stools, fever, vomiting, yellowing of the skin, tenderness upon touching, swelling of the abdomen, and if you are persistently nauseous. You should also seek medical advice if pain is staying around for several days.