Abdominal pain is a very common complaint and at times may be difficult to diagnose. While there are specific conditions that can cause lower left abdominal pain, according to the Abdominal Pain Centre, it may also be the result of a problem in a nearby organ or from another area of the abdomen. Your pain may be the result of constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, trapped gas or a more serious condition.
Crohn's disease, an inflammatory bowel disease, can affect your descending or sigmoid colon causing lower left abdominal pain. The cause of Crohn's disease is not known. It is an autoimmune disease where your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue creating ulcers in your digestive tract. There is no cure for Crohn's and it causes chronic abdominal pain.
Diverticulitis is a common cause of lower left abdominal pain, particularly for those over the age of 60. Pouches (called diverticula) develop in the wall of your bowel, most often in the sigmoid colon. When these pouches become inflamed and bulge outward, they cause pain. Symptoms can be mild enough to treat at home or they may be severe, requiring a hospital stay and sometimes intravenous antibiotics. A high fibre diet is recommended to prevent recurring symptoms.
Lower left abdominal pain may be a sign of a kidney stone that has moved down the left side of your ureter, which are the tubes that connect your kidneys to your bladder. It is usually a sudden, severe pain that may be intermittent, and the pain may spread to your thigh. You may also begin vomiting and frequently passing small amounts of urine. Left side kidney infection may also cause lower left abdominal pain, along with fever, vomiting and frequent, burning urination.
Sigmoid volvulus causes large bowel obstruction, most frequently in the elderly in nursing home or other long-term facilities. The sigmoid part of the large bowel twists on itself, causing obstruXx-rays and corrected with a sigmoidoscope. In the event that the bowel becomes perforated, surgery is necessary.
Other causes of lower left abdominal pain include abdominal aortic aneurysm (distension of the large blood vessel in your abdomen), bowel cancer, ectopic pregnancy, endometriosis (womb tissue growing outside the womb), food poisoning, hernia and an ovarian cyst that has twisted or ruptured. If you are experiencing chronic lower left abdominal pain, you should see your doctor as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment. If you a sudden onset of severe lower left abdominal pain, you should seek prompt medical care.