Lower Left Abdominal Pain in Men and Women

The causes of abdominal pain differ from person to person, but everyone that experiences it can agree that it is a miserable feeling. The following provides a short outline of several possible causes of pain in the lower left abdominal region. Pain in that region is also referred to as left lower quadrant pain as well.  Be aware that anyone who experiences abdominal pain should see a doctor as soon as possible.

Diverticulitis is a condition that results when small, bulging pouches, called diverticula, form within the colon and become inflamed. A person suffering from this condition may experience lower abdominal pain of increasing intensity over a period of time or it may present without warning. Doctors are unsure of the exact cause, but it is more common in individuals with a low fiber diet and both sexes can be afflicted with this condition.The symptoms can vary from very mild to extremely severe and treatments options are frequently based on this. Antibiotics are prescribed and the sufferer is usually placed on a liquid diet for a period of time. This, along with a high fiber diet after they are able to eat again, will often treat the condition. However, if a person develops complications extensive further treatment will be required.

Complications that can arise from diverticulitis including  intestinal obstruction resulting from food and stool being unable to move properly through the intestines. In this instance emergency surgery will be needed and a colon resection may be needed. Fistulas are large passages that form between two organs or between an organ and the outside of the body. They must be removed and a colon resection will be performed. An abscess is a swollen, pus filled area outside of the colon that results from infection. The fluid in the abscess must be drained using a needle inserted through the abdomen. Antibiotic therapy is required after the procedure is complete. A perforation is a tiny tear that forms in the diverticula.  A perforation may require surgical intervention to repair the tear. If it cannot be repaired, a small portion of the colon may be removed. Finally, peritonitis can result. With this complication, tissues that are inside the abdominal cavity become inflamed due to pus and stool that have leaked through after a perforation has occurred. Peritonitis makes an individual and emergency surgery is required to clean out the abdominal cavity. It may require a follow up colon resection. An antibiotic regiment is completed after surgery for a perforation and peritonitis.

​ Kidney stones form due to the accumulation of excess calcium oxalate or phosphorus in the urine. They form over a period of time and eventually result in constant lower abdominal pain, cloudy or bloody urine that may have a strong odor, fever, and painful urination. Doctors utilize imaging technology and urine specimens to diagnose kidney stones. Treatment is based on several factors including size and what they are composed of. Some individuals will expel them through the urine and require no further treatment. If the stones are large or obstruct the urinary tract, it will require medical intervention. This can be done by breaking them apart using shock wave lithotripsy (a shock wave machine that causes them to break apart) or through a procedure known as ureteroscopy. This involved the insertion of an ureteroscope into the urethra to locate the stone. Once it is found it can be broken apart using laser energy and removed.
Unfortunately for women, many conditions that result in severe left lower abdominal pain are only experienced by them. This, obviously, is due to the female reproductive system. One condition that can cause intenseleft lower abdominal pain is the development of a fluid or gas filled sac-like structure within the ovary commonly called an ovarian cyst. There are women that develop ovarian cysts that never noticed, but this is uncommon. The majority of women experience severe abdominal or pelvic pain, a feeling of fullness, indigestion, and pain during sex. Diagnosis is completed using an ultrasound machine. This, also, helps determine the course of treatment by allowing the doctor to determine if it a simple cyst or a compound cyst. Compound cysts contain some solid tissue and can result in dangerous complications. Some types of cysts will be allowed to resolve on their own, while others may require a laparotomy to remove the cyst.
​ Ovarian cysts do have the potential to cause significant complications if they begin to bleed, twist, or rupture. A ruptured ovarian cyst can be amedical emergencyparticularly due to the potential forinternal bleedingand the increased risk of infection. It presents with crippling pain in the lower abdomen, fever, chills, abdominal distention and tenderness, and dizziness. Surgery is performed to remove the fluid from the cyst as well as any affected organs to prevent infection. Salpingooophorectomy is often the procedure of choice and it involves the removal of the cyst, ovary, and fallopian tube. It is imperative that women visit a doctor or emergency room immediately if they suspect a cyst has ruptured.
​ Ectopic pregnancies, frequently called a tubal pregnancy, resultwhen a fertilized egg is blocked from entering the uterus. As a result, the fertilized egg implants in the fallopian tube. Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy include a missed period, intense lower abdominal pain, and vaginal bleeding that is not the result of menstruation. Treatment must be done immediately upon diagnosis to decrease the risk rupture and severe blood loss. If the pregnancy is caught early enough the mother will have the option ofusing Methotrexate to end the pregnancy. If she if farther along in her pregnancy or is experiencing bleeding, surgery will be required to remove the ectopic pregnancy.
​ Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) involves the inflammation of the fallopian tubes, uterine lining, and possibly the ovaries.It is a common STD that women contract from sexually transmitted bacteria moving through the vagina into the uterus and fallopian tubes. Many women do not experience symptoms. However, she may have pain in the lower abdomen, increased vaginal discharge with a bad odor, irregular periods, and pain during sex. It is often diagnosed when a woman receives her early pelvic exam if symptoms do not lead her to the doctor beforehand. Antibiotic therapy is prescribed to treat the infection and is commonly done on an outpatient basis. Left untreated it can result in infertility, ectopic pregnancies, and chronic pelvic pain.

​ There are numerous reasons a person may experience pain in the lower left region of the abdomen. It is imperative that a doctor be consulted for an examination and to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment regimen.


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