All of us has suffered from abdominal pain at least once in our life. Sometimes the pain lasts for short time and tends to go away but some pain persists for a long time. Such kind of pain can be quite debilitating and can affect our daily chores.
Abdominal pain can be according to the severity ( dull pain and sharp pain), location, radiation of the pain, aggravating factors, time of onset, relieving factors. Below are the causes of left lower abdominal pain.
Left lower abdominal pain can be associated with urgent medical conditions. So, seek urgent medical care if you have left lower abdominal pain. Here are causes of left lower abdominal pain
Left Renal colic:
Renal colic is a medical emergency. It occurs as a result of obstruction of the ureter by stones present in the kidney. The pain is sharp, severe and doesn’t relieve in any position, so the person is restless. The pain is usually from loin to groin.
Urinary tract infection:
Urinary tract infection can occur due to various reasons. One of the commonest reason is presence of kidney stones. When a stone is present in kidney, it reduces proper flushing of the ureter as a result of which the ureter and the urinary bladder become breeding place for all the bacterias.
Urinary tract infection is quite common in female due to short urethra as compared to males. People with urinary tract infection usually complain of burning micturition or cloudy micturition. The systemic signs such as fever, anorexia, nausea may or maynot be present at all. Left untreated, it can lead to infection spreading to the kidneys and ultimately resulting in kidney failure.
Around 70% of people with diverticulitis present with left lower abdominal pain. Diverticulitis is inflammation of diverticula. Diverticula are small pouches that occurs as a result of herniation of mucosa in the wall of colon.
Diverticulitis mostly occurs in elder people but it may affect young people too. Since, diverticulitis commonly occurs in sigmoid colon, the pain is usually localized to left lower abdomen with tenderness in that region. The pain is crampy in nature. The systemic signs such as altered bowel habit, fever, nausea, vomiting, are usually present.
Ectopic pregnancy is a condition in which the conceptus( fertilized egg) is implanted and matures outside the endometrial cavity in the fallopian tubes or ovaries. The classical feature seen in ectopic pregnancy is amenorrhea( absent menstruation), abdominal pain, per vaginal bleeding. But only 50% of women present with all three symptoms. Other signs such as abdominal tenderness, fever, dizziness, vomiting, syncope might be seen.
Ectopic pregnancy is a medical emergency and diagnosis is confirmed by positive pregnancy test and ultrasound.
Hernias are the protusion of abdominal content through the weak spaces such as inguinal canal, weak muscle or tissue. Left inguinal hernia is due to protusion of colon through the inguinal canal. In hernias abdominal swelling can be palpated in which pulsation is felt during coughing. Hernias can be painful or non-painful depending upon the type of hernia such as strangulated or non-strangulated. There might be systemic signs such as fever, altered bowel habit, vomiting, diarrhea.
Testicular torsion is an urological emergency and requires immediate surgical exploration. If left untreated, it can lead to permanent damage to the testes leading to infertility. It is a condition in which there is twisting of the spermatic cord structures as a result of which there is blockage of blood supply to the testes. Pain is usually unilateral in the affected site in scrotum and inguinal region. The pain may accompany scrotal swelling as well. Around 4-8 % of testicular torsion occurs as a result of trauma to the scrotum.
There may be difficulty in urination or no urination at all. Systemic signs such as nausea, fever, vomiting may be present.
Ovarian torsion (adnexal torsion):
It is a rare cause of acute left lower abdominal pain in women. The pain intensity increases slowly over the time. It commonly occurs during exercise or any sudden jerky movements. The pain usually radiates to pelvis, thigh and the back. Around 24% of women suffering from ovarian torsion can have bilateral lower abdominal pain. Nausea and vomiting can be present. If left untreated, it can lead to infections, inflammation, adhesions, chronic pain. Infertility is a quite rare complication of ovarian torsion.
Ovarian cyst rupture:
The pain in ovarian cyst rupture is acute in onset which usually occurs after heavy exercises or sexual intercourse. There might be vaginal bleeding, nausea, altered bowel habit,vomiting, fainting. Treatment is usually symptomatic by pain killers. But carefull observation is necessary as it may lead to internal hemorrhage and ultimately death of the patient.
Pelvic inflammatory disease:
It is an inflammation of the female upper genital organs as a result of any infections. Young girls below age of 25 with multiple sex partner and does not use contraceptives are at high risk of pelvic inflammatory disease. The major cause of pelvic inflammatory disease in chalmydia trachomatis. some might complain of vaginal discharge together with the lower abdominal pain while some might just have dull lower abdominal pain radiating to back and the loin. Systemic features such as fever, burning micturition, painful mensturation are present.
It is a very rare cause of left lower abdominal pain. Shingles is a viral disease that is caused by reactivation of herpes zoster virus. The common presentation is blisters in the skin that is quite painful. The blisters are limited to a particular dermatome, which means it doesn’t affect the whole body but only certain region of the body. It is commonly seen in immunocompromised people.