Read below about pain in the lower left abdomen, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your pain in the lower left abdomen from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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Pain in the Lower Left Abdomen Symptoms

The abdomen is separated into four quadrants. The left lower quadrant of the abdomen contains the transverse, descending, and sigmoid sections of the colon; part of the small intestine; the ureter of the left kidney; and the iliac fossa (part of the hip bone and pelvis,) which is a gateway to the reproductive organs in both men and women. [8]

See this image here for a visual representation of these multiple components.

Due to its complexity, the lower left abdomen is susceptible to multiple conditions that can cause pain. The pain may be focal and remain in the lower left quadrant or disseminate to other quadrants of the abdomen. The pain may be sharp and sudden or dull and achy.

Take note of these qualities and other symptoms you may experience including:

If you are a woman of reproductive age you may also experience:

Make an appointment with your healthcare provider as soon as you notice any of these symptoms along with pain in the lower left abdomen.

Pain in the Lower Left Abdomen Causes Overview

Because the left lower quadrant of the abdomen is a complex interplay of structures, inflammation, obstruction or injury to any its components can result in serious pain. See your doctor promptly in order to get the appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

Abdominal causes:

  • Digestive Upset: Acid that the stomach makes to digest food can irritate the components of the digestive tract, including the lower abdomen. Furthermore, gas found throughout the digestive tract can also cause transient pain and discomfort in the lower left abdomen as well.
  • Abdominal Weakness: The colon (also known as the large intestine) is an extremely long organ that is folded upon itself in the human body. As a result, any particularly weak parts of the colon can be exposed to extreme pressure. Other parts of the colon can break through these weak spots and push through the muscle and surrounding tissue. This condition is called a hernia. The process itself can be extremely painful and any bulge will lead to more pain and associated symptoms.
  • Obstructive: The kidney is prone to developing stones of hardened material that can obstruct the ureter. Since the ureter passes within the lower left quadrant, any irritation from the obstruction will result in pain.

Inflammatory causes:

  • Infectious: Sometimes pouches called diverticula form along the large intestine. These pouches form when weak spots in the intestine balloon outward. Infection of the diverticula can cause characteristic pain and discomfort in the lower left abdomen known as diverticulitis.
  • Dermatologic: Some inflammatory dermatologic conditions occur on the surface of specific quadrants of the body. For example, shingles, a painful rash caused by a virus, can localize to the left lower abdomen and cause severe pain, itching and sensitivity.

Reproductive causes:

The reproductive organs in both men and women are within or very close to the lower left abdomen. Problems with these organs often cause referred pain to the lower left quadrant.

  • Males: In males, the freely mobile testes can rotate around themselves, obstructing blood flow. This condition is known as testicular torsion, and the lack of blood flow results in sudden, severe scrotal pain and swelling that often includes the left lower quadrant and other quadrants of the abdomen.
  • Females:

    • In females, the ovaries often lie within the lower quadrants of the abdomen. The ovaries can also rotate around themselves like the testes (a condition called ovarian torsion) and result in pain. Furthermore, the ovaries can develop cysts that can cause painful pressure. If these cysts burst extreme pain can result as well.
    • Menstrual cycle patterns or irregularities may also result in lower left abdominal pain. And finally, pregnancy related complications can result in pain in the lower left abdomen.

Trauma-related causes:

  • Trauma to the lower abdomen via a direct blow or motor vehicle accident can cause pain that may be accompanied by bruising or internal bleeding.

A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Pain in the Lower Left Abdomen

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced pain in the lower left abdomen. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Normal Abdominal Pain

    The abdomen extends from below the chest to the groin. Often it is referred to as the stomach; however, the abdomen includes more organs than just the stomach like the pancreas & liver. Abdominal pain is not stomach-specific and may be radiating from another organ.

    Generally abdominal pain resolves within a few days.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    abdominal pain (stomach ache), vaginal discharge, fever, nausea
    Symptoms that always occur with normal abdominal pain:
    abdominal pain (stomach ache)
    Symptoms that never occur with normal abdominal pain:
    fever, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, severe abdominal pain, unintentional weight loss, vaginal discharge, rectal bleeding
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  2. 2.Normal Variation of Constipation

    Constipation is a very common condition affecting the large intestine. It is characterized by difficulty passing stool, or passing stool less often. Commonly it is linked to not eating enough dietary fiber, not drinking enough fluids, or not getting enough exercise. Some medications can cause constipation as well.

    Variable, but can resolve in days to weeks

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea, stomach bloating, constipation, constipation
    Symptoms that always occur with normal variation of constipation:
    constipation
    Symptoms that never occur with normal variation of constipation:
    vomiting
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  3. 3.Intestinal Inflammation (Diverticulitis)

    Diverticula are small pouches that bulge outward through the colon, or large intestine. Diverticulitis is a condition where the pouches become inflamed or infected, a process which can cause fever, nausea, vomiting, chills, cramping, and constipation.

    Likely to recover within months to years without requiring surgery.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea, constipation
    Symptoms that never occur with intestinal inflammation (diverticulitis):
    pain below the ribs, pain in the upper right abdomen
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  4. 4.Ovulation Pain (Mittelschmerz) or Midcycle Spotting

    Mittelschmerz, also known as ovulation pain or mid-cycle pain, is abdominal pain that occurs around the time the egg is released from an ovary. Ovulation can sometimes cause some mild vaginal bleeding, spotting or blood-stained/brown discharge as well.

    As ovulation occurs monthly, it's possible you will experience this pain once a month.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    abdominal pain (stomach ache), last period approximately 2 weeks ago, vaginal bleeding, bloody vaginal discharge, pelvis pain
    Symptoms that always occur with ovulation pain (mittelschmerz) or midcycle spotting:
    last period approximately 2 weeks ago
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment

    Pain in the Lower Left Abdomen Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having pain in the lower left abdomen.

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  5. 5.Constipation From Not Eating Enough Fiber

    Constipation is a very common condition affecting the large intestine. It is characterized by difficulty passing stool, or passing stool less often. Commonly, it is linked to not eating enough fiber, which is the material that provides bulk to your stools.

    Variable, but can resolve in days to weeks

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    constipation, constipation, pain in the lower left abdomen, pain when passing stools, feeling of needing to constantly pass stool
    Symptoms that always occur with constipation from not eating enough fiber:
    constipation, constipation
    Symptoms that never occur with constipation from not eating enough fiber:
    vomiting
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  6. 6.Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Ibs)

    Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is very common problem that affects the large intestine. It can cause stomach pain, cramps, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea. Doctors think that IBS is caused by the brain sending wrong messages to the bowels, such as during times of high stress, causing physical changes.

    IBS is a chronic condition that may last for years, but it is not life-threatening and does not damage the bowels or lead to more serious illnesses.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea or vomiting, constipation, stool changes
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Possible Early Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Ibs)

    Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is very common problem that affects the large intestine. It can cause stomach pain, cramps, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea. Doctors think that IBS is caused by the brain sending wrong messages to the bowels, such as during times of high stress, causing physical changes. The formal criteria for this diagnosis requires 3 months of symptoms. Therefore you may have an early presentation.

    IBS is a chronic condition that may last for years, but it is not life-threatening and does not damage the bowels or lead to more serious illnesses. The formal criteria for this diagnosis requires 3 months of symptoms. Therefore you may have an early presentation.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea or vomiting, stool changes, constipation
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Menstrual Cramps

    Dysmenorrhea is a term describing pain associated with menstruation (or when one gets a period). It's very common, happening to about 50% of women. Primary dysmenorrhea means that the pain is directly caused by a menstrual period, which is different than "secondary" dysmenorrhea, where a disorder is causing the pain.

    2-3 days before a period. Peaks in the mid-20s and declines in frequency afterwards.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    abdominal pain (stomach ache), abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), painful periods, lower back pain, abdominal pain that shoots to the back
    Symptoms that always occur with menstrual cramps:
    abdominal pain (stomach ache)
    Symptoms that never occur with menstrual cramps:
    being severely ill, disapearance of periods for over a year
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  9. 9.Viral (Rotavirus) Infection

    Rotavirus is a virus that causes an infection of the gut, known as gastroenteritis. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and fever. When the diarrhea and/or vomiting is severe, dehydration can occur. Symptoms of dehydration include a dry mouth, dizziness, urinating less frequently and dark urine.

    Symptoms resolve on their own within a few days.

    Rarity:
    Ultra rare
    Top Symptoms:
    diarrhea, vomiting or nausea, nausea, fatigue, abdominal pain (stomach ache), headache
    Symptoms that always occur with viral (rotavirus) infection:
    diarrhea, vomiting or nausea
    Symptoms that never occur with viral (rotavirus) infection:
    constipation, tarry stool
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment

Pain in the Lower Left Abdomen Treatments and Relief

Treatment for your left lower abdominal pain will be dependent on the cause.

After your doctor makes the appropriate diagnosis, he or she may suggest:

  • Bowel Rest: Your doctor may suggest a liquid diet. This will allow your intestines and digestive system to recover from the obstructive or infectious causes of your left lower abdominal pain. [6]
  • Anti-inflammatory Medications: If your symptoms are due to inflammatory conditions, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or steroid creams in order to treat your symptoms. [15]
  • Menstrual Cycle Regulation: Your doctor may prescribe birth control pills or other options to better control pain associated with menstrual cycle irregularities.
  • Surgery: For conditions such as ovarian or testicular torsion, surgery is the first-line option for restoring blood flow and preventing complications. [9,10] Surgery is also a treatment option for different pregnancy-related complications. [13]

Actions you can take on at home in order to counteract preventative causes such as digestive upset include:

  • Eating meals slowly: This will allow your body to fully digest foods and prevent you from swallowing air which bloats you and can cause pain. [16]
  • High fiber diet: Lack of dietary fiber may contribute to weakening of parts of the large intestine making the left lower abdomen susceptible to obstruction and infection. [17]

Seek immediate medical attention if you experience symptoms including: [18]

  • Sudden, severe pain
  • Fever
  • Bloody stools
  • Nausea and vomiting that persists
  • Weight loss
  • Severe tenderness when you touch your abdomen
  • Swelling of the abdomen

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Pain in the Lower Left Abdomen

  • Q.Have you experienced any nausea?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.How would you describe the nature of your abdominal pain?
  • Q.Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our pain in the lower left abdomen symptom checker to find out more.

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Pain in the Lower Left Abdomen Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced pain in the lower left abdomen have also experienced:

    • 6% Nausea
    • 5% Lower Back Pain
    • 5% Bloody Vaginal Discharge
  • People who have experienced pain in the lower left abdomen had symptoms persist for:

    • 41% Less Than a Day
    • 34% Less Than a Week
    • 11% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced pain in the lower left abdomen were most often matched with:

    • 75% Intestinal Inflammation (Diverticulitis)
    • 12% Normal Abdominal Pain
    • 12% Normal Variation of Constipation
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

A.I. Health Assistant

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References

  1. Quadrant (Abdomen). Wikipedia. Published October 5, 2016. Wikipedia Link.
  2. Ileum. Wikipedia. Published July 1, 2018. Wikipedia Link.
  3. Iovino P, Bucci C, Tremolaterra F, Santonicola A, Chiarioni G. Bloating and Functional Gastro-Intestinal Disorders: Where Are We and Where Are We Going? World Journal of Gastroenterology. 2014;20(39):14407-14419. WJG Link.
  4. The Anatomy of Hernia. The British Hernia Centre. The British Hernia Centre Link.
  5. Kidney Stones: Symptoms. NHS. Published June 15, 2016. NHS Link.
  6. Diverticular Disease of the Colon. Harvard Medical School: Harvard Health Publishing. Published December 2, 2015. Harvard Health Link.
  7. Shingles. UW Medicine. UW Medicine Link.
  8. Organs in Quadrants and Regions Google Search Nursing. Anatomy Labelled. Anatomy Labelled Link.
  9. Testicular Torsion. American Academy of Family Physicians: FamilyDoctor. Published June 5, 2017. FamilyDoctor Link.
  10. Yancey L. Ovarian Torsion. Society for Academic Emergency Medicine. SAEM Link.
  11. Endometriosis. Cedars-Sinai. Cedars-Sinai Link.
  12. Dysmenorrhea. Cedars-Sinai. Cedars-Sinai Link.
  13. Ectopic-pregnancy. Cedars-Sinai. Cedars-Sinai Link.
  14. Saouab R, Dafiri R. Post-traumatic acute abdominal pain. The British Journal of Radiology. 2010;83(993):804-806. doi:10.1259/bjr/88857252. BJR Link.
  15. Prescription Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Medicines. American Academy of Family Physicians: FamilyDoctor. Published January 24, 2018. FamilyDoctor Link.
  16. Sparks D. Home Remedies: Gas, Belching and Bloating. Mayo Clinic. Published November 25, 2016. Mayo Clinic Link.
  17. Fiber. Harvard School of Public Health. HSPH Link.
  18. Abdominal Pain. American College of Emergency Physicians: EmergencyCareForYou. EmergencyCareForYou Link.