Lower abdominal pain in women may be a sign of a serious problem. Because of the additional organs found in the female lower abdomen, including the uterus, ovaries, Fallopian tubes and cervix, professional intervention may be required to determine the exact cause of the abdominal pain.
Pain associated with ovarian cysts may be a constant or intermittent dull ache in the pelvic region that may or may not radiate to the lower back and thighs. An ovarian cyst may occur when a follicle, which is produced normally by the ovaries and releases progesterone and oestrogen, continues to grow and may fill with blood.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
Women suffering from PID commonly experience dull, constant pain in the lower abdomen. PID is an infection in the uterus, Fallopian tubes and other reproductive organs that may damage tissue and lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy and chronic pelvic pain. It may be a complication of a sexually transmitted disease, such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea.
Cystitis is an infection of the urinary tract that is caused by inflammation of the bladder. Women with cystitis may experience abdominal discomfort in addition to a burning sensation while urinating. Symptoms may worsen immediately prior to their menstrual cycle.
The initial dull ache of appendicitis may begin around the navel before shifting to the lower right abdomen. The abdomen may become tender to the touch and pain may worsen due to a cough or other sudden movement. The most common treatment for appendicitis is to have the appendix surgically removed.
An ectopic pregnancy, or tubal pregnancy, occurs when a fertilised egg does not implant in the uterine wall, but instead outside of the uterus where development is impossible, most commonly in the Fallopian tube. If the ectopic pregnancy ruptures before medical intervention is possible, it will damage the organ in which it is implanted and may be life-threatening. Women experiencing an ectopic pregnancy may have mild pain on one side of the abdomen or pelvis.
Lower abdominal pain and infrequent or hard bowel movements are symptoms of constipation. Women who do not drink enough water, who eat a diet low in fibre, take certain medications or do not get adequate exercise may become constipated. Pregnant women commonly suffer from constipation.