What Does Lower Left Abdominal Pain Mean?
Lower left abdominal pain can indicate various underlying conditions or illnesses, such as diverticulitis or simply a case of indigestion. However, this pain can also be an early sign of more severe conditions. Continue reading to learn more about a range of issues that could cause lower left abdominal pain.
Causes of pain in the lower left abdomen
Diverticulitis, one of the most common causes of lower stomach pain, is an infection of your intestinal pouches. Symptoms can range from mild enough to manage at home to severe enough to need emergency attention.
Here is a list of symptoms that could indicate diverticulitis:
- Constant eft lower abdominal pain that has persisted for more than a few days
- Nausea and vomiting
Contact your doctor if you think your lower left abdomen could be due to diverticulitis, especially if the pain has persisted for several days. Diverticulitis can become a serious condition if left untreated, and even lead to perforation of the colon. If your doctor sees evidence of perforation in your colon, fistulas, rectal bleeding, or abscesses, surgery will be considered.
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Need imaging for abdominal pain?
Diagnostic imaging tests like MRIs, CT scans, or ultrasounds may be needed to accurately diagnose recurrent abdominal pain.
Another common cause of pain on the left side of the stomach is indigestion. This term describes general discomfort felt in your stomach rather than a specific disease. Some symptoms include:
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Gurgling stomach
Compared to diverticulitis, indigestion is usually much more mild. Most of the time, symptoms will go away on their own, or can be relieved using various home remedies.
3. Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are hard objects caused by chemicals in your urine. These can be extremely painful, especially while you are passing them. However, if they are found early enough, you can prevent lasting damage to your body. Surgery might be recommended if doctors find evidence of common urinary tract infections or other complications.
There are a variety of factors that may cause kidney stones. Here are some of them:
- Diets that are high in protein, sodium, and sugar
- Family history of kidney stones
Shingles is a painful rash related to the varicella virus. This virus causes chickenpox, which leaves an inactive form of shingles in your body. You can only get shingles if you have already previously contracted chickenpox. These rashes can be anywhere on your body in cluster strips or blisters. Currently, there is no cure for shingles. But there are different treatment plans to manage the pain and minimize other complications. In addition, there are vaccines available that can prevent the chances of you catching chickenpox or shingles.
A hernia is when one of your internal organs or fatty tissue protrudes through abdominal muscle or connective tissue. The most common hernias are femoral, inguinal, umbilical, and hiatal. These can be caused by weakening your connective tissue or muscles due to pregnancy or birth, physical assertion, and frequent coughing. With adult hernias, surgery is usually the only treatment option, as there is a low chance a hernia will go away on its own.
6. Menstrual Cramps
For women, one of the most common causes of lower abdomen pain is menstrual cramps. These usually come during or around your period and go away with time. However, if you are experiencing intense pain, talk to your gynecologist.
7. Lactose Intolerance
People who are lactose intolerant cannot digest lactose, a sugar found in milk. When they do, they experience bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Lactose intolerance affects about 65% of the human population. This condition isn’t severe, as avoiding dairy products will usually be enough to treat lactose intolerance.
8. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS is a digestive condition that affects the large intestine. This syndrome can cause a variety of different symptoms. A person with IBS can experience gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal cramps, and uncontrollable bowel movements. Usually, IBS is manageable with a controlled diet, stress management, and exercise. However, if your discomfort becomes severe, contact a gastroenterologist to talk to about your digestive health.
When should I worry about left side pain
You should worry about your lower left stomach pain if:
- The pain persists for more than a few days
- It is so severe that it wakes you up in the middle of the night
- It is severe enough to make a significant negative impact on your day-to-day activities
Although many common causes for lower left side pain can resolve on their own, the most serious ones will become worse if left untreated. Even if your pain due to a less severe condition, like IBS or lactose intolerance, consult a doctor to help relieve the pain if it keeps persisting.
When to see a doctor
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, it may be time to see a doctor and develop a treatment plan for the pain in your lower left abdomen. This is especially important if the pain has started to affect the quality of your day-to-day life. Since there are many potential causes for your pain, it is necessary to consult a doctor to get a reliable diagnosis. You can find a primary care doctor through Tripment Health, an affordable self-pay healthcare marketplace for in-person or telehealth visits. Only a healthcare professional can ensure that your pain is not indicative of a more severe underlying condition.
A variety of factors will affect your diagnosis. This can include past medical history, diet, living conditions, and family history. You should always consult with a doctor for an official diagnosis. Your provider may order you diagnostic imaging tests like MRIs, CT scans, or ultrasounds to accurately diagnose the stomach pains in your lower left side.
Until you and your provider develop a treatment plan, try to minimize lower left abdominal pain by staying away from spicy foods, drinking lots of water, and resting regularly. It is always a good idea to pay attention to your body and note when the pain subsides and what, if anything, caused that relief. However, since there could be various causes, some extra measures might have to be taken. You can visit our Tripment Health website to find a doctor who can give you a diagnosis and help you develop a treatment plan.
Bottom left stomach pain can be due to a variety of reasons, so it is essential to understand your symptoms and what could be causing them in order to prevent further complications and discomfort.
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