What’s Causing Your Lower Abdominal Pain?
From irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) to gynecological issues and diverticulitis, find out the common causes of lower abdominal pain and when to seek medical attention.
Lower abdominal pain has a way of stopping you in your tracks. But trying to figure out the source of stomach pain can be tricky especially when so many things may be to blame. (Was it the shrimp?) Gastroenterologist Michael Kirsch, MD, shares some of the most common causes.
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What is it? A colon or lower bowel disorder.
Where’s the pain? Lower abdomen, but sometimes all over the belly.
What else you should know: IBS is one of the most common causes of abdominal pain, and it occurs more often in women. It’s also known as nervous stomach, irritable colon or spastic colon.
What is it? When bowel movements happen less often than usual or stools become hard to pass.
Where’s the pain? Lower left side of the abdomen, sometimes mid-abdomen.
What is it? Inflammation in your appendix, a thin tube located on the lower right side of your abdomen.
Where’s the pain? Starts in the belly button area and moves down to the lower right.
What is it? Inflammation of pouches in the colon, which are called diverticula.
Where’s the pain? Lower left side of the abdomen, but it can be anywhere in the belly.
What is it? Infection in the urinary tract, which includes the urethra, kidneys and bladder.
Where’s the pain? Pelvis or abdomen bladder.
Since some of these conditions are chronic and vary from person to person, the answer can be more subtle than you might think, says Dr. Kirsch. “If you asked a dozen different doctors on the best approach to evaluating abdominal pain, you wouldn’t have agreement.”
But here’s a good rule to live by: If there has been a significant change or worsening of your chronic abdominal symptoms or brand new stomach symptoms, then seek out a doctor’s advice.