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Possible Reasons for Lower Abdominal Pain

by
author image Elle Paula
Elle Paula has a Bachelor of Science in nutrition from Framingham State College and a certificate in holistic nutrition from the American College of Healthcare Sciences. She is also a licensed aesthetician with advanced training in skincare and makeup. She plans to continue on with her education, complete a master's degree program in nutrition and, ultimately, become a registered dietitian.
Possible Reasons for Lower Abdominal Pain
A woman is experiencing abdominal pain. Photo Credit JackF/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

Lower abdominal pain can range in severity from mild to intense. Almost everyone experiences some form of mild abdominal pain at some point, but when the abdominal pain becomes so severe that movement causes more pain, or the pain persists for a long period of time, it can signal an underlying condition that may need medical attention.

Urinary Tract Infection

A urinary tract infection can occur in any part of the urinary tract, which includes the kidneys, bladder, ureters or urethra, but most often occurs in the bladder. A urinary tract infection develops when bacteria enters the urethra and travels into the bladder. Lower abdominal pain is a common symptom of a urinary tract infection. Other symptoms include cloudy urine, strong odor in the urine, pain or burning during urination, and a strong urge to urinate, according to MedlinePlus. If the infection spreads to the kidneys, symptoms become more severe, and include chills, fever, fatigue, flushed skin, groin pain, nausea and vomiting. Treatment of urinary tract infections usually consists of oral antibiotics. If the infection has spread to the kidneys, hospitalization may be required.

Appendicitis

The appendix is a small pouch located on the lower right side of the abdomen. Appendicitis is a condition that occurs when a viral infection or gastrointestinal obstruction causes the appendix to become inflamed and fill with pus. As pus continues to accumulate, the appendix has an increasing chance of rupturing. A ruptured appendix is a life-threatening condition that can result in bacterial infections in other areas of the body, such as the abdominal cavity. One of the first symptoms of appendicitis is sharp pain that begins near the naval and moves to the lower right abdomen. The pain usually gets progressively worse over a period of 12 to 18 hours, according to MayoClinic.com Other symptoms of appendicitis include nausea, vomiting, low fever, constipation, abdominal sweating and diarrhea. The only treatment option for appendicitis is an appendectomy, or removal of the entire appendix.

Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease characterized by inflammation and sores, or ulcers, along the lining of the colon and rectum. The exact cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown, but the condition is believed to be a result of an abnormality in the immune system. Lower abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea are the most common symptoms of ulcerative colitis, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Other symptoms include fatigue, anemia, weight loss, loss of appetite, joint pain and rectal bleeding. Most cases of ulcerative colitis can be treated with a combination of medications aimed at reducing inflammation and pain. In severe cases, surgery may be required to remove the part of the colon that is affected by ulcers.

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