Reasons for Lower Abdominal Pain

Written by elizabeth chaplin
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Lower abdominal pain can be the result of a number of different afflictions, some that can be cured with simple medication, and some may require surgery. Because there are many different organs in the abdominal cavity, such as the bladder, ovaries, appendix and intestines, there could be any number of solutions to a mild to severe "stomach ache." Abdominal pain can range from sharp cramps to dull throbs, and can last only a few minutes or several hours.

Food Poisoning

Food poisoning occurs when a person or persons consume a food product or beverage that has been contaminated with bacteria, usually salmonellae. This can cause cramping in the abdomen, vomiting and diarrhoea almost immediately after consumption of the contaminant. Symptoms usually occur within 48 hours after eating or drinking the bacteria, and if left untreated, can lead to dehydration and even death. The Centers for Disease Control estimates at over 75 million illnesses are caused by food poisoning.


Appendicitis is the infection of the appendix, located in the lower abdomen and attached to the colon. When infected, the inflamed appendix fills with pus and can burst without proper medical attention. The pain usually occurs in the lower right abdomen, becoming more excruciating over a period of 12 hours. This disease usually affects people between the ages of 10 and 30. If the appendix bursts, everything inside your intestinal tract will leak out into your abdominal cavity and cause peritonitis, which can be deadly.


Cystitis is a bladder infection that can cause frequent and painful urination. Since women have a shorter urethra than men, between 20 and 40 per cent of women will get cystitis in their life. Cystitis can be called by non-frequent urination; that means, urine can become stagnant in the bladder if you don't go to the bathroom enough during the day. Hygiene also plays a big role. When wiping after going to the bathroom, women are encouraged to wipe front to back to avoid infection from bacteria in the anus. Enlarged prostate in men and the use of a catheter can also cause cystitis.

Ovarian Cysts

Although harmless, ovarian cysts can cause immense pain in the lower right abdomen. The pain can range from a dull throb to a knifing pain that can seriously hamper everyday activities. Ovarian cysts are small sacs attached to the ovary, and are very common in most women. Large ovarian cysts can sometimes be relieved by frequent urination, since the bladder may press against it and cause more discomfort. A cystectomy, or removal of the cyst without removing the ovary, can be performed. Birth control pills along with ibuprofen can also be prescribed to help alleviate symptoms.

Kidney Stones

Renal lithiasis, often referred to as "kidney stones," are mineral and salt deposits in the kidneys that crystallise and stick together, causing pain in the lower back and abdomen. Urination is usually extremely painful and frequent, with urine sometimes coming out bloody. A fever may also be present if you are infected with kidney stones. Kidney stones aren't usually serious, and can be passed through your urinary system by drinking a lot of water.

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