Many conditions can cause pain in the lower left side of the abdomen. According to The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library, the lower left side or quadrant of the abdomen is a common location for pain. Pain in this area can be mild, moderate or severe, depending on the cause of the pain and the organs or tissues involved. Pain in the lower left abdominal quadrant can be referred from organs in the pelvis and abdomen or from tissues within the abdominal wall.
A bladder infection, also known as cystitis, can cause pain in the lower left side of the abdomen. Cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder caused by a bacterial infection. Bladder infections can be painful and annoying, and they can lead to serious health complications if the infection migrates up the urinary tract to the kidneys. Other possible causes of cystitis include reactions to certain medications; radiation therapy; or irritants such as spermicides, feminine hygiene spray or long-term catheter use. Common signs and symptoms associated with bladder infections include lower abdominal pain or pressure, an unrelenting urge to urinate, a burning sensation when urinating, blood in the urine, strong-smelling urine and pelvic-area discomfort. MayoClinic.com states that a kidney infection is one of the most serious complications associated with bladder infections.
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Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease is a common cause of pain in the lower left side of the abdomen. The Family Doctor website states that more than 600,000 Americans have some kind of inflammatory bowel disease every year. The two most common types of inflammatory bowel disease are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, although any condition that causes the intestines to become inflamed is considered an inflammatory bowel disease. Possible signs and symptoms associated with inflammatory bowel disease include lower abdominal pain, diarrhea, dehydration, rapid heartbeat, reduced blood pressure, fever, fatigue, weight loss, malnutrition and blood in the stool. Although the exact cause of inflammatory bowel disease is unknown, several factors, including diet, genetics and environment, may play a role. According to the Family Doctor website, inflammatory bowel disease is not contagious.
Abdominal Wall Hematoma
An abdominal wall hematoma—a pocket of blood that forms within the abdominal wall—can cause lower left side abdominal pain. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, or AAFP, an abdominal wall hematoma is an often-overlooked source of abdominal pain, including lower left quadrant abdominal pain. Hematomas may develop in the abdominal wall or rectus sheath—the connective tissue sheath that surrounds the rectus abdominis muscle, one of the principal abdominal muscles—spontaneously or following trauma or pregnancy. Abdominal wall hematomas may also be caused by complications associated with laparoscopic procedures. Laparoscopy describes an abdominal or pelvis operation that involves small incisions and the assistance of a camera. The AAFP states that, along with abdominal pain and other signs and symptoms, abdominal wall hematomas are diagnosed by imaging procedures such as abdominal computerized tomography, or CT, scanning or abdominal ultrasonography.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.