Lower Left Abdominal Pain: Potential causes of discomfort

Pain is the way our body tells us something may be wrong. In medicine it is a hurting feeling, that makes you feel discomfort, distress and sometimes even agony, depending on severity. The character of pain may be steady and constant (an ache), throbbing or pulsating, may have pinching or a stabbing sensation. In any case, it makes you feel uncomfortable and should be recognized as a warning that our body sends to the brain.

This article is aiming to give brief information about Lower Left Abdominal Pain. It is a common site of pain, especially among women and elder people. In general, Abdominal Pain may have many potential causes: from gas pains and pulled muscle, to more serious conditions that may require timely medical care. That is why the location of abdominal pain is helpful in providing a clue to possible reason.

In order to understand what area is called lower left abdominal, one can think of imaginary line that runs vertically across the level of the belly button, and an imaginary horizontal line below the left lower ribs.
Location of lower left abdomen pain

This lower left quadrant (LLQ) region is comprised of the sigmoid colon and descending colon, left ovary, left fallopian tube, kidney, left ureter, left spermatic cord, the uterus and the bladder. To learn about some of the possible underlying causes of lower left abdominal pain, see below given information:

Diverticulitis

The common cause of pain in the left side of the abdomen, this condition frequently occurs among older people. Diverticulitis is felt as a sharp pain that is caused by a bulge formation along the walls of left bowel. The formation of finger-like projections leads to nagging pains in the lower abdomen. The pain can be felt as sudden and sever and may show fluctuation intensity. Other symptoms can accompany the condition: change in bowel habits, fever, steadily or suddenly emerging LLQ pain, swelling in the lower left abdomen region, nausea and vomiting, and less commonly diarrhea with sporadic bright red blood.

The treatment of mild cases can be provided with rest, diet changes, and antibiotics. In more serious cases surgery may be required.

Constipation

Constipation is characterized as an inability to pass fecal matter regularly. It can cause continuous constraining pain usually in the LLQ. Nutrition by food with low-fiber content like cakes, meat, etc., insufficient water, dry food and skipping meals may cause this condition. Sharp pain in lower left abdomen can also include such symptoms as and a feeling of fullness or pressure in the rectum. The problem can be resolved by lots of fluid intake with a high-fiber diet and laxatives.

Urinary Tract Disorders

The pain during urination or a continuous urge to urinate can be caused by urinary tract infection. The infections are normally microbial infections and affect the excretory system that includes the kidneys, bladder and ureter or urethra.

Cystitis, a bacterial infection on the bladder, can also be reason of lower left abdominal pain, a burning sensation during urination or a recurrent urge to urinate and pelvis discomfort.

In this case medical attention is obligatory.

Intestinal Obstruction

Any cases of obstruction in the left part of the small or large intestine can lead to left lower abdominal pain. Following cases: volvulus or twisting of the large bowel, strangulated inguinal hernia, tumors or adhesions (fibrous bands of tissue in the abdomen), are considered in this condition. In case of such problems, food and liquids cannot pass naturally down the intestines and this causes inflammation and intermittent cramp-like pain, accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea or constipation. In more severe cases, inability to pass gas or stools and development of swelling in the abdomen can be experienced. This pain may also spread and become more generalized.

Immediate medical consultation for these symptoms must be taken, as there is a risk of tissue death in the intestine that can lead to severe complications.

Kidney Disorders

High amounts of calcium or uric acid and dehydration in the body lead to a disorder of the kidneys (kidney stones). Movement of stones through the urinary tract from the kidney to the bladder causes a sudden, severe pain in the left side of the abdomen. Pain comes in waves and fluctuates in severity. The condition is followed with fever and chills, nausea, vomiting, groin pain, red, pink, or brow urine, foul-smelling, cloudy urine, and frequent urination.

Taking pain relievers and drinking plenty of water may relieve the pain associated with kidney stones. However, it is necessary to get medical consultation if the pain is severe, and even surgical removal of stones may be required.

Conditions Particular to Women

The ectopic pregnancy condition that occurs in women can cause pain in the lower left part of the abdomen. It happens when fertilized egg is implanted in the left ovary, fallopian tube, or anywhere in the abdominal cavity outside of the uterus. The growth of fetus causes severe left lower abdominal pain. As the matter of fact this condition can be recognized as it is associated with symptoms of early pregnancy, a missed period, and vaginal bleeding. Immediate medical consultation is required in order to prevent the fallopian tube rupture and bleeding, that can be life threatening.

Other condition that occurs in women and is very rare for men is Endometriosis, the condition that involves the growth of the uterus tissue lining outside the uterine cavity and causes pain, irritation, and the growth of adhesions. Constipation, diarrhea and pain while urinating and during menstruation also emanate from endometriosis.

The other pain causing condition known in women is ovulation pain. When an egg is released two weeks prior to expected period the condition known as ovulation pain or mittelschmerz involving left ovary occurs. This is followed with a mild to moderate discomfort in the left lower abdominal area and it can be experienced either as a sharp and sudden pain or as a dull, cramp-like pain. Left-sided ovulation pains are common and the use of pain relievers and rest help to overcome them.

An ovarian cyst may be other source of lower abdominal discomfort. It is a fluid filled sac on the surface of the ovary that may develop into large formation large and cause lower abdominal pain. These fluid filled sacs are usually harmless, however when they grow very large and twist, it results in left lower abdominal pains that may be a dull, aching pain. The pain can be constant or intermittent, and may radiate to the lower back. Near the beginning or end of a menstrual period pelvic pains may be the case. The pains can be accompanied with nausea, vomiting, fullness or heaviness of the abdomen, menstrual irregularities, and pressure on the rectum or bladder.

Most ovarian cysts go away without medical treatment but it is better to consult a doctor when sudden, severe lower abdominal pain associated with fever and vomiting is experienced.

Other causes of lower left abdominal pain

The above listed causes are only the most common ones. Less common sources of pain, may be disorders like Crohn's disease, Ulcerative colitis, Abdominal aortic aneurysm, appendicitis and etc. In such cases medical attention is inescapable. But one should not forget that dietary habits and lifestyle play a great role in staying healthy. It is highly advisable to take a balanced diet along with sport activity in order to keep abdominal area healthy.

References

  • http://www.medguidance.com/thread/lower-left-abdominal-pain.html

  • http://www.enkivillage.com/lower-left-abdominal-pain.html

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