What are the Common Causes of Left Lower Quadrant Pain?

Almost every one of us will experience abdominal pain once in their lifetime.

The pain can start in your digestive tract, abdominal wall muscles, urinary tract, blood vessels, or in your reproductive organs.

It is important that you take a look at the characteristics of the pain, and see whether your pain in the lower left abdomen is accompanied by other signs and symptoms.

Here are some causes of pain in the lower left quadrant that can affect both men and women.

Left Lower Quadrant Pain

Diverticulitis

The most common cause of left lower abdomen pain, diverticulitis is inflammation and infection of one or more diverticula.

These are small pouches in the large intestine, weak spots in the wall.

Most diverticula occur in the sigmoid colon.

An abnormal development of diverticula in the colon is a common condition in middle-aged and older adults [1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4700842/.

That is why diverticulitis is considered a disease of the elderly people.

Symptoms also include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, flatulence, and similar digestion problems.

Irritable bowel syndrome

This chronic gastrointestinal disorder manifests as abdominal pain, cramping, gas, altered bowel habits, and bloating [2]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23130604.

If the symptoms are present for at least three months, a physician will diagnose the problem.

Lactose intolerance

You will be surprised, but conditions like being lactose intolerant may result in pain in the lower left abdomen [3]http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/vegdiets/what-is-lactose-intolerance.

Symptoms of the condition include flatulence, abdominal pain, bloating, loose stools, stomach rumble, and nausea.

Dietary adjustment is the primary treatment for lactose intolerance.

Celiac disease

Another sensitivity to food that can cause pain in the left lower quadrant is gluten-sensitivity.

The chronic disorder of the digestive tract represents an inability to tolerate gluten, protein commonly found in wheat, barley, and rye [4]https://www.cureceliacdisease.org/wp-content/uploads/341_CDCFactSheets8_FactsFigures.pdf.

The symptoms are similar as those in lactose intolerance, including abdominal pain, flatulence, fatigue, and diarrhea.

Kidney stones

A common disorder of the urinary tract, kidney stones cause pain when you are stretching the urinary tract.

Kidney stones are one of the oldest conditions that can cause pain in the left lower quadrant.

Symptoms include painful urination, blood in urine, nausea, urinary frequency, fever, vomiting, and chills.

Computed tomography scanning of the abdomen is needed to diagnose kidney stones [5]https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/143/3/240/77956.

Ulcerative colitis

The chronic inflammatory condition of the colon is the second major type of inflammatory bowel disease.

Ulcerative colitis affects only the large intestine, and it occurs more frequently in whites than African Americans [6]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2886447/.

Symptoms include cramping, rectal bleeding, weight loss, fatigue, diarrhea, and fever.

Colonoscopy or biopsy can help you diagnose the condition.

Intestinal obstruction

Intestinal obstruction is a blockage that prevents food from passing through the small intestine or large intestine.

The condition is considered an emergency.

As we age, the frequency of intestinal obstruction increases [7]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4245267/.

Symptoms include constipation, abdominal distention, nausea, vomiting, and inability to have a bowel movement or pass gas.

Crohn’s disease

As we’ve seen so far, many diseases and conditions that affect the digestive system can cause abdomen pain.

Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammation that can affect any part of the digestive system, from the mouth to the anus.

The exact cause of the disease is yet unknown [8]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1123132.

According to some data, it is more frequent among people aged 15 and 30 years, and those between 60 and 70 years old.

The most common symptoms of the disease are diarrhea and abdominal pain.

Women-only causes

Some of the causes of lower left quadrant pain are women only.

Due to the biology of the body, men cannot be affected.

In the same way, there are male-only causes.

Menstrual cramps

Cramps occur before and during your menstrual period.

The pain range from minor to severe.

Some women even experience pain that interferes with their normal daily activities.

Even though they are not serious, you should check your physician if the menstrual cramps are getting worse over time and if you are older than 25 and your cramps are getting more severe.

Endometriosis

The condition causes tissue that typically lines the inside of the uterus to grow outside of the uterus.

The result is abdominal pain, and can also lead to infertility if not treated [9]http://endometriosis.org/topic/news/clinical-trials/.

The symptoms include painful menstrual cramps, pain with sex, painful bowel movements, painful urination, heavy menstrual periods, and spotting between periods.

The cause of endometriosis is unknown.

Ovarian cyst

Women who have experienced ovarian cyst say that the pain is like nothing you’ve felt before.

An ovarian cyst is a sac filled with fluid inside or on the surface of the ovary.

Most cysts do not produce symptoms and go away on their own.

However, in some cases of large cysts, you will experience discomfort.

If the cyst ruptures, serious problems like severe pain and internal bleeding are possible [10]https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article/15/12/2567/2915852.

If you are experiencing sudden and severe abdominal pain, and pain with fever and vomiting, you should check with your doctor.

Ovarian torsion

Large ovarian cysts can sometimes cause the ovary to change position.

With that, a woman has a higher risk of ovarian torsion, a painful twisting of the ovary that can cut off blood supply.

Ovarian torsion has a higher risk of happening during pregnancy or with the use of hormones to promote ovulation.

The condition is not common, and it usually happens during a woman’s reproductive years.

If you experience severe pain in the abdomen area accompanied by vomiting, you should check with a physician.

Pelvic inflammatory disease

PID is an infection of the reproduction system in women, and it is caused by sexually transmitted diseases.

Other types of infections can also lead to PID.

The symptoms include fever, vaginal discharge with a bad odor, pain during sex, bleeding with sex, burning sensation while urinating, and bleeding between periods.

Men-only causes

Inguinal hernia

The result of fat or a portion of the small intestine pushing through a weak area in the abdomen, inguinal hernia is less common in women.

The symptoms are small bulge on the side of the groin that may get larger, pain in the groin that gets worse when straining, lifting, or coughing, weakness, heaviness, burning or aching sensation in the groin.

Inguinal hernia can cause serious problems, and you should seek medical help if you experience extreme tenderness at the bulge site, or sudden pain that gets worse.

Testicular torsion

This is a condition in which the testicle rotates.

As a result, the blood flow to the testicles is reduced, and cause severe pain and swelling.

The cause of the condition is unknown, and it can happen in any male.

However, it is more common among boys aged 12 to 16.

The symptoms include sudden and severe scrotum pain, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, and painful urination.

Testicular torsion is considered serious condition, and you should seek medical help right away.

In some cases, surgery is required to prevent damage to the testicles.

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